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The Hot List

For May 2016

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

1Duck Duck Goat

Where Stephanie Izard opens, extreme buzz follows.
Critic’s Notes: On both visits, we get a waitress who is bright and familiar and eager to please. The same could be said for Izard’s food, which covers all the classics with her usual flair and good humor. —Jeff Ruby
857 W. Fulton Market, 312-902-3825 Website
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Duck Duck Goat Photo: Jeff Marini

2Oriole

Alinea, EL Ideas, Elizabeth Restaurant, Goosefoot, Grace, and Schwa: Make room for some serious competition.
Critic’s Notes: At one week old (and three weeks old), Oriole is stunning … If these meals are any indication—and I think they are—Oriole is going to be a big, big deal. —JR
661 W. Walnut St., 312-877-5339 Website
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Oriole Photo: Jeff Marini
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3Imperial Lamian

Hang on to your sake when the noodle-ologists start slapping the dough around.
Critic’s Notes: This place is a terrific addition to River North and it belongs in River North. It’s not exactly what Arun’s was to Thai food, but Lamian has plenty of unique dishes that set it way apart from Chinatown. I spied kung pao on the menu, but not an egg roll in sight. —Penny Pollack
6 W. Hubbard St., 312-595-9440 Website
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Imperial Lamian Photo: Jeff Marini

4Mad Social

You must order the cocktail El Guapo—just to say you did.
Critic’s Notes: Two of us split three plates, and we each had one cocktail. More than enough food and drink for not much money. I’d slide into Mad again: after a movie, a blind date, a GNO. Tasty, stress-free eats. —PP
1140 W. Madison St., 312-243-2097 Website
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Mad Social Photo: Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune
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53 Greens Market

Calling all Dillman’s mourners: Brendan Sodikoff’s pastrami is back.
354 W. Hubbard St., 312-888-9195 Website
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3 Greens Market Photo: Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune

6Cochinita Taco Co.

Proving tacos are more than counter food.
3938 N. Central Ave., 773-283-8848 Website
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Cochinita Taco Co. Photo: Courtesy of Cochinita Taco Co.
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7Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya

Have all the garlicky ramen you want: There’s mouthwash in the restrooms.
Critic’s Notes: Noodles have a nice, springy chew. I’ve never seen yuzu-shio broth before, and now I wish I could see it all the time. —Carrie Schedler
1482 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-270-4150 Website
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Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya Photo: John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune

8Galata

Where kebabs … no, where falafel … no, where shawarma is king.
717 W. Maxwell St., 312-733-5900 Website
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Galata Photo: Courtesy of Galata

9Il Porcellino

Formerly Paris Club. Edith Piaf is out, Dean Martin is in.
59 W. Hubbard St., 312-595-0800 Website
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Il Porcellino Photo: Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune

10Doodle’s Doughnuts

Not enough sugar in your life? The Doodle doughnut comes with a bag of icing.
Critic’s Notes: Seems like one doughnut place too many, and I don’t get the bacon-strip shtick, but hey, the neighborhood is into it. —PP
1419 N. Wells St., 312-631-3339 Website
Doodle’s Doughnuts Photo: Courtesy of Doodle’s Doughnuts
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