From hot to honey, restaurants dedicated to crispy, brined and juicy fried chicken are emerging all over Chicago. Focused menus highlighting the bird and not much else are to be expected at most of these hot spots.
BUCK’S CHICKEN & BISCUITS
1700 W Division St
Carriage House has reconcepted into Buck’s, a hip cocktail bar with standout fried chicken and biscuits. Your choice of traditional or kickin’ yields large portions of properly brined meat and crackling skin, served with biscuits and homemade apple butter. Expect modernized southern staples on the appetizer menu like deviled eggs, pimiento cheese, and shrimp and grits.
2940 N Broadway Ave
One of the forerunners to the modern fried chicken-craze and still a favorite among many Chicagoans, Crisp serves juicy chicken with a crunchy crust dressed in savory Asian-inspired sauces. Seoul Sassy, a take on Korea’s popular chicken dish, is a snappy sweet blend of ginger and garlic, a perfect complement to beautifully fried chicken. Order at the counter and don’t be afraid to rub elbows with the mostly young Asian crowd chowing on bibimbap and of course, fried chicken.
GUS’S WORLD FAMOUS FRIED CHICKEN
847 W Fulton Market
Different than typical fried chicken, this small chain hailing from Memphis uses a highly spiced flour dredge to get their hallmark cracker-thin crust. The resulting flavor has a little southern kick, but is much milder than the Nashville Hot style. Don’t balk at the white bread, which is the standard accompaniment in the south, better suited to wrap around juicy bites of bone-in fried chicken than crumbly cornbread or biscuits. Stick to sides like fried okra and creamy mac & cheese in this brightly-lit no-frills space with a full bar.
HONEY BUTTER FRIED CHICKEN
3361 N Elston Ave
This casual eatery has mindfulness at the heart of what they do – from humanely-raised chicken and locally-sourced ingredients to honorable employment practices and biodegradable packaging; this fried chicken joint knows how to pull the community’s heartstrings. Order at the counter and await the juicy and tender fried chicken, sprinkled with an herby paprika spice blend. Don’t discount their signature whipped honey butter, which you’ll want to slather generously onto your chicken to get the full experience.
PARSON’S CHICKEN AND FISH
2952 W Armitage
Diners are greeted with retro diner-inspired décor inside, and an expansive outdoor patio with picnic benches and a ping pong table in the heart of Logan Square. The menu is loaded with hipster renditions of southern favorites, like the citrus, rum and habañero-infused Amish fried chicken, and hush puppies filled with Slagel Farms ham hock and cream cheese. Negroni slushies and canned craft beers fly out of the bar.
THE ROOST CAROLINA KITCHEN
1467 W Irving Park | 312-261-5564
455 N Milwaukee Ave | 312-877-5738
The Roost does it right, with down-to-earth, simple scratch preparations and always fried to order chicken. Started as a food truck and now open in 2 brick and mortar locations, The Roost brings North Carolina favorites like chicken biscuit sandwiches to the Midwest alongside stellar mac & cheese and decadent bread pudding, all served on trays lined with checkered deli paper.
Hot off the Press
The Windy City’s newest dining alternatives are sure to make for an unforgettable experience.
BAND OF BOHEMIA
4710 N Ravenswood Ave
Artistically inspired and driven by a team of former Alinea vets, Band of Bohemia is one of the first restaurants in Chicago to brew its own beer and then craft an inventive food menu to pair with those flavors. Dubbing themselves a “culinary brewhouse,” one-of-a-kind libations include a savory grilled apple tarragon beer, orange chicory rye ale, and a malty stone fruit and citrus ale.
CHERRY CIRCLE ROOM
Chicago Athletic Association Building
12 S Michigan Ave, 2nd Floor
Located across the street from Millennium Park on the second floor of the historic Chicago Athletic Association, Cherry Circle Room brings refined American cooking to a section of downtown inundated with chain restaurants. Its well-crafted drink menu features classic cocktails prepared with signature flourishes like the gin fizz infused with earl grey tea. This is a hidden treasure worth seeking out – head up the marble staircase onto the second floor; Cherry Circle Room sits obscured by an expansive adults-only Game Room complete with billiards, bocce, and shuffleboard, plus cocktail lounge from local luminary Paul McGee.
DUCK DUCK GOAT
857 W Fulton Market
The already bustling Fulton Market neighborhood now has another wildly popular restaurant joining its ranks. Former Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s latest concept features an inventive take on classic Chinese cuisine. Enjoy hand-pulled noodles, made to order soup dumplings, sharable roasted goat and Peking duck as well as and chef’s favorite – fried rice, along with fun libations in the swanky but vastly different dining rooms, which are each an homage to Chinatowns throughout the U.S. Expect to eat early or late as reservations are snapped up quickly, or try your luck at walking in to snag a spot at the bar.
GREENRIVER & THE ANNEX
259 E Erie Street, 18th Floor
Both of these adjacent restaurants offer extensive ingredient-focused cocktail menus, but it’s the breadth of the offerings that sets them apart. While GreenRiver’s hearty Midwestern-fueled dishes include whole roasted duck, saffron spaghetti and an eight-course chef’s tasting menu, The Annex serves up appetizer-type fare, such as tuna and foie crudo, gin-cured gravlax and triple cream brie. The breathtaking city views from 18 stores high are definitely worth the trip. Reservations are highly recommended.
MAPLE & ASH
8 Maple St
This sleek three-story steakhouse opened in the Gold Coast and brought a rock star wine list with it. The opulent dining room is the perfect place to dive in to wood-fired, grass-fed only steak, along with fresh seafood and locally-sourced vegetables. Service starts off right with a complimentary mini martini and relish tray. Night owls take note – the first floor bar is open until 4 a.m.
951 W Fulton Market
No Phone Available
Alinea’s Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas team up with The Aviary’s executive chef, Andrew Brochu, to launch a new concept a la carte restaurant that is intended to be casual and approachable – at least more so than Alinea. Roister, which means “to revel noisily” in French, features an open hearth kitchen. Menu options range from a sourdough pancake with hearth baked beans to A-5 Japanese Wagu and a whole chicken brined in chamomile sweet tea served 3 ways – poached, buttermilk fried, and confit with artichokes. Reservations can be made via the Tock ticket system a limited number of walk-ins are available. Lunch and prix fixe dinner menu downstairs are coming soon.
These hotly anticipated restaurants are on the verge of announcing opening dates. Be among the first who get a taste.
802 W Randolph St
Opening: June 2016
This restaurant’s name is appropriate, given that the menu is centered around seasonal vegetables, with the occasional meat mixed in. Health-focused dishes, primarily prepared on a wood grill, are appropriately complimented by moderately-low alcohol cocktails. With the ambiance of an English garden, complete with paved brick floors and loads of greenery throughout, Bad Hunter provides a tranquil escape within the West Loop’s bustling Restaurant Row.
CRUZ BLANCA & LEÑA BRAVA
900 W Randolph St
Opening: May 2016
Renowned Frontera Grill chef Rick Bayless’ newest ventures have conveniently adjacent locations. Pop into Cruz Blanca, a Latin-inspired nano-brewery with tasting room and taqueria, then head over to Leña Brava, the hearth-driven, northern Baja-inspired seafood restaurant with a mescal-driven beverage program. Cruz Blanca is a serious brewery containing a 10-barrel brewing system, which adds up to many craft beer tasting opportunities. Be sure to sample Goose Island brewmaster Jacob Sembrano’s flagship beer, La Guardia, or take a growler to go. Large-format bottles are also available.
3209 W Armitage Ave
Opening: May 2016
Belying its name, this diminutive 40-seat restaurant provides a more casual dining atmosphere and unpretentious menu. Dishes are centered around an extensive homemade pasta program, along with seasonal delights that feature local produce and meats. The wine list focuses on smaller producers from Canada, New York’s Finger Lakes region, Oregon and California, with imports from Spain, France and Portugal. Take note that Giant’s cocktail list is more limited.
EL CHE BAR
845 W Washington Blvd
Opening: Spring 2016
A 10-foot hearth is the focal point of this newly-opened Argentinean-inspired restaurant, which prides itself on authentic dishes prepared in a wood-burning oven. A bevy of grilled seafood, roasted meat and smoked vegetable entrees are uniquely prepared right over the fire. Popular blackened sweetbreads are first seared, then roasted. Complementing the dishes is an ambitious beverage program with innovative flavors ranging from smoke to acid. Although the cooking method may be primal, the dishes are quite creative.
KITSUNE RESTAURANT & PUB
4229 N Lincoln Ave
Opening: Spring 2016
Focusing on bountiful ingredients from the Midwest, Kitsune’s concise menu of home-style Japanese specialties serves up a snack-heavy selection of oysters with yuzu and brown butter and chicken dumplings with black sauce. The more limited entrees of ramen and shoyu-roast chicken are similarly inspired. Big groups can venture into the seasonal washoku menu, served family style. Top off the experience with a whiskey-glazed donut, sake or one of the 12 beers on tap.
BOHEMIAN HOUSE (BoHo)
11 W Illinois Street
Inspired by the lighthearted, carefree essence of Bohemian culture, BoHo’s hearty dishes are inspired by Czech Republic, German and Austrian fare. Chicken paprikash with pickled sweet peppers and Czech potato dumplings is sure to be a favorite, along with Butcher’s Goulash, featuring the contrasting yet complementary flavor sensations of spicy Hungarian kolbasz, beef shank, spaetzle and sweet and sour cabbage. Craft beers also are center stage here, so prepare to choose a flight and sample a few of the 15 varieties on tap.
DOS URBAN CANTINA
2829 W Armitage Ave
For those who think they’ve seen it all when it comes to Mexican cuisine, Dos Urban Cantina brings a fresh interpretation with a modern twist. There has been much buzz around this newer eatery and its menu, with entrees segmented into vegetables, masa, seafood and meat. Tantalizing the taste buds are grilled maitake and shimeji mushrooms bathed in Oaxacan red mole; black lentils with couscous, watercress and poached egg; and beef pibil with black beans, habanero salsa and collard greens. Chocoholics don’t miss the decadent Chocolate Cake on a Fancy Plate.
2957 W Diversey Ave
Recently nominated 2016’s James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef in the Great Lakes, Fat Rice offers Euro-Asian comfort food native to Macau. Talented chefs fuse together Portuguese, Chinese, Indian, and South East Asian cuisine and its worth checking out restaurant’s namesake dish, arroz gordo; the stoneware rice casserole overflows with prawns, clams, chicken thighs, Portuguese sausage, duck, tea-infused hard-boiled eggs, croutons and assorted pickles. Come for unique flavors you won’t find anywhere else. Newly opened Ladies Room showcases a stylish cocktail bar inside the restaurant and features cocktails using locally-sourced bitters, flavor-infused sprits and house-preserved fruits and vegetables.
2557 W Chicago Ave
It’s still hard to snag a reservation at this understated Ukrainian Village gem, which offers playful Japanese dishes with a surprising twist, and, one of the city’s best omakase experiences. In addition, you’ll find some of the city’s freshest sushi and sashimi around. The former owners of Kyoto and Kamehachi have given Chicago an authentic taste of Japanese cuisine with new, innovative twists. Check out their delectable oyster shooters, call ahead to make sure they have uni and be sure to save room for dessert.
LA SIRENA CLANDESTINA
954 W Fulton Market
Flavorful and stylish Brazilian cuisine in a casual neighborhood setting. Go for ceviches and cocktails during lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Enjoy unique dishes like the Rabbit Coxinha served with frisee and a whole grain mustard vinaigrette along with popular Brazilian libations. Classic American options are also available for those not wanting to venture too far from home.
3500 N Elston Ave
Descend into high-end Korean-American cuisine at Parachute, honored as a James Beard finalist in 2014. Selections change nightly and dishes are designed and proportioned to be shared, so be prepared to experience a feast for the senses. More familiar fare—chicken with artichokes, king oyster mushroom and garlic confit—sits side by side with the more exotic—tandoori sweetbreads, raita, potato and lovage. The wine, craft beer and spirits menus are both extensive and impressive. Because this 40-seat restaurant fills up quickly, reservations are recommended.
SUMI ROBATA BAR
702 N Wells St
This authentic Robatayaki derives its name, Sumi, from the Japanese word for ‘charcoal’. Indeed, the focus here is on the ancient culinary technique of Robata grilling, originated by Japanese fishermen. The best seats in the house are along the Robata counter to witness Chef Gene Kato’s impressive skills at preparing vegetables, seafood and meat simply, yet expertly, to bring out the flavor of the food. A selection of sushi and both hot and cold appetizers properly round out the offerings.
118 W Grand Ave
Named 14th best restaurant in the world in 2015, Tanta is one of 32 restaurants in 12 countries commanded by superstar chef Gaston Acurio and a stunning outpost in River North area. Authentic Peruvian dishes and beverages are made casual and approachable using locally sourced products with an emphasis on sustainable farming and fishing. The atmosphere is upscale casual with knowledgeable service. Most dishes are small, giving customers the ability to try anything.
1400 W Randolph St
Chef Bill Kim’s Asian restaurant packs flavor bombs into the focused menu of dumplings, rice, noodles and sides. Order at the counter and enjoy the inventive menu at communal tables.
1329 W Chicago Ave
The concise menu at this casual Italian spot features brilliant pastas in full and half portions, plus appetizers, entrees and a limited selection of family-style platters from Three Aces chef Matt Troost. The space is a mashup of reclaimed farmhouse and industrial materials in the former West Town Tavern space.
925 W Randolph St
Upscale Italian grandmother cuisine merges with modern interpretations in a posh supper club space with tufted leather banquettes from the proven team behind Balena & The Bristol. Look for modern representations of old-school concepts like the relish tray, or stick to more traditional pasta with “Sunday gravy,” made from pork neck bones and other hearty meats. The world-class wine menu is curated by Steve Morgan, former sommelier of Alinea, and offers more than 600 varietals from around the world.
432 W Diversey Pkwy
This jewel-box restaurant is a glittering example of Spanish cuisine, with bright, fresh flavors and wines to match. Try the traditional cataplana brimming with cobia collar, clams, and shrimp or fideos, saffron-infused toasted vermicelli with vegetables.
1015 North Rush St
One Off Hospitality’s (Avec, Publican, Big Star, Violet Hour) authentic Italian seafood mecca dishes up beautiful house-made pastas and pristine seafood in the boutique Thompson Hotel. Dessert offerings are also garnering buzz. For those who want just a bite, step inside the companion bar called Salone Nico for a compact menu of bespoke cocktails, coastal wines, and other post-meal delights.
1558 N Milwaukee Ave
Dare to dine on Greek cuisine outside of Greektown? You will be rewarded at Taxim located in Wicker Park. With an emphasis on vegetables, Chef David Schneider browses local farmers markets for inspiration, creating seasonal offerings of inventive Greek dishes. His understanding of ingredients is evident in his vegetable pairings: okra sautéed with garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil and cilantro; or fried heirloom eggplant slices with yogurt sauce. The Greek wine list is updated regularly.
No Frills Authentic Ethnic
BA LE SANDWICH & BAKERY
5014 N Broadway St | 166 W Washington St
773-561-4424 | 312-346-3971
Fresh, authentic, handmade Vietnamese food from a French Pastry School grad. Go to the Uptown branch for the best bánh mì sandwiches in the city on freshly-baked French bread. French influence can also be found in their freshly made desserts – including macarons.
2100 S Archer Ave, 2nd fl.
With Cai’s crystal lights and silk-covered chairs, dim sum in Chinatown gets a glam make-over. Although there are occasional rolling carts, the best approach here is to order off the lengthy dim sum menu of 70 dishes. Blanket the table with bamboo steamers filled with a variety of dumplings, spring rolls, and delectable meats. Beyond the usual Chinese fare: sticky rice with Chinese sausage, silken bean-curd skin stuffed with minced pork, and puffy buns filled with sweet barbecued pork are just a sampling.
3752 W Lawrence Ave
This long-standing Korean-Japanese BBQ restaurant features traditional cuts of meat like kalbi and bulgogi cooked over an open flame grill at your table served with the usual favorite side dishes. Every possible Japanese star from baseball to TV has been in, eaten and signed something at this restaurant. What folks don’t know is there’s also a secret Japanese meat menu that’s not featured (or sometimes hidden in the very back of the menu). If you look for it, you can get prized cuts of cow tongue, wagyu and more.
2501 W Lawrence Ave
This unsuspecting Filipino eatery will transport you on a culinary journey. Offering both traditional and Spanish-inspired fare, Isla Pilipina has a diverse menu. Delve safely into authentic Filipino food with the chicken adobo or pancit dishes. If you’re feeling adventurous, the deep-fried pork belly or mongo, a stew of mung beans, shrimp, tomatoes and watercress, are definite crowd pleasers. BYOB.
901 W Randolph St
Chicago’s favorite old school Italian deli never disappoints. It’s been serving up the classics since 1937: sliced-to-order meats and cheeses piled on Italian bread with all the trimmings. If you’re in the mood for more Italian deli fare, look up Bari Subs & Italian Foods on Grand Ave.
333 E Benten Pl
With 2 locations in Chicago, one in Chinatown and a newer location near the Maggie Daley Plaza, Ming Hin is a solid venue for authentic Chinese entrees as well as the popular dim sum treats. Its menu showcases flavors from Hong Kong, Macau, and as well as dishes from mainland China, and the interior features upscale modern Chinese décor.
The Ramen Rage
The Japanese noodle-soup craze continues in Chicago. Here are must-tries and new entrants.
1571 N Milwaukee Ave
Furious Spoon is purported to be the closest iteration of an authentic ramen-ya in Chicago. Slurp house noodles made personally by Michelin-star chef Shin Thompson while bobbing to the beats of 90’s era hip-hop at this fast casual eatery. Sample tsukemen, which are seasonal for summer – thick, cold noodles served with a warm, reduced ramen dipping sauce, trending now in Tokyo.
HIGH FIVE RAMEN
112 N Green St |
This ramen comes together ala minute, made with 20-hour pork and chicken bone broth infused with miso, sesame, numbing pepper, black garlic oil, nori and dried Japanese chilies. The menu warns of tiered spiciness levels, described as pain followed by euphoria. Sip on sake, Japanese beers and slushy cocktails. Enter this raw subterranean space with just 16 seats through the alley of sister property Green Street Smoked Meats.
1385 N Milwaukee Ave
Ramen and bao, steamed buns, are the focus at this Wicker Park noodle bar. Ramen is heavy on the spice, and classics get spun on their head in fusion combinations like a red pozole-inspired ramen with cilantro, jalapenos and tomato, and a “saltimbocca” bao. Ramen noodles are made in house daily with traditional alkaline salts and egg whites.
213 E Ohio St
Be prepared for a wait at this newly-opened and popular ramen noodle shop. Part of a global chain, Ramen Misoya offers two basic broth styles seasoned with miso and filled with noodles, ground pork, bean sprouts, cabbage, a soft-boiled egg, fried onions and bamboo shoots. Choose add ins like pork, fried shrimp, fried chicken, spicy miso or vegetables. The Tonkotsu version, revered by ramen enthusiasts, also is available. For vegetarians, Vege Miso Ramen combines impressive helpings of seasonal vegetables in a seaweed soup.
WASABI / RAMEN TAKEYA
2115 N Milwaukee Ave | 773-227-8180
819 W Fulton Market | 312-666-7710
www.wasabichicago.com | www.ramentakeya.com
One of few Japanese-owned Japanese restaurants in the city, Wasabi and it’s sister restaurant Ramen Takeya specialize in ramen, and offer izakaya-style small plates and sushi. Wasabi features their 100% Berkshire pork tonkotsu bone broth while Ramen Takeya focuses on the Chicken Paitan broth. Vegans visit for the only animal-free ramen in the city. Wasabi is BYOB. Takeya features a limited drink menu.
Gourmet Fast Casual
24 S Clinton St |312-454-6125
227 E Ontario St | 312-255-1290
953 W Belmont Ave | 773-348-6255
Touting healthy, artisan ingredients and dough made from scratch, this California-based chain is as much about customization as it is about speedy service. The nine signature pizzas put a unique spin on the classics, with pepperoni enhanced by crumbled meatballs and red onion, and barbecue chicken taken to the next level with banana peppers, red onion and gorgonzola. There are also a bevy of meats, veggies, cheeses and sauces for those preferring to build their own pie, along with a half dozen salads to choose from.
GOOD STUFF EATERY
22 S Wabash Ave
Spike Mendelsohn’s Chicago outpost of his DC burger chain featuring natural beef and environmentally-friendly business practices. Try the award-winning Prez Obama Burger with applewood bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese and horseradish mayo. Swap fries for Vidalia onion petals and gussy them up at the condiment bar. Four varieties of wedge salads and inventive milkshakes in flavors like toasted marshmallow, soursop strawberry and red velvet round out the menu.
1732 N Milwaukee Ave
This scaled down version of the celebrated Au Cheval stays true to its name, as the menu offering is limited to a simple hamburger, cheeseburger and fries. But don’t be fooled by the brevity, as this unforgettable burger will not disappoint. For those not patient enough to stand in its sister restaurant Au Cheval’s long lines, this is a viable and affordable alternative for a meal that’s just as memorable.
66 E Ohio Street | 312-667-1701
12 S Michigan Ave | 312-646-6005
This New York-based chain appears to channel a 1950s soda shop, complete with burgers, hot dogs, fries and shakes. Throw in Brooklyn Brewery’s Shakmeister Ale, Frog Leap’s Shack wine, ice cream add-ins from local bakeries and dog biscuits for the fur babies, and it’s evident a new era has begun. To top it off, Shake Shack’s frozen desserts are uniquely created for each location. Now that’s pretty cool in any era.
449 N Clark St
Mexican street food takes center stage at Rick Bayless’ Xoco (pronounced SHO-ko), focusing on eats like authentic tortas (Mexican sandwiches) and house-made ice creams. Through the exposed, interactive nature of the kitchen and counter seating, Xoco is designed to create the feel of purchasing from a street vendor. Don’t miss the drinking chocolates and specialty churros. If you miss it, be sure to check out Rick Bayless’ other QSR, Tortas Frontera, at terminals T1, T3 & T5 inside O’Hare airport.
These teeny hot spots pack a sizeable punch of flavor.
5644 N Clark St
Foodies will appreciate this gourmet food store’s meticulous selection of top notch estate extra virgin olive oils, one of its specialties, hence its moniker. But the down-to-earth displays also feature an impressive cache of olives, vinegars, jams, tapenades, spices, pastas, mustards, honey, chocolates and even linens from around the world. While visiting, take note of the authentic European antiques that range from a Russian-made cash counter and a display case from the Czech Republic housing oils and vinegar.
EASTMAN EGG COMPANY
23 N Wacker Dr | 312-384-1011
500 W Madison St, 2nd Floor | 312-281-6782
Hormone-free and naturally raised ingredients are the focus at Eastman Egg, where breakfast staples like eggs, sausages and bacon are built into gourmet sandwiches, bowls and sliders. Variations with wilted spinach, toasted chili mayo and soft ciabatta bread make for quick and comforting meals enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee or fresh tea-infused juice. Eastman Egg has two cozy café locations, as well as a food truck that travels throughout the city.
INTERBURBAN CAFÉ & PASTRY SHOP
2008 N Halsted St
Rear, Walk-Up Window, Enter From North Side of Armitage Between Halsted & Dayton
Nearly impossible to find but well worth a trip, this tiny treasure offers freshly made pastries, soups, sandwiches and salads. Christine McCabe, a former Charlie Trotter pastry chef, turns out delightful strawberry vanilla pop tarts, morning buns, and various other baked goods. Seek out this tiny walk-up spot with a takeout window in the ally off Armitage near Halsted in the Lincoln Park/DePaul neighborhood.
1512 N Wells St
This popular specialty shop has the freshest dried herbs and freshly ground spices available, both of which elevate flavors in the kitchens of chefs and home cooks. Go for the scintillating aromas throughout the store, candied ginger, and custom house-blended spices.
Tried & True
20 W Kinzie St
Bringing an elevated and innovative approach to seafood, this elegant eatery combines what one might expect from a restaurant of this type with the unexpected. Dishes such as sautéed whitefish in lemon butter and seared Bigeye tuna with caviar and peppercorn sauce will appeal to the traditionalists, while the more adventuresome will be drawn to Greece’s dorade and branzino fish varieties. Whole fish designed for sharing and a four-course prix fixe elevation menu, complete with champagne and wine pairings, provide added opportunities to experience the bounties of the sea.
300 W Hubbard St
This reliable favorite features rustic, Tuscan-inspired Italian fare on a seasonal menu, where both traditional ingredients and contemporary techniques shine. Expect an all-Italian wine list and a great atmosphere- provided by the converted loft space with exposed timbers offset by white-linen tables. Defines rustic meets fine-dining.
900 N Franklin St
This old favorite, one of the first bistros to hit Chicago, brings a homey, French country atmosphere to the dining experience. Here you will find considerable flair added to bistro classics, from daily fish specials to duck confit to escargots; but you’ll also find other rustic choices like lamb stew loaded with vegetables. Save room for the crème brûlée.
937 N Rush St
A fine dining setting serving classic French Vietnamese food. The bar upstairs is a great meet and greet spot, but ask for a table by the window to assure a fabulous street scene. Expect great service, along with a very romantic setting. The steamed fish and other vegetable dishes, like grilled eggplant in a spicy basil lime sauce or steamed okra in a ginger lime sauce, steal the show.
2610 N Cannon Dr
A recent James Beard Award nominee, North Pond derives its seasonal inspiration from the local market and farms. Special attention is given to the ingredients in its six main courses, among them the olive oil-poached black bass filet with green asparagus, saffron handkerchief pasta, Meyer lemon, yogurt, capers and honey lemon broth, as well as the grilled whey leg of lamb that includes braised meat tortelloni, fava beans, fennel, hedgehog mushrooms, shaved feta and candied seeds. Open at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday and for Sunday brunch. Business casual attire is requested.
464 N Halsted St
Sheltered from the busy street and accompanied by gorgeous landscaping and heaters, Piccolo Sogno has the best outdoor patio in Chicago. Piccolo offers the complete Italian experience through it décor and its wide range of dishes from multiple regions in Italy. Selections include rustic homemade pasta, skillfully prepared fish and meats, as well as hearth-baked pizzas. The Italian wine list is extraordinary; ask Ciró (chee ro’) for recommendations.
837 W Fulton Market
An eclectic menu inspired by simple farmhouse fare, this European beer hall is the perfect backdrop to the unadorned beef heart tartare, country ribs and signature Farm Chicken accompanied by both fresh and pickled vegetables. Be prepared to sit side by side with other diners at a large communal table in a style reminiscent of 16th century European banquets. It’s hard not to be impressed by The Publican’s broad and descriptive beer, wine and spirit listings. Note that reservations are highly recommended.
PIZZERIA DA NELLA
1443 W Fullerton Ave
This pizzeria feels like you’ve entered a café in Naples. Nella, the restaurant’s namesake, and her family are cranking out Italian favorites – like burrata served with prosciutto di Parma and toasty bruschetta, and fresh seafood antipasti. If you want something hearty, their wood-fired pizzas are cooked until blistered and chewy. Try the fiery diavola, topped with red pepper flakes, basil, olive oil, and spicy salami. Buon appetito!
THE PURPLE PIG
500 N Michigan Ave
Nose-to-tail shared plates highlight the menu at this Mediterranean hot spot, including balsamic braised pig’s tails, veal mortadella, and sheep’s milk ricotta with pork neckbone gravy. Vibrant vegetables and fish dishes are perfectly balanced with acid while wines are emphasized through the accessible selection of European vinos served by the glass, bottle or quartino. The upscale casual atmosphere is convivial with long communal tables and late-night hours.
43 E Ohio St
Celebrity Chef Mario Batali and restaurateur Joseph Bastianich’s most successful Italian food emporium still draws record crowds in downtown Chicago. Spanning an entire city block, it houses 23 food concepts – nearly a dozen of them restaurants – including a brewery, soft serve gelateria, mozzarella bar, bakery, Neapolitan pizzeria, and more, including several retail departments and fine dining restaurant, Baffo.
108 N State St, 3rd Floor
Latinicity aims to be the next food galleria of Latin American cuisine. This sprawling, modern food hall features a variety of south of the border cuisines and cocktails. With little space given to retail, this is a place dedicated to eating. Tortas, Latin-inspired sushi, grilled meats, seafood and burgers are all offered here at a relatively affordable price point. Latinicity is still gaining traction and might be worth taking a look at a new take on an old concept.
116 N Aberdeen St
With a constantly changing menu on wheels, this is a meet-up spot for food trucks in the West Loop. It has all the excitement of street food but with indoor seating. This is also the permanent parking spot for The Garage founders, The Salsa Truck.
GREEN CITY MARKET
1817 N Clark St | 773-880-1266
801 W Fulton Market
Saturday and Wednesday farmer’s market featuring fresh, locally-grown, sustainably-raised foodstuffs, with biweekly chef demos. Aimed at connecting farmers with urban shoppers, chefs, and restaurateurs. There are now two markets: one market at the south end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton Drive and a newer, smaller one is in Fulton Market.
BAVETTES BAR & BOEF
218 W Kinzie St
Touted as one of the city’s top steakhouses, this Jazz-inspired speakeasy is a contradiction to the traditional formality expected in restaurants of this type. The steak offerings, including wet- and dry-aged ribeye in addition to three versions of filet mignon, are a carnivore’s dream. Butcher’s Cuts of roasted bone marrow, beef tongue and steak frites help round out the menu, as do traditional entrees like meat loaf and broiled salmon. As if that wasn’t enough to stimulate discriminating palates, Bavettes also serves up seafood towers and oysters from both coasts.
CHICAGO CUT STEAKHOUSE
300 N LaSalle St
A high-quality steakhouse with innovative amenities, such as a wine list app for paramount accessibility and a 100-seat outdoor patio overlooking the Chicago River. Premium seafood and prime dry-aged beef, some in double cuts, are complemented by revered local chef Jackie Shen’s (ex Red Light) vast culinary skills. Be sure to save room for the chef’s signature chocolate dessert.
GIRL AND THE GOAT
809 W Randolph St
Focusing on local ingredients and global flavors, this shared-plates hot spot was created by Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard. Goat-centric menu items include smoked goat pizza with tart cherry sofrito or grilled shrimp with spicy goat and kohlrabi kimchee, but there’s plenty of other meat, fish, and vegetable dishes that change seasonally to please every palate. Be sure to try the signature wood oven roasted pig face with tamarind, potato stix, and a sunny side egg.
GRANGE HALL BURGER BAR
844 W Randolph St
This farm-to-table hamburger house behind a barn front door in the West Loop is serving up meat and veggie patties on house-made buns. Choose from veggie and bean protein, grass-fed beef, or free-range turkey, and a variety of cheeses and toppings. Be sure to check out the pie safe and cocktail-inspired milk shakes. American beers, cocktails, and rotating wine selection for those who imbibe.
GREEN STREET SMOKED MEATS
112 N Green St
Unlike most barbeque joints that shine in only a few categories, everything on the menu at Green Street is worth ordering. From Texas renditions of beef and pork ribs, decadent sliced brisket, pulled pork and smoked salmon, Brendan Sodikoff (Au Cheval, Bavette’s, Cocello) has carefully thought through every detail when developing his menu in this reclaimed warehouse space with communal picnic tables. Go early and order luscious Q by the half pound at the counter.
PUBLICAN QUALITY MEATS
825 W Fulton Market
Paul Kahan (Publican, Blackbird, Avec, Big Star) has taken the meat market concept to a new level. This market/café is a chef-driven establishment, located across the street from Publican restaurant. Meat cases situated along the east wall display grass-fed beef, house-cured charcuterie, free-range chicken, and Berkshire pork from local sources. House-made condiments and other specialty items line the white-tiled wall, while freshly baked breads are stacked in nearby baskets. Beer is the beverage of choice to accompany meat-centric sandwiches such as mortadella on griddled rye with peach mostarda or braised pork belly on flatbread with gyro-style accompaniments.
SWIFT & SONS
1000 W Fulton Market
Recently nominated for a James Beard award, you’ll find this already popular American steakhouse located inside the brand new Google Building. Top notch cuts of steak include Australia and Chile-sourced Wagyu beef, as well as the supreme A5 Strip Loin from Japan. Well-prepared side dishes include potatoes au gratin with country ham and charred carrots with candied walnuts. The interior is intimate and impressive with old-style touches throughout. Look to the sweets section for more on this restaurant’s desserts.
Farm to Fork
The trend continues to flourish in Chicago’s dining scene, where chefs bring fresh, locally-grown ingredients (sometimes grown right above your head) to the table in inventive ways.
2545 W Diversey Ave
Located in the Green Exchange Building in the burgeoning Logan Square neighborhood, Arbor takes local seriously. The café, which sits next to an event space and non-profit co-working offices, boasts its own rooftop garden, which provides much of the produce for their kitchen. The restaurant offers a flawless yet affordable “Midwestern omakase” where the chef customizes a 3, 5 or more course menu based on the diners’ desires.
5347 N Clark St
The cuisine here is an advancement of southern cooking, and uses heirloom, organic produce and pasture-raised proteins along with sustainable seafood to create stellar comfort food dishes. Descriptors like antebellum grits and heritage sea island peas begin to tell the story of each dish. Chef Paul will expound upon the historical roots of his ingredients to interested parties. The dining room is simple and bright with friendly service. Complimentary beignets are a highlight during weekend brunch.
228 W Chicago Ave
Forget farm to table, this farm-to-tavern eatery keeps it simple and seasonal with dishes like Rushing Waters Rainbow Trout, Smoked Pork Tenderloin and Dry Aged Grass Fed Burgers. But it’s the 28 craft beers and Michigan wines on tap that bring the Midwestern vibe to the next level. The décor also pays homage to Chicago history, with remnants that include furniture from a south side factory. Ask the bartender to point out the many reclaimed pieces from famous and infamous Chicago bars.
Approximately 25 downtown kiosk locations; including the following:
627 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60661 inside the 7-Eleven
108 N State St, Chicago, IL 60602 in pedway near red line CTA station
121 W Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
600 W Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60654
This unique farm-to-finger concept aims to bring a fast casual experience to vending machines. With the push of a few buttons, you’ll receive a clear, plastic “mason jar” containing your fresh salad, fresh squeezed juice or snack, each prepared fresh and delivered each morning. Afternoon purchases often come at a discount to keep the fresh perception strong. Farmers Fridge takes quick service and healthy food to a new dimension.
2537 N Kedzie Blvd
Tucked in the up-and-coming Logan Square neighborhood, Lula Café brings farm fresh ingredients to their thoughtfully prepared menu. Surrounded by urban eclectic décor, diners can enjoy unconventional flavor combinations like bucatini with feta, cinnamon, toasted garlic and brown butter, or a hearty chickpea and sweet potato tagine with green harissa. The chef is particularly proud of serving adventurous fare for vegetarians, including a six course nightly tasting menu, although sustainable seafood and meats are also available.
1800 N Lincoln Ave
This modern, farm-to-fork restaurant has reinvented itself, bringing fresh, local ingredients to the table. Chicagoans go here to enjoy boozy brunches and intimate dinners that feature American favorites done with a Perennial Virant twist. An indulgent PV Omelet combines shaved pork, fresh chevre, seasonal in-season vegetables and basil pesto.
316 N Clark St
A farm-to-table bistro with a haute rustic vibe, The Kitchen’s dishes emphasize ingredients sourced in the Midwest. Among the unique creations is yogurt-marinated Cornish hen atop flageolet beans flavored with Tuscan soffrito and basil and pan-seared Lake Superior whitefish with beluga lentils and sautéed greens. Enjoy a view of the Chicago River while indulging in one of the city’s most extensive seafood bars filled with lobster, oysters, smoked mussels and more. On Mondays at 7 p.m., a prix-fixe four-course dinner is served family-style at a communal table.
Beer breweries are here to stay in Chicago after a sharp decline since Prohibition and into the late 1980’s. These Chicago-owned craft breweries are expanding a typical beer drinker’s palate and elevating drinking experiences to a new level.
FORBIDDEN ROOT BREWPUB
1746 W Chicago Ave
The city’s first botanical brewery, beers here are crafted from barks, stems, blossoms, saps, herbs, spices, leaves, bark, flowers, honey and roots. Choose from a limited yet unique and thoughtful selection of bar snacks, such as Gochugarou Popcorn and lamb jerky; small and large plates ranging from fried giardiniere to duck breast aged for 12 days; or share a cheese plate filled with some of the best artisan creations the Midwest has to offer.
GOOSE ISLAND CLYBOURN
1800 N Clybourn Ave
This well-known brewpub’s primary location has been creating its ales and lagers, including the famous Bourbon County Stout, since 1988. Yet, many Goose Island enthusiasts are not aware that, along with more than 25 draughts and seasonal beers, the brewery serves up authentic pub classics like fish and chips, poutine, burgers, wings and a Create Your Own Cheese and Meat Board for one to three people. For those inspired by the tasty brews, brewery tours and tastings are available Saturday and Sunday afternoons for $10 per person.
4257 N Lincoln Ave
Crafting American micro beers with a raw intensity utilizing brewing materials and a natural process, Half Acre’s original location includes a brewhouse, tap room, full kitchen and retail shop. Come for the beer, whether it be an IPA, lager or exotic brew, and stay for the gourmet-inspired burritos ranging from chicken noodle to goat picadillo. Groups looking for innovative fare to share will appreciate the varied selection of the tried and true nachos and hush puppies to the more decadent salmon rillettes and yuzu-glazed pork belly.
1102 W Webster Ave
The brewery’s skull and crossbones motif and blasting heavy metal music signal this is a place for those looking to tap into their inner headbanger. The theme extends to the craft brews, with 28 on tap and 94 bottles appropriately named Off Color Fierce, Jester King Funk Metal and Exorcist, among the selections. A New Orleans-inspired menu of Po Boys, crab cakes, jambalaya and muffaletta, serves up the best of the Bayou. Other options include extensive taco selections and Appetizers for Destruction ranging from creole wings to blue crab quesadillas.
OFF COLOR BREWING
3925 W Dickens Ave
Sans a tap room, bar and phone number, this craft draft and bottle shop’s innovative brews are sought after by a growing number of beer aficionados. Toss back Troublesome, a wheat beer combined with an overly acidic brew fermented with lactobacillus, or delight in the dry finish and fruity bite of Apex Predator, a farmhouse ale. At Off Color, it’s more about the quality than the quantity, though it’s worth taking advantage of the limited time offers and collaborative craft brews, when available.
2323 N Milwaukee Ave
Illinois’ largest craft brewery, Revolution consists of a brewers lounge, production brewery and tap room to showcase the 50 different beer styles produced here each year. The rotation of what’s on tap varies and may include Anti-Hero IPA, described as an American hop assault or Cross of Gold, a crisp, golden ale with a delicate hop finish. The passion for perfection extends to its plates, where local seasonal ingredients are the highlight of sandwiches, salads, pizza and entrees such as lamb shank pasta and trout stuffed with bacon and shrimp.
1815 W Berteau Ave
One of Chicago’s top nanobreweries, beer is all that is here and Spiteful takes its brews seriously. Offerings are categorized by Staples, Hoppy Beers, Porters and Stouts, God Damns, Belgian and German, Big Beers, Seasonal Beers, and Gruit. Always present are Spiteful IPA, Working for the Weekend Double IPA, Alley Time pale ale and God Damn Pigeon Porter. Located purposefully next door to Half Acre’s brewery, Spiteful distinguishes its offerings by also providing canned versions of its brews.
For night owls looking to grab a bite or a night cap, there are a number of options worth checking out.
19 E Ohio St
Located inside the Freehand Hotel, this restaurant’s offerings are a departure from standard hotel fare. Think handcrafted cocktails paired with a street-food inspired menu. The drinks are the star of this show, segregated into Chicago Inspired, Broken Shaker Hits, Old School and With a Little Help from My Friends. Though entrees are more minimal, the burgers, charcuterie, mojo roasted pork loin and seared Spanish octopus provide a unique alternative to the traditional nachos, buffalo shrimp and chicken wings. Beer and wine also are outnumbered by the cocktails, sherries and shaker favorites.
Inside the Green Door Tavern Restaurant
678 N Orleans St
If you need super secret spot with good drinks, look no further than here. Wait, actually, you may have to keep looking. In the fashion of Speakeasies from the Prohibition-era, venture to the historic Green Door Tavern restaurant, and tell the bartender that you want to go to “The Drifter”. He or she will give you instructions to venture down the maze-like hallway towards the bathroom to find a hidden door along the way. Behind the hidden door will be one of Chicago’s few gems modeled after a real speakeasy. Enjoy while you can because your time may be limited there.
Chicago Athletic Association
12 S Michigan Ave
Reservations are required for this exclusive and pricey eight-seat microbar, located inside the historic Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. Cocktail connoisseurs will delight in the classic cocktails showcasing not only extremely rare and vintage spirits, but also difficult-to-find ingredients. A limited menu of shared plates also is offered. Advance tickets through the Tock ticketing system are available for $50 each, which is applied to the drink tab. This designates a seating time that will be limited.
THE NORTHMAN CIDER BAR
4337 N Lincoln Ave
The city’s first cider bar, The Northman has more than 18 ciders on draft and 80-plus by the can and bottle. What’s unique about this pour is its length. Using a popular method from Spain, the cider is sent through the air in a thin stream while being poured, which is meant to aerate the beverage for a more intense flavor. Not a cider fan? Check out one of the city’s largest selections of calvados, a French apple brandy. A selection of beer and spirits also are available here.
THE VIOLET HOUR
1520 N Damen Ave
One of the first things people notice at this high-end lounge is its rules, which include no cell phone use and proper attire requested. The cocktail listing also is prominent, touting creative descriptives like Juliet and Romeo made with Beefeater, lime, mint, cucumber and rose water, and Which Witch is Which, containing Laird’s apple brandy, Lustau Manzanilla, Strega and orange bitters. Those looking for a bite can choose from a number of traditional appetizers, including a selection of slider varieties, spinach dip and chicken wings.
A Java Journey
Take a break from the mainstay coffee chains and sample Chicago’s unique and signature local roasts. From the delicate to the downright intense, there are plenty of caffeinated adventures to be had in this city.
DARK MATTER COFFEE
Star Lounge Coffee Bar: 738 N Western Ave | 773-697-8472
The Mothership Roastery & Espresso Bar: 2521 W Chicago Avenue | 773-384-7827
Osmium Coffee Bar: 1117 W Belmont Ave | 773-360-7553
This local roaster brought an edginess to the coffee scene and has garnered a cult-like following. On the forefront of trends like boozed-up coffee and bottled cold brew, Dark Matter roasts a wide range of balanced and complex flavors in its beans, all of which are directly sourced from plant to cup. Limited edition roasts come in colorfully illustrated bags, while unique barrel-aged coffees are not to be missed for their intense flavor and extremely limited availability. Try their intense cold brew coffee for an instant buzz, or take home a growler to go.
DOLLOP COFFEE & TEA
345 E Ohio St | 312-929-4007
343 S Dearborn St | 312-846-6103
860 N Dewitt Pl | 312-600-6346
For Metropolis coffee with a side of Hoosier Mama pastries or pies, pop over to one of Dollop Coffee & Tea’s three city locations. Take in the view from the patio, while sipping on this local, fair trade, artisan brew, which is roasted in small batches. Not looking for a java jolt? Tea varieties are in abundance here, as well. Those seeking something more substantial than libations can choose from a variety of sandwiches, including Elvis’ favorite peanut butter and banana.
955 W Randolph St | 312-733-0707
1552 N Damen Ave | 872-829-3681
5158 N Clark St | 773.250-9907
Those seeking Wi Fi are out of luck here, as the focus of this East Coast-based roaster is purely on the coffee. Specialties of the house include drip coffee, espresso drinks and French pastries from the city’s acclaimed Floriole Café & Bakery. Java junkies will appreciate the wide selection of home coffee brewing equipment for sale. Don’t miss this chain’s unique cold brew draft latté line, and be sure to grab a bag of classic, reserve or Columbian coffee to go.
4363 N Lincoln Ave | 773-868-1876
4115 N Ravenswood Ave | 773-883-1864
3601 N Southport Ave | 773-868-1857
This uniquely Italian café, whose only US presence has 3 locations in the city, is one of few full-service cafes where you can grab coffee to-go, pop in for a pastry or sit down for an entire meal. Dark, robust notes are central to their coffee blends, perfect for pairing with decadent Black Forest Cake made with Kirsch mousse and brandied cherries. Live music from classical harp to edgy, soulful rock can be heard on the weekends.
112 N Green St
The first U.S. outpost of this unique coffee shop is a collaboration between award-winning Japanese latte artist, Hiroshi Sawada, and Hogsalt Hospitality’s Brendan Sodikoff. The tight menu focuses on impeccably crafted espresso drinks, inventive boozy steamers and a selection of donuts from Doughnut Vault. Go for their show-stealing Military Latte, which features a rich combination of matcha, espresso, cocoa powder and white chocolate topped with intricate latte art. Know the address before you go – the front door is artfully hidden by graffiti.
Sweet Spots & Eats
Celebrating delectable desserts at the restaurant or on their own.
1639 S Wabash Ave
One of the most celebrated pastry chefs in the city, Mari Katsumara is known for both the unexpected flavors and beauty of her innovative creations. The daughter of legendary chef Yoshi Katsumara will start the journey with pre-desserts like Grapefruit, which combines the tart fruit with candied kumquat, marshmallow and fennel; transcending to Avocado, featuring an avocado shell sprinkled with Kyoto coffee and housing flavors of vanilla and basil; culminating into Japanese Cheesecake, made with Anjou pear sherbet, buckwheat graham, almond crunch and honey. Buckle up for the ride!
4610 N Western Ave
The original founders of Bang Bang Pie sold their interest to open this new bakery in Lincoln Square, where they mill their own flour for bread, pastry, pie, and to sell by the pound. Baked goods are available until they’re sold out, along with a limited all-day breakfast menu, including house-cut grain bowls with veggies, meat-filled hand pies, and corned beef with grits.
BANG BANG PIE
2051 N California Ave
This former food truck has turned brick and mortar in the heart of Logan Square. Enjoy a seasonal slice of pie or big fluffy biscuits with house made jam and butters, and wash it all down with small-batch roasted coffee. This quaint neighborhood shop has a rotating menu due to the season or the strike of inspiration. Savory biscuit sandwiches are featured on the weekend. Hurry, because they go quickly.
1729 N Halsted St
Boasting many accolades, including six consecutive Michelin stars, Boka’s desserts from pastry chef Meg Galus combine familiar sweets with unusual savories and sours, producing flavors like no others. Mango & Citrus with coconut, earl grey and angel food; Malted Crème Fraîche Ice Cream with pistachio, gianduja and dark chocolate; and Chocolate Stout with butterscotch, black cocoa and rye come alive even more when paired with one of the many dessert wines and rare teas available. This is a meal topper that shouldn’t be missed.
2152 N Damen Ave
Taking sweet comfort food to a whole new level, chef Celeste Zeccola’s dessert creations span from the delectable Basque cake with citron jams, candied almonds and crème fraîche ice cream to the appealing nutter butters peanut butter cookies married with chocolate and caramel crèmeux. Pair this with an inventive after dinner cocktail, one of the many coffee creations available or The Bristol’s thoughtful tea offerings to make these treats even more memorable.
FLORIOLE CAFÉ & BAKERY
1220 W Webster Ave
No longer the best kept secret in town, Floriole offers breads, breakfast pastries, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads, tarts, teacakes, and cookies. Bakers use organic ingredients from local farmers whenever possible, courtesy of the bakery’s roots in the famous Green City Market. Depending on availability of seasonal ingredients and creative whim of the bakers, menu items change frequently. Don’t miss the Kouign-amann, the flakiest, most decadent cinnamon pastry on the planet, or their dreamy quiche – tall, indulgent, and baked into a perfect custard.
259 E Erie Street, 18th Floor
Making a big splash with just four desserts, pastry chef Ji Hyun Yoon’s creative combinations offer widespread appeal. Choices range from the fruity Mango-Calamansi Curd with Matcha Milk Jam, pistachio and St. Germain Sorbet along with the Rhubarb Crip with cinnamon oat crumble and Tahitian vanilla ice cream to the sweet/savory combo of the Root Beer Panna Cotta with gingersnap, apple, and parsnip ice cream. Chocoholics will appreciate the dark chocolate mousse topped with coffee cream, banana caramel and rum raisin ice cream.
MINDY’S HOT CHOCOLATE
1747 N Damen Ave
Local and seasonal comfort food cafe from Mindy Segal, celebrated for her pastry-chef beginnings at MK, Marché, Charlie Trotter’s, and Spago. Famous for its sweets including nine varieties of hot chocolate, each topped with house-made marshmallows, Chef Segal also offers up composed savory dishes, like grilled octopus with bone marrow vinaigrette and a bacon pork chop topped with rhubarb chermoula. Concluding with dessert is a must, from fruit pies, to ice cream, and delightful milk & cookies.
1015 North Rush St
Modern Mediterranean hot spot, Nico Osteria, has consistently garnered accolades due to pastry chef Leigh Omilinsky’s deft hand at dessert. Taking the time-honored Italian tradition of not-so-sweet desserts to the next level, Omilinsky creates sophisticated flavor combinations like Meyer lemon panna cotta with grapefruit agrodolce, Campari granita and basil, as well as sourdough bombolini with butter braised pineapple and black pepper graham cracker gelato. Her ever-changing pastry basket at breakfast is also getting raves.
123 N Jefferson St
Pastry chef Cindy Shuman’s sweet treats, while absolutely indulgent, provide unique twists and turns along the way. Some of the simply scrumptious offerings are the pear ginger rum tart with ginger snaps, crème fraîche ice cream and maple pear coulis along with the chocolate shortbread with chocolate custard, marshmallow, salted caramel and peanut. For those with a more adventurous sweet tooth, check out the olive oil cake with blood orange ice cream, a semolina crisp and rosemary or the flavorful cinnamon raspberry semi-freddo with chocolate and pistachio sable.
SWIFT & SONS
1000 W Fulton Market
With four Jean Banchet nominations from her time at NoMI, pastry chef Meg Galus is the perfect partner at the helm Boka group’s dessert program. Galus’ handiwork can be seen in her mastery of gelato and playful deconstructed classics such as Boston cream pie. Top off a night of indulgence by delving through the layers of chocolate in the black bottom pudding, or make your selection from the roving cart filled with bite-sized chocolates and candies.