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The Hot List

For April 2016

10 places everyone’s talking about and dining at
(in order of heat)

13 Greens Market

Only Brendan Sodikoff would put Strawberry Jell-O Surprise on a River North salad bar.
354 W. Hubbard St., 312-888-9195 Website
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3 Greens Market Photo: Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune

2Naoki Sushi

That’s three for Melman in the Belden-Stratford. But, hey, there’s still room in the lobby for a bar, a cart, a vending machine, something.
Belden-Stratford, 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, 773-868-0002 Website
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Naoki Sushi Photo: Jeff Marini
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3Mad Social

The new West Loop fave for GNO.
Critic’s Notes Despite being the oldest person in the room, I felt totally comfortable and welcome. I would come back in a heart beat for the grilled octopus. —Penny Pollack
1140 W. Madison St., 312-243-2097 Website
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Mad Social Photo: Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune

4Vanille

And you thought bakeries had peaked in Lake View.
Critic’s Notes This place is a party. It’s awfully cute—lots of free samples, a few café tables, super friendly staff, and Lake View couples and families out in force. Arguably too much buttercream frosting on the cupcakes. Didn’t seem to be a deal breaker for anyone but me. —PP
3243 N. Broadway, 773-868-4574 Website
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Vanille Photo: Kris Andrae
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5Bunny

Too crowded? It says “Micro Bakery” right on the sign.
2928 N. Broadway Website
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Bunny Photo: Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune

6Snaggletooth

Cured fishes and a schmear bar put Lake View on a roll—make that a bagel.
Critic’s Notes I did hear some complaints about getting an open-faced bagel for $8 … the fish is really what you go for, though. Beautifully cured with really thoughtful, impeccably placed accompaniments. —Maggie Hennessy
2819 N. Southport Ave., 773-899-4711 Website
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Snaggletooth Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune
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7Osteria Trulli

Back to basics, and no one’s complaining.
Critic’s Notes There’s a lot to love here, but some of it gets spoiled by sidewalk smokers. —PP
1510 E. Hintz Rd., Arlington Heights, 224-347-1010 Website
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Osteria Trulli Photo: Jeff Marini

8Packed

A menu with more buzzwords—“seasonal,” “monthly,” “farmer,” “non-GMO”—than dumplings.
Critic’s Notes Many of the organic-minded dumplings at Hyde Park’s earnest but misguided spot range from playful misfires (the “tamale” stuffed with slow-roasted chicken, coriander, cumin, and salsa roja) to cosmic calamities (the “corndog” stuffed with a farm-to-table hot dog, bun, and sauerkraut). But the soup dumplings are pretty good. —Jeff Ruby
1321 E. 57th St., 312-219-6544 Website
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Packed Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune

9Yakitori Boogytori

Skewered tidbits cooked over Kishu binchotan charcoal from Japan. In case you were wondering.
932 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, 847-262-5914 Website
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Yakitori Boogytori Photo: Nagle Photography

10BBQ Joint

A ’cue spot with Mexican flair. Queue up.
1967 N. Halsted St., 312-460-3200 Website
BBQ Joint Photo: Neil Burger
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