Arbor

4.7
177 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Contemporary American
"Arbor is such an odd mix of elements that it remains the city's most overlooked and underappreciated high end restaurant." Michael Gebert

The Midwestern Omakase is relentless about what makes for memorable experiences and lovingly seasoned food. It is less about impressing the guest, and more about love; the warmest kind of hospitality. Chef Hollander changes the menu every two weeks; Chad Little creates new natural wine pairings.

There is no cultural bound, just seasonal ingredients expressed through our childlike obsession with the vastness of flavor. Text us to start the journey 312.292.8347

Select 3, 5, or 7 courses and let us know if there is anything you can't eat.
3 courses-$45 & $25 wine
5 courses-$70 & $40 wine
7 courses-$100 & $55 wine

We have become known for our natural wine list. What makes me happy is there is no list. We focus on quirky wines by smaller producers with natural wine practices. If you remotely like wine, then get the underpriced pairings.

-Chad
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What 177 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.6
service
4.6
ambience
4.5
value
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100% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

An awesome place and the Omakase format was super inventive and creative. Loved it

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P
Hamburg Area
18 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing. Awesome food and service. A true five star dining experience in a cool and understated environment. Cool without being cold. Get the tasting menu, a bargain. Everything was delicious. We left with memories of a wonderful evening filled with adventure and culinary delights...

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G
Chicago
325 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Have been dining at Arbor since their early days and have enjoyed watching their evolution. An already excellent venue has slowly and steadily become more mature and better with time. One of the more unique, fun, interesting dining experiences in town. Some renovations to the dining room have greatly improved the ambiance. The progression of courses provided a nice variety of dishes all of which were well executed, creative and delicious. Really warm, personable service enhances the meal as do the thoughtful wine pairings. Solid value for the quality and quantity of the food and wine. Other then the gaps between courses being a bit too slow at times it was a perfect evening.

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OT
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 5

Honestly...majorly underwhelming. The food was just okay and at 240 a person for wine pairing and 7 courses I wouldn't come again. It's an experience for sure but not worth the money.

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b
Pittsburgh
3 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Outstanding dining experience! We loved all of the food and the service was incredibly personable and special. The wine paring was a fun and unique experience.

We will be back and we will bring friends!

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N
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Gets better every time, and I’ve been going since they opened. Amazing wine pairings, innovative food with interesting textures (but doesn’t sacrifice balance).

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F
Chicago
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything, from start to finish, was exquisite.

We did the three course menu with wine pairings. Unique and creative tastes and textures that enlivened and enriched one another. It was not but three bites into our meal when we decided we will come back for the seven course. Highly recommend.

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JW
Birmingham
2 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such a great spot! Wonderful food, service, and wine, and the beauty of not having to think about any of it bc it all just keeps coming is priceless. Arbor never disappoints!

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MG
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such a great dining experience, it's a shame they're only open on the weekends. Upon our arrival, we were greeted and instantly felt like we were dining with friends. Unlike some restaurants, this place felt like they truly care about the dining experience. The lighting is dim, candles lit on each table, music in the background, and the tables are placed far enough apart so that you don't hear the conversations at the tables next to you. The service was impeccable. We tried three different wines and all of which were great. It made me wish I had done the wine pairing. The food was bursting with flavor. The falafel was one of the best I've ever tasted. It was crunchy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside. My main course was a mushroom and lentil dish, which I highly recommend for vegetarians.

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B
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best restaurants in the city. They really make you feel loved, like you are at a house party. And the food is so great. We just loved it. I feel like this restaurant is a hidden gem in the city, where the people who know about it all just love it. Thanks so much for another incredible dinner and fantastic evening!

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g
Chicago
30 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

An excellent, rich, complex meal with interesting wine pairings. The Hamachi amuse paired well with the crisp, slightly astringent white wine. The soup had a variety of interesting textures and substances-nuts, oatmeal flakes and apple butter among them and a rich creamy broth. The beef tartare also had diverse accompaniments to activate most dimensions of taste. The mushroom risotto included different kinds of mushrooms. The scallop preparation was hearty and the Riesling stood up to it nicely. The sommelier stopped by to offer some of the cleanest, lightest vermouth I have ever had. He explained his use of herbs to infuse flavor into this unusual wine-based beverage he has made in a limited batch. The pork shoulder was delicious, nicely married to a light yet complex gamay red. The cheese plate included triple brie and a noteworthy gouda along with candied walnuts, tasty little crackers and an upscale mustard-like preparation among others. Finishing the dessert felt more like an accomplishment than a delight after many courses of rich food. I should taken my cue from my partner and wrapped half of a few dishes to take home. A banana peel liquor completed this most memorable meal. Throughout the service was spot on and very knowledgable with Aloysha, our primary server, and others helping out graciously whenever needed. The value was good for the care and sophistication taken in preparing the dishes. The chef-owner previously worked at the Marion Street Cheese Market, a very nice establishment in Oak Park. Here he clearly has the opportunity follow his muse. We who try the results are his beneficiaries. This is the best meal I have had in Chicago since going to Alinea over a decade ago. IMHO, it compares well with Blackbird, Tru, the latter day Trotter's, and Next, for example.

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RR
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We loved everything about it! One thing - not true that organic wines do not give you a hangover :)

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f
Chicago
136 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The food was innovative and delicious. I'm fussy about the type of wine I like and the waiter went out of his way to try to find one that I would enjoy. My favorite dishes were the short rib (literally melt in your mouth!) and the butternut squash panna cotta appetizer. You need to be a foody to really appreciate this place. Very different atmosphere and the food is absolutely beautiful to look at. Will recommend it to all my foody friends.

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E
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I really enjoyed Arbor and will be back again. The waiter explained the food and wine very well, was very pleasant, and the food was fantastic! Overall a very nice dining experience and a good deal for omakase.

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JB
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 1ambience 3

This was a huge disappointment. The service was extremely slow, it took 30 minutes to get initial drink orders. We got the three course and had a miscommunication about dietary restrictions and there was a huge delay. Food was uninteresting and extremely small portions. They tried to be very accomodating but in the end was awful.

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KB
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Through a relatively unmarked door after gaining security access, up a flight of stairs, and behind closed curtains - the intrigue of Arbor continued throughout the meal. Surrounded by the ambiance of the restaurant and and the knowledgeable staff, the effort in presentation was utterly apparent (especially in the wine pairings, which I highly recommend), making us both feel spoiled for the evening. I want to tell everyone I know and keep it a secret so I can continue feeling like I'm in a secret club.

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m
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I thought Arbor was amazing. I felt very cared for throughout the meal, and it was a lovely discovery that was a bit off the beaten path. Would definitely recommend.

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MF
Chicago
35 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

An interesting interior on the 2nd floor of a large commercial building. Once we got the attention of a staff member, we were promptly seated. Our waiter, Kevin, then explained the menu (3 courses,prix fixe)....but was not able to tell us what we would be eating, as Chef prefers to send out what they “feel” like sending out, with different dishes per course for the table. We were then asked if we wanted the wine pairing....I asked again what we might be eating in order to pair with the food, and also asked for a wine list....after a lengthy explanation and much talking, neither was provided....the food would be what chef sends out (unknown, and not disclosed), and there is no wine list! The sommelier/manager then came over and further explains that they have no list, as the wines change every 2 weeks....and they try to determine what we are “feeling” and what we like in wine (though with one exception, what we like is nothing like what was served)....he used terms like Elegant or Provocative wines, and that labels were not important. We gave up and submitted the wine pairing.
Food was interesting, the beef tartar was quite good and the very light Canary Island red went well with it. Two of us were served a parsnip custard (very little flavor, not very interesting). The main courses were much better, one person got the fish option, quite good...the other two got the beef, also tasty... Desserts were fine, with the scotch flavored dessert being best.

So all in all, an “interesting” evening of food and especially wine that we would not likely have chosen.... Would we go back? Likely not, but if a friend really wanted to go, we would not be averse.

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TO
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience. The Arbor team rocked it

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 2

The food was good, wine pairing was fine (small pours and uninspired selections) but service was severely lacking. Have never had such a low quality of service for the price of the meal. Just inattentive and seemingly uncaring.

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MY
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing creative food. Excellent service, especially if you like to talk to the wait staff, owners, and chef about food and wine. Modern but non-flashy ambiance.

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GP
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

incredibly creative food, new flavors, beautifully presented in a chill vibe modern space. The servers were extremely attentive and not fussy (thank you) and anticipated our next need at the table. It definitely feels like a hidden gem. One of the best meals I've had in Chicago in a long time.

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JB
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always great! Love how enthusiastic Chad is about wine and creating such a great experience.

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D
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our party of 4 enjoyed an incredible evening at Arbor. The food was incredible and so special, however the entire was an intimate dining experience that I forward to repeating. I’m hesitant to post this review because I loved that the restaurant wasn’t packed and focused on flipping tables. The pacing of courses was lovely and the explanations by the wait staff were on point. Thank you for an awesome night, Chad!

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The entire night was wonderful.

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N
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We celebrated my wife's birthday with our adult kids. We chose the 5 course meal Midwest Omakase, first time for all of us. We enjoyed every dish, and several courses were designed to be shared so we could even taste more than 5 dishes. The wine pairing was incredibly inventive and worked well. The service outstanding, and very accommodating to our vegan guest, including some very unique mocktails. I highly recommend this to all folks interested in a unique dining experience. just make sure you don't show up before 6 PM if you have the 6 PM seating as the doors do not open until 6 PM sharp! Thanks for all the good care.

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A
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

It’s all about the quality of the food and the wine. Wacky quirky, sure. Pay attention to what’s on your plate, how it’s presented, and how it tastes. Yes!

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OT
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a wonderful experience. We had the 5 course dinner with wine pairings and it was perfect. We're not white wine lovers, but our selections were outstanding and we enjoyed each one. The food courses were thoughtful, and surprising. Music was perfect and so many of us were shazaming! Our waitstaff wad also super attentive, especially our main server Brennan. The location decor is simple and comfortable. We loved it so much and can't wait to go back!

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b
Chicago
10 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We loved the experience. Our only negative was that the wine pairings were poured into the
same glass as the previous wine pairing. I thought since pairing is specific to the food, the glass
should have been a fresh glass. Not a serious error but I was surprised. Other than that, we
loved it.

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love our experience at Arbor. Intimate. Fantastic service. Loved it!

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C
Chicago
48 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Wonderful culinary experience of sustainable food and fine dining. We had the five courses with a series of wine tastings. Fantastic food, good music, and great atmosphere. Very special restaurant and highly recommend.

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OT
Chicago
10 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Lovely atmosphere, low lighting, great for a leisurely meal and extended conversation. The food is innovative, tasty and beautifully presented. A tiny quibble: during past visits, the server was so well-informed about the ingredients used and preparation process for each course presented. And, he was passionate (in an authentic way) about conveying these details. This visit, the server was perfectly nice, but seemingly less informed and/or less forthcoming; personally, I found part of the appeal in previous experiences, was learning a bit about the lovely dishes I was enjoying. Additionally, I may be wrong about this, but I thought, previously, we were presented (or told?) the menu in advance of each course served, which was a nice way to "anticipate" the meal.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great date night. The ambiance set the mood beautifully. Chad was very welcoming and catered to us and all the guest around us. We had the three courses, and perfect wine pairings. I can’t wait to come back to do five or the seven courses!

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S
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious courses and excellent and congenial service. We would go much more frequently if it were less expensive.

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F
Chicago
17 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was fantastic and the service was great. I can see some picker wine drinkers not liking the pairings but I am game to try anything.

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DC
Chicago
1 review
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best dining experiences I’ve had in Chicago and I’ve been here for 20 years.

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LT
1 review
Dined on December 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I live in the neighborhood and I've been to Arbor for breakfast, lunch, and coffee many times. I've wanted to do the Midwestern Omakase for YEARS. I finally did 5 courses with wine pairings for a fancy date night and we LOVED it. My date said it was the best meal he'd had in months and we were both intrigued by the unusual wines paired with each course. The owner chatted with us after the meal over some more wine and we could really feel his passion. I highly recommend this experience. I will be back!

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SS
Chicago
1 review
Dined on December 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is the second time we went to Arbor. Went with my wife for my birthday over the summer and we were both blown away by the quality and creativity of the food. We did the 7 course tasting with wine pairings the first time. We went back this week with a group of friends and got the 5 course with pairings. One of our friends said that one of the courses was the best thing he had eaten this year (and he's a former chef).

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great and tasty food. Very cozy and intimate ambience whether you are there for a date or doing business. Background music is also appropriate for every occasion . Right volume that allows you to enjoy your meal and handle a conversation at the same time. Kevin is very knowledgeable and really does not rush you for the next course or wine glass, if pairing. You can truly relax and enjoy a great fine food.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

From start to finish, it was amazing! The food, the wine, the service - just amazing! I am already trying to figure out when I can come back with my husband.
My favorites - the fried gnocchi (so crunchy and flavorful), the sun choke mousse (never tasted anything like this, so pleasant and light yet incredibly memorable), the bison (tender and seasoned perfectly), and the lemon cheesecake (I love cheesecake, always order it for dessert so when this came, I was already excited and it was the perfect way to end the meal).
The wine - so many pairings that it was hard to remember; however, Chad and our server (I’m sorry I can’t remember her name) were so knowledgeable and I loved listening to their interpretations of the wine that was selected.
The service - never felt rushed, our courses came out appropriately timed, and the server was very enjoyable and responsive!
Vibe - very relaxed and calm.
I look forward to returning! Thank you!

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