Photograph: Sandy Noto

1 Esmé

What:Jenner Tomaska (Next) and his wife, Katrina Bravo, forge new ground with this art-focused spot that includes both a tasting menu and a casual bar.
Why:Head in for 16 courses on the tasting menu, such as salmon with ranch whey, plus artist dinners and a wine list loaded with bottles from women and BIPOC producers.
Where:2200 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park Website


Hinoki Sushiko
Photograph: Courtesy of Hinoki Sushiko

2 Hinoki Sushiko

What:Kyoten’s Otto Phan unleashes a new venture that’s half omakase, half izakaya.
Why:What suits your mood — ocean trout nigiri or chicken karaage with truffle Dijonnaise?
Where:1465 W. Willow St., West Town Website


George’s Deep Dish
Photograph: Azuree Wiitala

3 George’s Deep Dish

What:George Bumbaris enters the deep-dish game with cheese-edged sourdough pies.
Why:You can never have too much deep dish (especially one with spinach-artichoke dip).
Where:6221 N. Clark St., Edgewater Website


Photograph: Kathleen Robinson

4 Chikatana

What:Mexican meets Midwestern at this spot from Guillermo Reyes (Mi Tocaya Antojeria).
Why:Order seasonally changing dishes, like cauliflower chorizo tacos.
Where:850 W. Fulton Market, West Loop Website


The Authentic Tamale Guy
Photograph: Amber Millan

5 The Authentic Tamale Guy

What:Claudio Velez is back slinging late-night tamales; find him at Bangers & Lace.
Why:The question shouldn’t be “Why?” but rather “How many?”
Where:1670 W. Division St., Wicker Park Website


Ken Kee Restaurant
Photograph: Hilary Higgins

6 Ken Kee Restaurant

What:A reboot of the Chinatown icon from Strings Ramen’s Kenny Yang
Why:He added lots of neon and build-your-own noodle bowls with toppings like quail eggs and veggie dumplings.
Where:2129 S. China Pl. Website


Vaca’s Creamery
Photograph: Mariana Marinho

7 Vaca’s Creamery

What:A vegan ice cream shop that highlights socially responsible purveyors
Why:Get your oat milk soft serve drizzled with dulce de leche or turned into a s’mores sundae.
Where:1436 W. Blackhawk St., Noble Square Website


The Duplex
Photograph: Courtesy of The Duplex

8 The Duplex

What:LeQoinne Rice’s restaurant and bar features a rotating selection of concepts.
Why:First up: fried chicken sandos from the Kluckerz and birria tacos from Lime and Radish.
Where:3137 W. Logan Blvd., Logan Square Website


Little Wild
Photograph: Nick Lipton

9 Little Wild

What:The Ace Hotel’s bumping new rooftop bar, complete with frozen painkillers and local beers
Why:Expect DJs, a monthly queer party, and chorizo nachos.
Where: 311 N. Morgan St., West Loop Website


Aloha Wagon
Photograph: Octavio Romo

10 Aloha Wagon

What:Say aloha to a new location for the Hawaiian favorite.
Why:Loco moco and Spam musubi deliver just the kind of tropical vibe the season requires.
Where:2023 S. Western Ave., Heart of Chicago Website