MOST PERFECTLY BRÛLÉED CRÈME BRÛLÉE
4835 N. Western Ave.; 773-681-0651
The lovely textured vanilla crème hits the not-too-sweet spot, but the thick, crunchy scorched crust on this brûlée makes each bite truly memorable.
MOST MASTERFUL WHITE PIZZA
SONO WOOD FIRED
1582 N. Clybourn Ave.; 312-255-1122
A sprinkling of herbs finishes off this chewy thin-crust pie that comes paved with wondrously earthy mushrooms.
1321 W. Taylor St.; 312-243-1577
There are lots of great cheese plates out there, but only one of them is served on a tree stump.
851 N. Ashland Ave.; 312-624-8509
Liked the confounding repurposed revolving darkroom door; loved the vintage concert posters wallpapering the interior.
BEST TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
BIA FOR MIA
1147 W. Grand Ave.; 312-226-0312
Soft cooked cabbage bobs in glistening sweet-and-sour broth, and you whisper a prayer of thanks for the return of Mel Markon’s classic soup.
BEST SUBSTITUTE FOR A BREADBASKET
1160 N. Dearborn St.; 312-642-1160
Take it easy on the terrific complimentary seasoned potato chips and bread-and-butter pickles. We didn’t.
FRESHEST TAKE ON AN ANCIENT CHINESE SOUP
736 W. Northwest Hwy., Barrington; 847-382-1988
Sliced whitefish slowly simmered in broth with cellophane noodles, pickled mustard greens, and fresh red chilies puts chong ching on the right side of history.