Labriola Ristorante
firecakes
taus authentic
intro
furious spoon
tapworks
velvet taco
seven lions
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1. Labriola Ristorante & Café 535 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Streeterville)

This three-pronged Streeterville concept is simultaneously a full-service Italian restaurant, a bar, and a casual bakery café. The resto focuses on handmade pastas, thin crust pizzas, and modern dishes, while the bar features a broad selection of cocktails and plenty of craft beers and wines.

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2. Taus Authentic 1846 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

Chef Michael Taus' Wicker Park eatery is the kind of upscale neighborhood place that draws you in and begs you to stay a while. Everything about Taus, from the menu to the rustic dining room, is inviting. The dinner menu features cheese and charcuterie, shareable starters, and standout comfort plates like fried chicken and a burger with havarti cheese. Sunday brunch is equally heavy on comfort food, serving up steak & eggs and fresh-baked pastries.

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3. Intro 2300 N Lincoln Park W, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

Intro has a roster of "chefs-in-residence" that rotates every few months, bringing a completely new menu, focus, and experience to the table each rotation.

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4. Furious Spoon 1571 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

Shin Thompson's small-but-mighty Furious Spoon in Wicker Park stands well above the rest of Chicago's ramen shops for its bowls of handmade noodle soups. The menu features a few kinds of ramen with suggested toppings, like the house apple chili sauce. The signature Furious Ramen, a soul-warming blend of tonkotsu broth and spicy miso, pairs well with a Surly Furious Beer. The restaurant is sleek and narrow with a minimalist, artsy vibe that fits in perfectly with the trendy neighborhood.

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5. Tapworks 820 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60607 (Greektown)

Have your beer and drink it too at this tavern, which in addition to a brew menu that runs some 100 beers deep (including 48 on tap!), the loft-like space offers suds-infused eats like a Beer Burger smothered in beer cheddar sauce, a pulled pork corn cake with milk stout BBQ sauce, and ice cream with Bock caramel.

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6. Velvet Taco 1110 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610 (Gold Coast)

Slinging more than a dozen modern and traditional varieties, this Texas-based taco shop planted its first non-Texas outpost right in the Viagra Triangle. Try the Indian-inspired crisp tikka chicken (spicy pepper sauce, buttered cilantro basmati rice, raita crema, and Thai basil), the American-inspired bacon burger (served on a flour tortilla, of course), and a side of elote-style rotisserie corn with the famous red-velvet cake for dessert.

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7. Seven Lions 130 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 (Loop)

Elegant yet approachable, this new American clubhouse concept from Master Sommelier Alpana Singh (The Boarding House) is exactly what its Michigan Ave space called for. Chef Chris Curren’s menu is equal parts accessible and inspired, with starters ranging from fried chicken skins and pickles paired with sriracha mustard to Brussels sprout and burrata toast. Entrées run the gamut from comforting short ribs to perfectly flaky black cod with acorn squash, ricotta gnocchi, and Maitake mushrooms. And don't worry, there's alcohol, starting with Singh’s curated list of all-American wines.