Ever feel like the quality of a restaurant is inversely related to the picturesque view it offers? Obviously, I understand the general concept of paying more for a meal served in some spectacular location—like a rotating room atop a downtown skyscraper—but why is the food at most so... bad? Okay, bad is probably the wrong word, but what about overpriced? And then there's the peculiar fact that so many of our fine dining temples actually worth the money purposefully make sure there is no view at all (looking at you Tru, L20, and Next).
That said, I'm also the first to admit that I'm an absolute sucker for a good Chicago skyline view. You'd think I'd get over seeing the towers of downtown after a six years of living here, but I think the opposite is true. Each year, I become further infatuated, often ignoring friends and family as I gawk mindlessly out a window. The same can be said about any unbroken panorama of the lake.
Which all lead me to this question: is it possible to reconcile my child-like love of the view with my totally reasonable desire to never eat terrible food? Fortunately, there are far more options than I realized, even if most are on the fine dining side of things.
I tried to stay away from patios, because that's more about the atmosphere—the lights, the tables, the plants—instead of the all-or-nothing shock of the view. Also, the staff covered patios last year. This also isn't necessarily a list of restaurants with the best view. Instead, these are the places where you can find an excellent meal and have a great view.
Definitely let me know if you have any favorites that missed the cut. I'm always looking for options.
- J. Parker
- Terzo Piano
- Seven on State at Macy's
- The Gage
- Caffè Oliva
- North Pond
- The Signature Lounge at the 96th
- Chicago Cut Steakhouse
- Kim & Carlo's Hot Dog Stand near Shedd Aquarium
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