1. Lost Lake3154 W Diversey Ave, Chicago
2. Bascule Wine Bar1421 W Taylor, Chicago
3. Good Stuff Eatery22 S Wabash Ave, Chicago
4. Bangers & Lace810 Grove St, Evanston
5. Formento's925 W Randolph St, Chicago
6. Nonna's Sandwiches and Sundries925 W Randolph St, Chicago
7. Frank Meats Patty3324 N California Ave, Chicago
8. The Commons Club203 N Wabash, Chicago
9. The Betty839 W Fulton Market, Chicago
Chicago Tiki mogul Paul McGee (of Three Dots and a Dash) is behind Lost Lake, a temple to all things Polynesian in Logan Square. The cocktail bar serves rum-soaked classics and originals, including daily daiquiri specials and group punches, in tiki mugs and volcano bowls. Decorated like the original Don's Beachcomber Cafe, Lost Lake is decked out with banana leaf wallpaper and thatched bamboo but doesn't have the kitschy vibe of many tiki bars.
This quaint Taylor Street find brandishes some 135 wines. Despite its location, you’ll find that the wine list spans far beyond just Italian varietals. Pick a bottle that suits your taste and pair it with a BLT3 (pancetta, prosciutto, and applewood smoked bacon) or line-caught yellowfin tuna, encrusted in coriander, splashed with a bouillabaisse vinaigrette, and finished with chickpeas.
Celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn opened this Chicago outpost of his popular East Coast-based burger and shake shop, and it's loaded with favorites from menus at other locations, as well as some new items made with Chicago in mind.
Wicker Park’s beloved sausage and craft beer haven went suburban with this 130-seat Evanston location that’s just as awesome as the original. The space features a rotating list of 32 beers on tap, as well as their much-loved sausages and small plates.
Executive Chef Stephen Wambach heads up this bright and expansive Italian restaurant. His menu keeps things classic, offering quality dishes like a four-cheese tortellini and a prosciutto-wrapped veal filet. The white tablecloths add to the traditional feel of the space, and collect crumbs from Formento's must-try chocolate layer cake. No, really, try it -- it comes with chocolate pudding frosting and hazelnut praline.
Formento's grab-and-go adjacent counterpart serves casual Italian-American dishes like a hearty signature meatball sub. The made-to-order sandwich features gargantuan, house-made meatballs covered in marinara, mozzarella, and giardiniera nestled inside a crusty baguette.
This casual burger joint boasts a secret off-menu duck foie gras sausage burger, stacked with tart cherries and foie mousse. Also of note: duck fat fries that are only be available once a week and a Chicago flag-inspired paint job around the perimeter of the storefront.
The Commons Club is a sprawling restaurant and bar inside the swanky Virgin Hotel. It’s open for breakfast and lunch, but the dinner menu’s eye of the ribeye with a black truffle “tattoo” and a side of bone marrow mac ‘n’ cheese is a can’t-miss.
Right next to The Publican, this neighborhood tavern in West Loop is upscale enough to impress clients but casual enough to take a first date. The dimly lit, rustic space is decorated with vinyl-stacked bookcases and red leather sofas, and something about the retro vibe creates a perfect ambience to drink fancy cocktails and small bites than run the gamut from chicken liver mousse to pierogies. Drinks range in price -- there's 23-year Pappy Van Winkle, but there are also half-price beers when the happy hour time is right.