Above:Bluefin tuna sashimi, sweet ebi nigiri, mixed sashimi At this sparely furnished restaurant on an unremarkable stretch of Irving Park Road, chef Simon Liew (Kai Zan) offers both a repudiation of overelaborate, overwrought sushi creations and a brilliant reboot of them. On the one hand, Liew is a purist. The star of the show here … Read more

Pizzeria Bebu

Above:Meatball pizza Chicago probably didn’t need another pizzeria, but we’re happy to wedge in one that’s as impressive as Bebu. Its pies emerge from the gas-fired oven chewy and char-speckled, airy yet sturdy enough to support toppings such as crumbles of housemade fennel-flecked sausage or drizzles of honey. They make for great takeout fare, but … Read more

The Delta

Welcome to the best party in Wicker Park. On a comparatively sleepy stretch of North Avenue, this homage to the Mississippi Delta is so packed it’s practically shaking, filled with men in ironic mustaches and women in ironic wire-rimmed glasses, all of them nodding along to hip-hop and sipping fruity vodka punches from shareable cut-glass … Read more


Above left:Lamb loin BLVD presents itself as a fantasy from a bygone time and place—1950s Hollywood, specifically—but where a lesser restaurant might have veered kitschy, this one smartly went in a more opulent direction. The space is exultant in velvet upholstery and crystal chandeliers and is anchored by an impressive staircase and a brass-trimmed bar. … Read more


Above:Beet agnolotti A kid from the northwest suburbs has quietly evolved into one of Chicago’s pasta savants. At his pleasant little brick-walled restaurant, Joe Frillman spins humble dough into endlessly fulfilling plates (a skill he honed as chef de cuisine at Balena). For the red beet agnolotti, he poaches and purées beets, blends them with … Read more

Mi Tocaya Antojeria

Above:Steak burrito and enchiladas After a short-lived stint at the equally short-lived Andersonville spot Cantina 1910, Diana Dávila decided her next project would be entirely her own. From its moniker, which means “my namesake” in Spanish, to its confident, deeply personal takes on Mexican cooking, Mi Tocaya is pure Dávila. Sometimes this intimate approach leads … Read more

Tempesta Market

Above, top left:The Potato ‘Nator The father-son duo of Agostino and Tony Fiasche first gained acclaim with Nduja Artisans, a suburban salumeria whose exquisite dry-cured meat has graced the menus of many of Chicago’s top restaurants. So it makes sense that the rustic West Town deli they opened last year is the finest sandwich shop … Read more

Mango Pickle

Above, from left:Marisa Paolillo; samosas Marisa Paolillo, the chef-partner at Mango Pickle, burns through ideas so quickly that a seasonal menu doesn’t seem adequate. While you’re proclaiming your love for her fork-tender pork shoulder vindaloo with tapioca pappadams or her chicken tikka wings flavored with Kashmiri chilies, Paolillo is already plotting her next project. (She’s … Read more