Conde Nast Traveler has proclaimed Chicago the best restaurant city in America right now. They have compiled a list of their 19 favorites. Chicago has some of the most creative chefs and these establishments don't disappoint. The service and hospitality is excellent, whether it's a place for a quick bite or a higher priced dining experience. This is part of the reason that The James Beard Foundation moved their award ceremony to Chicago.
- You won't find just one style of food coming from Chef/Owner Jason Vincent. He enjoys pumping out a variety of expertly created dishes such as "sortallini", which is similar to a tortillini with guanciale and pine nuts tossed in a bright tomato-basil sauce, all the way to flavorful, earthy pecan wood smoked ribs.
2. The Duck Inn
- The signature dish at this Bridgeport restaurant is the rotisserie duck for two. New executive chef Kris Delee will be putting his own spin on this "working class fine-dining" menu.
- Chef Sarah Grueneberg shows off her style with house made pasta including hand-cut pappardelle and pork cheek stuffed tortellini and arancini stuffed with 'nduja", a spicy pork and pepper salumi spread.
- This American restaurant in the Noble Square neighborhood has a very progressive and inventive menu. Chef/Owner Edward Kim mixes French technique with flavors from his Korean upbringing.
- You're in luck if you can grab a seat at the counter of their open kitchen. The creations here are American with a hint of Asian flare. Some interesting dishes include a seven ounce A-5 Wagyu beef with sea-urchin butter and smoked oysters with garlic butter, galangel and horseradish.
- Squid ink udon, spicy ddukbokki and pork belly mung bean pancakes top the menu here. Chef Beverly Kim is creating a buzz at this Korean-American 40 seat restaurant.
7. The Publican
- Located in the heart of Chicago's meatpacking district, this tavern is open for dinner only. They serve up cheese plates, charcuterie, and it's all about "oysters, pork, and beer".
- Chef Grant Achatz heads the kitchen here and they offer three dining experiences. First, The Kitchen Table is a private, intimate dining experience and is $385 per person. Second, The Gallery Menu has two seatings per night and is on the small first floor. This 16 to 18 course menu ranges from $285-$345. Next, The Salon Menu is served in the salons on the second floor. It ranges from $175-$225 and is just as innovating as the higher priced options.
9. Spacca Napoli
- They are known as a champion of Italian fare. Certified pizzaiolo Jon Goldsmith brings passion and knowledge to his work by traveling to Italy regularly to continue his lifelong training. The pies, made with meticulously crafted doughs, are perfectly cooked in a wood-fired inferno.
10. Lena Brava
- The newest endeavor from Rick Bayless showcases the cooking of the northern Baja Peninsula. Dishes are described as simple, but complex at the same time. Reservations are hard to come by and there's usually a pretty long wait. Most diners don't mind though, as they are able to grab a cold one at Cruz Blanca, the first brewery by Bayless.
11. Publican Anker
- Located in Wicker Park's Six Corners, this establishment was inspired by Chicago's 19th century German owned saloons and taverns. Beef for their delicious pub burger comes from Slagel Family Farms. Other specialties include puffy pork rinds (also from Slagel) and a green chile stew full of mussels and cod in a savory broth.
12. GT Prime
- The "GT" here is for. chef Giuseppe Tentori. He heads up this refined steakhouse with carnivore delights from venison loin to filet, all pre-sliced and ready to share. Even the vegetable creations are described as decadent. Try the blistered shishito peppers with creamy corn.
13. Duck Duck Goat
- This restaurant, at only a year old, is one of the most difficult restaurants to get a table at. Headed up by star chef Stephanie Izard, this place pays homage to Izard's childhood of American-Chinese takeout food. In house noodles are a highlight topped with short rib ragu with luobo radish or shrimp and goat sausage. They even have a small take out window where you can grab some street food bites.
14. Income Tax
- This "neigborhood spot" in Edgewater boasts a menu that is a compilation of European flavors with Midwestern hospitality. Spotlight here is on wine producers from small European vineyards. Chef Ryan Henderson (previously with wd~50) puts a modern spin on traditional dishes such as celery cavatelli with braised oxtail ragu and wine soaked raisins.
15. Pequod's Pizza
- The atmosphere at this Lincoln Park eatery is described as buzzy and dark. You'll have to wait for a table, but you'll be glad you did. Their deep dish pies are known for a "halo of caramelized cheese and a bright juicy tomato sauce". The crumbled sausage pie is a star here.
16. Mr. Beef
- Come here for the sliced sirloin sandwich topped with chili and peppers. Brothers Joseph and Dominic Zucchero opened Mr. Beef in 1963, and not much has changed. Their sirloin is roasted in house, sliced and then soaked in jus which makes it delectable.
- Don't miss this North Side establishment if you want the best spicy tuna rolls you've ever had. Chef Katsu Imamura has run the sushi bar since 1988 and his wife Haruko keeps an eye on the the two small rooms. Try the chef's selection nori and sashimi plates.
18. Au Cheval
- You have had the best cheeseburger of all time if you have one at Au Cheval. It's a double patty burger with Berkshire pork bacon and a sunny side egg on top. Get there early (they open at 11am daily and 10am on Sunday) if you want a chance to try this gooey, scrumptious beef delight.
19. Osteria Langhe
- Scottish born Cameron Grant cranks out innovative, yet comforting food at this Logan Square spot. Try the tajarin in a ragu of rabbit, pork and beef. Take a recommendation from owner Aldo Zaninotto and have a glass of Piemontese wine made from Nebbiolo, Freisa or Roero grapes.