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The Best Dishes Chicago’s Dining Critics Ate in 2015

We’re ready for seconds on these cheese curds, steamed mussels, and more.

Lasagna pizza at Coalfire   Photo: Clint Blowers

In 2015, Chicago’s dining reviewers ate roughly 1,000 meals in the line of duty. The food ranged from deep-fried to dehydrated, from barbecue to bibim bap, from tacos to T-Bones—and, of course, from miserable to mediocre to amazing. But when all is digested, here are the precious few that elicited the critics’ highest praise: I could eat this forever.

Pan-roasted halibut, Marcona almond butter, white asparagus, and blueberry nuoc cham at Girl & the Goat

“The ultimate expression of richness on richness. Almond butter meets blueberry nuoc cham on a perfectly cooked piece of halibut.” —Peter Gianopulos 
809 W. Randolph St., 312-492-6262 

Chili cheese curds at Antique Taco

“It’s weird and delicious, great bar food.” —Dennis Ray Wheaton 
1360 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-687-8697 

Grilled duck hearts at Boltwood

“This dish makes me miss the late great Jimmy Rohr (Jimmy’s Place). No one appreciated a fabulous organ meat prep more than he did.” —Penny Pollack
804 Davis St., Evanston, 847-859-2880 

Steamed mussels with Balinese coconut curry sauce, krupuks, red pepper, and baguette at De Quay

“The sauce was dumped on the top and seeped into all of them, inside the shells, where it soaked right into the mussels in the best way.” —Jeff Ruby 
2470 N. Lincoln Ave., 872-206-8820 

Ca ri ga at Saigon Sisters

“It’s a big, colorful bowlful of chewy rice noodles, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and chunks of peppered chicken, all in a yellow curry broth and topped with cilantro. I love all the fresh veggies in here.” —Carly Boers
567 W. Lake St., 312-496-0090 

Lasagna pizza at Coalfire

“As a recent-ish Chicago transplant, it took me a while to find my pizza soulmate here, but I’m ready to settle down with this crisp-crusted, ricotta-and-sausage-coated beauty.” —Carrie Schedler 
1321 W. Grand Ave., 312-226-2625; 3707 N. Southport Ave., 773-477-2625

Grilled cheese at Same Day Café

“With the smoky Gouda and cheddar melted to oozy perfection on buttery rosemary-speckled house-made toast, it’s a classy, herbaceous take on the world’s perfect comfort food.” —Maggie Hennessy 
2651 N. Kedzie Ave., 773-342-7040 


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