Food & Drink

Who were Chi's culinary Rated Rookies?

Milli Vanilli once won a Grammy for Best New Artist, but these favorite new Chi restaurants from 2012 are certain to have a better fate. Girl, you know it's true. Ooh. Ooh. Ooh..

Jared Van Camp, Executive Chef, Nellcote"Yusho is definitely one of my favorite new spots of the year, Matthias Merges' take on Japanese-inspired cuisine is refreshing and comforting at the same time. Even though his menu changes all the time, I usually head to Yusho after work, and the chicken skin skewers are one of my favorite things to enjoy. "

Audarshia Townsend, 312 Dining Diva"As a hardcore cocktail enthusiast, I was pretty elated to see Chicago step up its game when it came to the cocktail scene. My favorite new spots to imbibe were Balena, Bavette's, Untitled."

Brad Rubin, Owner, Eleven City Diner"Belly Q for sure. Big space for them but Bill and Yvonne (Kim) delivered a warm fun energy and spot on food. Of course Donny and Paul delivered big time with PQM. Brilliant addition to Chicago. Antique Taco…..the little taco joint that could! Great place, hard working duo putting out delish stuff. And love, love the Hotel Lincoln.

Attila Gyulai, Director of Operations, Embeya"Only have been having brunch lately since I'm at Embeya every night, so brunch at Trencherman, GT Fish & Oyster, and at G.E.B.

Charlie McKenna, Chef/Owner, Lillie's Q"Even though Yusho opened last December, it’s my favorite spot of 2012. It’s the only restaurant I’ve been to in the past year more than twice. Beautiful interior, great cocktails, and pitch-perfect food. Matt Merges is the man. I also really dug el Bulli at Next, Trenchermen, Andy’s Thai Kitchen, and Balena. You won’t find a better guy in the industry than Balena/The Bristol exec chef Chris Pandel.

Kevin Hickey, Executive Chef, Allium"Belly Q. Bill Kim is without a doubt one of my favorite chefs in the city. There are so many dishes on that menu that I love. I think the fried chicken is probably my favorite." Tony Mantuano, Chef/Owner, Spiaggia"House of Glunz -- you have to love a place that re-opened after 90 years of being shut down due to Prohibition. They serve old-school food, great wines, and it will be one of my new neighborhood spots. Also Slurping Turtle, I love the authenticity of the food and just about everything Takashi does there. It’s a fun atmosphere with a great soundtrack. It’s also my wife Cathy’s favorite restaurant. And Embeya. We love Thai food and really enjoy this fresh look at the cuisine. It’s something new and different for Chicago."