124 Best Dishes

We scoured the city for the top offerings on Chicago’s world-class restaurant scene. From appetizer through dessert, from über haute pineapple rum soup to down-home juicy fried chicken, here’s your road map to the 124 yummiest dishes around.

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With Kim Conte, Miriam Gottfried, Penny Pollack, Jeff Ruby, and Nathaniel Zimmer
Photography by Leonard Gertz

There’s a certain look a dining critic gets when a compelling menu item turns out to be as good as it sounded. It’s a goofy grin that says, “Hey, I didn’t think I could be surprised anymore.” In the past year, our reviewers tasted roughly 5,000 dishes and still found themselves flabbergasted. Sometimes perfection popped up in unexpected places, such as in Flamingo’s fish tacos; other times the spark came from exotica like Riccardo Trattoria’s hearty tripe Florentine. The true pleasure of the quest, though, lies in the discovery of stunning creations—beer jam-glazed quail with aged Gruyère at Vie comes to mind. Here are 124 such revelations. In the words of a not-so-great poet, eat ’em and smile.


THE LIST >>

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6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

What's with the total lack of South Side restaurants? Except for a few places in Chinatown, you don't have a single dish from the South Side...

6 years ago
Posted by Jon L

Re: South Side restaurants...

It's always been that way, in magazines and the newspaper. Apparently there is no place worth eating on the South Side.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Jeez, your best appetizer is a part of an otherwise overwhelmingly Americanized 12-course meal. You can get a more authentic "One-Bite Salad" at Spoon Thai on Western for, IIRC, $6.00. Oh, and it feeds four people as part of a multi-course meal that you'd have trouble spending $85.00 on. Oh, and that $85.00 is for four.

Ask for the translated Thai menu and you'll be transported to Thailand.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

There is one dish from Tin Fish in Tinley Park

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Try the scallops at West Town Tavern!

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

the brisket sandwich at Cooper's - smoky, succulent, delicious...& don't forget about those fries..

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Laura you so pretty!!

~Em

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

You are so pretty...forgot the "are"

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

For those of us foodies on the South Side I agree we were not represented at all. Yes we do have some wonderful restaurants but they are few and far between. Are people not willing to make the trek out south ? Yes we do need MORE restaurants to take advantage of the reasonable rents and to give the communities a chance to experience good quality food.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

can someone please actually recommend some south side restaurants (instead of just griping about lack of representation)?

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

You must try LeRoy Brown's! It's truely authentic ethnic cuisine. Best in town.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

should we go throught the list of South Side city & suburban locations.

Blu47
Negro League Cafe
Ragin Cajun
Dixie Kitchen
Chi Tung
Bogarts
The Pit

Or should I continue

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

The southside has no representation because if its not fried its not on the southside. And The Pit should never be counted as good food unless you have never tasted real BBQ

4 years ago
Posted by amelias chicago

Have you try Amelia's at 4559 S. Halsted will be nice to see one of their dishes in the made just for north side magazine.

4 years ago
Posted by south-side-mike

Chuck's Southern Comfort Café
6501 W 79th St.
Burbank, IL 60459
Owner Chuck Pine used to work for Baylis at Fontera Grill.
Unique restaurant with combo of BBQ, Cajun, Mexican and American foods...
Once you go there… you will be back

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