Places To Eat In Chicago Suburbs – Here are all of the Tribune’s food and restaurant team’s guides to different foods and restaurants in Chicago.
When Chicago Tribune food critics Louisa Chu and Nick Kindelsperger began sketching plans for a new list of the best restaurants in Chicago and the suburbs, it was clear how many questions the process would raise.
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Here are the 25 best new restaurants in and around Chicago. bon appetit — Ariel Cheung, food editor
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From a reluctant gyros restaurant, to a stalwart caramel pie bakery, to a refined Asian-inspired virtual effort, you’ve picked some amazing winners for the 11th annual Readers’ Choice Food Awards.
There’s something undeniably special about cookies and our age-old tradition of sharing them, especially this time of year. Delicious to give and take away, it’s the perfect holiday dessert.
Seen here the dish called Snails in the Woods at Claudia. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune)
Chicago has 68 Bib Gourmand recipients, 17 restaurants with one Michelin star and five with two stars. Alinea remains the only restaurant with three Michelin stars in the city.
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Chef Erick Williams of Chicago Virtue Restaurant won Best Chef in the Great Lakes Region. (Louisa Chu/Chicago Tribune)
The James Beard Foundation Awards returned to Chicago in June after a two-year hiatus, celebrating the best and brightest in the culinary world on a national scale.
A wave of chefs from the city has revolutionized Chicago’s bagel scene. Some are East Coast expats determined to recreate the bagels they grew up eating. Others are dough obsessives, spending years researching how to make perfect bagels every time.
Our search for the best Italian meats in Chicago turned up over 50 Italian beef restaurants and stands. (Nick Kindelsperger/Chicago Tribune)
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For those unfamiliar with the Chicago Italian beef sandwich, it may initially seem like an enigma. It’s kind of like a roast beef sandwich, although the beef stock plays a key role. This makes it similar in spirit to a French bath, but at the same time more extravagant and less polite. No one would ever confuse them.
When visiting from out of town, time is fleeting. Choices must be made. While it’s difficult to direct someone to one of the 220 breweries in the Chicago area, I’ve concocted a quick answer, quite a few actually, depending on the beer drinker in question.
Whether it’s the subtle smell of a campfire on a cool autumn breeze or the less subtle allure of a pumpkin spice latte, the spicy and flavorful vestiges of autumn cause a shift in the food and wine we crave.
Of the dozens of ready-to-drink cocktails on the shelves, here are the ones to enjoy and the ones to avoid. It seems like outdoor dining has been around forever. In fact, Chicago’s outdoor dining scene was born just 30 years ago.
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In April 1985, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance allowing restaurants to set up outdoor dining on sidewalks. In this first year, 25 sidewalk cafe licenses were issued. The following year, that number grew to 65, and outdoor dining participation has grown by dozens since then.
Today, it’s relatively rare to find a restaurant that doesn’t offer some form of outdoor dining, no matter how small the available space. I passed by Sushi Dokku (nice place on Randolph Street) the other day and it had an outdoor dining area. There were exactly three two-seater tables, but damn, there were
The inspiration, bordering on desperation, is easy to understand. For the price of some weatherproof tables and chairs and a few flower boxes, restaurants can increase their seating capacity by 20 percent or more by just adding an extra server or two. Outdoor dining isn’t pure profit, but it’s close.
And the market has spoken loudly: Chicagoans love to dine outdoors. We will eat outside when it rains, if there is a cover. We’ll eat outside in temperatures in the 50s if there’s a heat lamp nearby. And when the conditions are perfect, it is not unusual, in restaurants like Athena or Piccolo Sogno, to be quoted as waiting an hour or more outdoors, while the tables inside are empty.
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So this year’s list of alfresco dining options, divided as I usually do into the categories New, Great View and Proven Truth, is not exhaustive, because by the time I listed them all, summer was over. Here are my picks, based on old, new, and ever-reliable places I’ve visited, that represent outdoor environments that are truly fun to experience.
Because 30 years after Chicago’s first sidewalk cafe, a few plastic resin chairs and rickety tables just don’t cut it anymore.
Boat kitchen The garage-style doors surrounding this casual Mexican joint roll up when the weather is nice, turning the entire restaurant into an outdoor dining space.
Bin 36. Bin 36 is back, with a new owner, a new chef, a new West Loop location (where Province once lived), and an adjacent 50-seat, enclosed, canvas-covered patio with spaced tables. Endless wine offerings remain the restaurant’s focus (48 wines by the glass), but there’s also serious cuisine.
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C Chicago. The newest (and most ambitious) seafood restaurant in town has a very attractive outdoor patio at Kinzie and Dearborn streets; the furniture is luxurious and comfortable, and the people-watching can be fascinating.
The “cherry” on top of Virgin Hotels Chicago is an indoor/outdoor space with a wraparound perch that offers rain-proof furniture and great views of the Loop. The light bites and izakaya menu includes some fun appetizers like lollipop-like dumplings and oysters topped with homemade kimchee. A DJ was working in the room the night we visited.
By Cindy The newly opened Chicago Athletic Association Hotel has quickly established itself as a destination, and a big part of that is the 13th-floor rooftop space known as Cindy’s, whose spectacular views include the Art Institute, virtually all of Millennium Park, and the lake There’s an arched glass ceiling to keep the weather at bay, and bleached wood floors and picnic tables give the space a beach-house feel. Call well in advance to reserve a table or resign yourself to stand-up cocktails (assuming you get in).
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. You want barbecue restaurants to have an outdoor element, and this New York import obliges with a picnic table out back.
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The ducks nest. This tiny Bridgeport newcomer is quite small, so the addition of a paved patio in the backyard surrounded by a functional vegetable garden is a welcome addition.
The Kensington. A roof garden and lounge above (and accessible from) Parliament Nightclub (there’s also a separate entrance) and overlooking the River North and the city centre. Sip on $12 cocktails and order from a light menu of tacos, sliders and sides, all prepared at the nearby Mercadito counter.
Labriola Ristorante & Cafe. Just east of Michigan Avenue along an elevated strip above Grand Avenue, Labriola has movable windows to let air into the dining room and about 45 seats up front.
Clandestine Siren. Outdoor dining is booming in the Fulton Market neighborhood, and La Sirena is jumping on the bandwagon with a sidewalk cafe on Morgan Street.
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Next Fulton Market’s notoriously hard-to-get-to restaurant is trying something new with its current menu (through September 6), “Tapes.” Using bourbon barrels for tables and no seats, Next has turned its sidewalk area into a virtual tapas bar, a first-come, first-served area serving a handful of tapas-style dishes ($12 each) and libations to match.
Oak + Char. Inside, the dining room is filled with wood and offers a menu of dishes cooked over an open fire; outside, the sidewalk cafe is lined with charred wood planks and fitted with hanging lights. This stretch of Huron Street isn’t heavily trafficked, so outdoor dining is quiet.
Premium and provisions. This sister property to Siena Tavern, Public House, and Bull & Bear (Bar Siena is opening soon in the Fulton Market District) is a serious white-table restaurant. The outdoor area is right next to the main entrance and is under the building’s overhang, done with woven furniture (and still white tablecloths). Heat lamps and some cold-looking lights hang from the ceiling.
By Remington. Remington’s, another newcomer to Michigan Avenue, is a simple American restaurant with a flowery sidewalk cafe; sliding glass windows transform the dining room into an outdoor space.
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RPM Steak There’s room for 20 in the semi-circular leather-clad booths (as is the interior) that line Kinzie Street at the entrance to RPM. An awning provides some protection from glare and rain. Open for lunch and dinner.
Salt This Spanish restaurant is ringing in its first summer with a wood-paneled sidewalk cafe, a rustic counterpart to neighbor Blackbird’s white-on-white cafe.
Seven lions Across from the Art Institute (the name is a nod to the lions that guard the entrance to the museum), Alpana Singh’s latest venture is a creative American restaurant; the 70-seat sidewalk cafe with umbrella tables and flower pots will make you feel part of the city.
Streeterville Social. This one is so new it hasn’t been opened yet. June 26 will be the official opening date for this 9,000-square-foot space attached to the Loews Hotel in Streeterville. There will be two atmospheres, the Bistro (which serves lunch and dinner) and the Terrassa (open only at night).
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In December A perch on the 12th floor is modern and elegant and offers glossy cube tables and
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