3. Dear Margaret

If you stop into this bistro looking to re-create a trip to Quebec with a meal of tourtière, poutine, and thick pea soup, you could be confused. “What makes it French Canadian?” you may ask executive chef Ryan Brosseau. “I’m French Canadian,” he’d answer laconically. Brosseau is cooking from the heart, and in a way … Read more

5. Jinsei Motto

Our new favorite sushi bar is in the Malört factory, and if that isn’t the most Chicago thing ever, we don’t know what is. Head sushi chef Patrick Bouaphanh first began rolling sushi at Mariano’s (gotta start somewhere) and cut his teeth at Sushi Dokku. More to the point, he has traveled enough in Japan … Read more

6. Lardon

If there’s one new restaurant that makes you want to cancel all your afternoon meetings and just chill, it’s Lardon. The sun-soaked space, which has 26 seats (a sidewalk patio more than doubles the space in warm weather), is open all day for boards loaded with chef Chris Thompson’s superlative housemade charcuterie (the selection rotates, … Read more

7. Testaccio

Italian cuisine has dominated the city’s dining scene over the past year. While Alla Vita and Elina’s home in on classic red sauce, and Segnatore and Adalina deliver clever pastas, no place has proved more transportive than Testaccio. This cozy spot, from the Osteria Langhe team and chef Jacob Solomon, focuses on Roman food, particularly … Read more

8. The Coach House by Wazwan

Walk through Wazwan — where guests sitting at high-top communal tables snarf pan-Asian street food like okonomiyaki and vada pav (fried potato sliders) — across the courtyard, and into the coach house, which survived the Great Chicago Fire. Here chef Zubair Mohajir serves elaborate eight-course tasting menus (your choice of vegetarian, pescetarian, or omnivorous, all $150 and BYOB). Mohajir … Read more

9. Esmé

When Jenner Tomaska, the former Next executive chef, ventured out to open his own restaurant with his wife, Katrina Bravo, smart diners knew it was worth booking immediately. The airy and arty restaurant is an extension of the bright and savvy couple and pushes the boundaries of what to expect from fine dining. Tomaska’s tasting … Read more

10. Evette’s

If you’ve downed tacos al pastor or traveled to Puebla for tacos árabes, you’ve tasted how delicious Middle Eastern influences on Mexican cuisine can be. Mitchell AbouJamra pushes that fusion into new directions at Evette’s, the easygoing counter-service spot he named for his Lebanese grandmother. Take the Halloumi tacos, which pack grilled cheese, jalapeño tabbouleh, … Read more

11. Elina’s

Red sauce joints have been opening left and right in Chicago, and there are exactly zero questions why. After the two years we’ve had, who doesn’t need to face-plant into a bowl of rigatoni with vodka sauce or inhale a massive chicken Parm? Elina’s, a sliver of a storefront on an old-school Italian stretch in … Read more

12. Mama Delia

The drama begins with a bright pink exterior and fern-bedecked patio and extends into the striking marble bar that’s curved around the wine-and-conservas-loaded shelves of a 112-year-old pharmacy shipped over from Belgium. Whew! Bonhomme Group’s tapas bar is, with all due respect, a little bit extra. The vibe is undoubtedly over the top, but the … Read more