5. Perennial Virant

Virant's farmhouse-chic standout across from Lincoln Park earned its share of attention last summer and then eased into the kind of consistency that eludes so many young restaurants. Our theory is that the initial buzz never wore off, which results in a refreshing attention to detail, from irresistible bar snacks (deviled eggs, homemade corn nuts) to fully realized Americana classics, such as grilled rainbow trout with roasted barley, sourdough buckwheat croutons, and grilled Meyer lemons. The spirited waitstaff, a mind-bending cocktail list, and Elissa Narow's tempting desserts all beg for return visits. Now that the adjoining Hotel Lincoln has opened, go ahead and kiss prime- time (and brunch) reservations goodbye.

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Pan-roasted Great Lakes whitefish with preserved sweet peppers purée, chow-chow, and wilted spinach at Perennial Virant.
Great Lakes whitefish at Perennial Virant

Price symbols indicate the typical cost of a meal (without tax, tip, or alcohol) per person.
¢ … under $20 | $ … $20 to $29 | $$ … $30 to $39 | $$$ … $40 to $49 | $$$$ … $50-plus