The Pump Room

In a former life, as the Ambassador East hotel, Public played home-from-home to a host of Hollywood legends, and its Pump Room restaurant was celebrated in books and songs as the star of the Chicago social scene. Today, boutique hotel king Ian Schragerhas reinvented an icon, and Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has re-primed the Pump Room for 21st-century culinary stardom.

Giving ourselves over to our knowledgeable server, we let him steer us towards one of the best meals we can recall having, from a mushroom flatbread to an Asian-inflected tuna tartare to roasted Walleye…

Gourmet credentials – Once a landmark Chicago supper club frequented by the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn, the Pump Room has been reborn under Jean-Georges’ watchful eye. A devotee of the market menu,the chef has a firm farm-to-table philosophy, and his local-showcase creations– including the excellent-value four-course tasting menu – span updated classics,hearty home-made flatbreads and pastas, and no-nonsense ‘simply prepared’ specialities (caramelised beef tenderloin with miso butter and Lake Superior whitefish with lemon confit are just a couple of standouts). This restaurant has reclaimed its rightful place as the see-and-be-seen soul of Chicago.

Top tipple – At night, the Pump Room has a lively supper-club scene that evokes its 1930s heyday. This is the place to sink pre-dinner bellinis and martinis or bring the night to a close with a sazerac or sidecar.

Highlights – 

– Classic dishes

– Sensitively spiced and sensibly priced

– Arm-to-table philosophy

– A-list clientele

Rates from £101.23 per a night

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Recipes from this chef