Spiaggia, Tru, Everest-- that level of place is what most people in Chicago consider high end dining (granted there are some nicer places). NY has a lot more higher end places that cost 2 or 3X a Spiaggia bill and up. Alinea's is great, but there's obviously a higher end in NYC. I lived in Chicago (Wicker Park) for a summer 2 years ago and commuted to the burbs. Being from LA: 2) Food was dissapointing. It seemed like all there was to eat was hot dogs, italian beef sandwiches, and pizza. Rinse and repeat. If you wanted to find something else worth forking money over for, you had to search really hard. Both wrong, and spoken by people whose opinions on food are worth less than dog shit. What exactly is your definition of "high end"? I am not quite sure how much more high end one can get than Alinea. If you're refering to prices, then I still think it's an idiotic statement. The level of cuisine is extremely good, and in every thinking circle of food in the world, Chicago is at the forefront of what is THE forefront in the world of food, if you're talking about American cities. Kindly take a look at the top 3 restaurants of the perrier list. As far as innovation, Alinea is as good as just about anything you'll find, and I'm saying that as a big lover of Heston Blumenthal and an admirer of Adria. I also think Spiaggia is comparable to any Italian place in the united states. You also have Charlie Trotter here who has consistently been named the best American chef, and his restaurant as the best in the USA. Alinea has also been talked about in the same way. Anyone who has trouble finding good food in Chicago is a moron and doesn't deserve the right to an opinion. I don't find Chicago to be cheaper, either. Sales tax alone, especially in the Michigan Avenue area, runs higher than NYC. Yes, I can tell you that the taxes can be incredible... however, the building that I live in on Mich. accross near the big steel blob would cost a great deal more in NYC, but it's still expensive living.