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Best New Restaurants

Twenty-one restaurants, countless thrills. Several of this year’s top new spots bend rules and influences; others give classic genres much-needed shots of adrenaline. Either way, all 21 of them loom large in a booming restaurant landscape where it’s getting harder and harder to do that.

Just look at the unlikely homes of this year’s top freshmen: an old printing shop (Sepia). A 1920s mobster’s hideout (Room 21). A former hat factory (The Gage). An erstwhile strip club (Anteprima). Heck, we’ve even got a new restaurant where there used to be only sky (Sixteen). Where ordinary people like us might have seen dilapidated old buildings and clouds, creative chefs and restaurateurs saw potential. As a result of their imagination and talent, we are now 21 terrific dining destinations richer. From Brasserie Ruhlmann, a steak-house stunner in the historic Montgomery Ward building, to Pete Balodimas’s scorching Fahrenheit way out in St. Charles, our 2008 list proves what we’ve known all along: The kitchen is the most important room in the house. PLUS: Restaurants on the radar and best of the rest

A MANO >>
335 N. Dearborn St.
312-629-3500
THE GAGE >>
24 S. Michigan Ave.
312-372-4243
POWERHOUSE >>
215 N. Clinton St.
312-928-0800
TABLE FIFTY-TWO >>
52 W. Elm St.
312-573-4000
ANTEPRIMA >>
5316 N. Clark St.
773-506-9990
LA CASA DE ISAAC >>
431 Temple Ave., Highland Park
847-433-5550
REEL CLUB >>
272 Oakbrook Center Oak Brook
630-368-9400
TAKASHI >>
Best New Restaurant
1952 N. Damen Ave.
773-772-6170
BRASSERIE RUHLMANN STEAKHOUSE >>
500 W. Superior St.
312-494-1900
MAIJEAN >>
30 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills
630-794-8900
ROOM 21 >>
2110 S. Wabash Ave.
312-328-1198
TALLULAH >>
4539 N. Lincoln Ave.
773-942-7585
CAFÉ 103 >>
1909 W. 103rd St.
773-238-5115
OLD TOWN BRASSERIE >>
Best New Dessert
1209 N. Wells St.
312-943-3000
SEPIA >>
Best New Chef
123 N. Jefferson St.
312-441-1920
UNCOMMON GROUND >>
1401 W. Devon Ave.
773-465-9801
FAHRENHEIT >>
1890 W. Main St., St. Charles
630-444-1350
OTOM >>
951 W. Fulton Market St.
312-491-5804
SHIKAGO >>
190 S. LaSalle St. (entrance on Adams)
312-781-7300
ZAK’S PLACE >>
112 S. Washington St., Hinsdale
630-323-9257
    SIXTEEN >>
Best New Dish
Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago 401 N. Wabash Ave.
312-588-8000
 

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