7 Best Restaurants on Michigan Avenue

Michigan Avenue has always been a major travel destination for visitors to the great city of Chicago.  There is so much to entertain along this storied avenue from Grant Park, Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago and shopping along “The Magnificent Mile.”  It also boasts some great and award-winning restaurants.  Below are my picks for the ” 7 Best Restaurants on Michigan Avenue,” in no particular order.

*Click on restaurant names for more information and directions

  1. Cafe Spiaggia/Spiaggia – James Beard winner, Chef Tony Mantuano is at the helm of Chicago’s only 4-star Italian restaurant.
Cafe Spiaggia's farro spaghetti

Chef Mantuano is not shy about using olive oil. Thank goodness!


2.  The Purple Pig –  Chef/Owner Jimmy  Bannos Jr. won the 2014 James Beard award for “Rising Star Chef of the Year.”   It was a well-deserved honor as his tasty tapas and shared plates never disappoint.  I love the charcuterie platters with house cured meats.  The wine selections are divine.


The Purple Pig's charcuterie platter

Love me some charcuterie!


3.  The Gage – This place is always popular with both Chicago residents and visitors.  It’s a beautifully adorned American restaurant located inside a landmarked building.  There are several cozy nooks, fireplaces and a long, inviting bar.  Get the Scottish egg and some mussels. Oh, and don’t forget dessert!  Bonus!  The Gage is located directly across the street from Millennium Park.


The Gage on Michigan Avenue


4.  Chicago Athletic Association Hotel – This recently restored, Gothic-style hotel is home to Cindy’s and Cherry Circle Room restaurants.  You can also enjoy some meals next to a fireplace in The Drawing Room and play some billiards and bocce in The Game Room.  If a tasty, budget burger at Shake Shack is more your speed, they have that, too!  


Cherry Circle Room at Chicago Athletic Association

Walleye Pike with shellfish, fennel and saffron broth

Shake Shack's Smokeshack burger

The Smokeshack burger with cheese, smoked applewood bacon, chopped cherry peppers and special Shake Shack sauce


5.  Acanto – If it’s creative Italian fare you are craving, head over to this stylish spot which is across the street from Millennium Park.  I love the house made pastas.


Acanto on Michigan Avenue

Duck egg spaghetti


6.  Tesori – Located inside the acclaimed Chicago Symphony Center, this delicious Italian restaurant offers some wonderful eats.  I recently enjoyed this grilled swordfish with fingerling potatoes, scallions, garlic and capers.  


Tesori on Michigan Avenue

Grilled swordfish with fingerling potatoes, scallions, garlic and capers.


7.  Mercat a la Planxa –  This Spanish spot located inside the historic Blackstone Hotel is focused on Catalan cuisine.  Enjoy the many tapas, while gazing through the huge picturesque windows overlooking Michigan Avenue.  I highly recommend the Horchata Bon Bon  for dessert.


Mercat a la Planxa at the Blackstone Hotel

Hortchata Bon Bon from Mercat a la Planxa

Mercat a la Planxa 


In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA trains and buses to the “7 Best Restaurants on Michigan Avenue.”  Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!