Inovasi's dry-aged sirloin on Anson Mills grits
Inovasi's dry-aged sirloin on Anson Mills grits


In the past year, we have seen a four-star chef peddling tortas (Rick Bayless at Xoco), a three-star chef turning tacos (Paul Kahan, Big Star), and a two-star chef doing Korean meatball sandwiches (Bill Kim, Belly Shack). Meanwhile, kitchen soldiers you’ve never heard of, like Jason McLeod (Ria) and Todd Stein (Cibo Matto), shoot for the stars—and reach them—in new upscale hotels. Has everything turned upside down? If so, we’re all for it. The year’s 21 best new restaurants may represent our most diverse roster yet, including establishments that produce everything from a grilled dry-aged sirloin on Anson Mills grits in Lake Bluff (Inovasi) to pork kebabs in Pilsen (DeColores). The takeaway? In Chicago, good food comes in all shapes, sizes, and tax brackets.

PLUS: Check out the best new bites, including the juiciest Korean short ribs and the most comforting fried chicken

Abigail's American Bistro »
493 Roger Williams Avenue, Highland Park; 847-849-1009

Belly Shack »
1912 North Western Avenue; 773-252-1414

Big Star »
1531 North Damen Avenue; 773-235-4039

Bistro Bordeaux »
618 Church Street, Evanston; 847-424-1483

Branch 27 »
1371 West Chicago Avenue; 312-850-2700

Browntrout »
4111 North Lincoln Avenue; 773-472-4111

Ceres' Table »
4882 North Clark Street; 773-878-4882

Chilam Balam »
3023 North Broadway; 773-296-6901

Cibo Matto »
(Best New Chef)
The Wit Hotel, 201 North State Street; 312-239-9500

DeColores »
1626 South Halsted Street; 312-226-9886

Gemini Bistro »
2075 North Lincoln Avenue; 773-525-2522

Inovasi »
28 East Center Avenue, Lake Bluff; 847-295-1000

Macku Sushi »
2239 North Clybourn Avenue; 773-880-8012

Nella Pizzeria Napoletana »
2423 North Clark Street; 773-327-3400

Prairie Fire »
(Best New Dessert)
215 North Clinton Avenue; 312-382-8300

The Purple Pig »
500 North Michigan Avenue; 312-464-1744

Ria »
(Best New Restaurant)
Elysian Hotel, 11 East Walton Street; 312-880-4400

Sprout »
1417 West Fullerton Avenue; 773-348-0706

Taxim »
(Best New Dish)
1558 North Milwaukee Avenue; 773-252-1558

TerzoPiano »
Modern Wing, Art Institute of Chicago, 159 East Monroe Drive; 312-443-8650

Xoco »
449 North Clark Street; 312-334-3688



Photography: Anna Knott