51 Dining Secrets From snagging a top table to ordering from underground takeout spots, here’s everything you need to know to become a savvier diner. Photography by Jeff Marini Illustrations by Greg Clarke October 19, 2021, 8:39 am The Best Seats in the House It isn’t enough to get a great reservation — you need to get the best table, too. From a push-button for prosecco to a front-row view of pasta making, these seats are the top spots to settle in. Overheard: Tales From a Top-Shelf Bartender Mark Wagner, Bartender, Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse How to Get Into a Busy Restaurant Jen Newton, beverage director, Rose Mary How to Read a Menu Paul Fehribach, chef/co-owner, Big Jones How to Find Value on a Wine List Belinda Chang, sommelier Underground Eats Trying to decide on dinner? Look to Instagram, where you can order takeout from chefs like Karla Morales, who makes vegan Latin dishes. Ask the Dining Editor By Amy Cavanaugh Chef-Approved Carryout 5 chefs share their must-have takeout orders. 6 Top-Secret Drinks to Order Need a quick way to impress your friends? These off-menu beverages include a kombucha blend and a canned hurricane. Overlooked Favorites Chefs say some of the best dishes are the ones customers aren’t ordering. Here’s what you’re missing (plus exclusive recipes so you can make them at home). Phone Eats First Upgrade your dinner tonight with apps that bundle Chinatown deliveries, guide you to Black-owned restaurants, and more. Midweek Markdowns Six reasons why Wednesday is the best night to go out. Double Features Find some of Chicago’s best eats, like al pastor tacos from Taquizas los Primos, hiding within other restaurants. Level Up Your Home Kitchen Chefs drop intel on their must-have tools and ingredients.