Thank You.
Rural Society
American WildBurger
Seven Lions Chicago
Furious Spoon
Good Stuff Eatery
The Drifter Chicago
Sean Cooley/Thrillist
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
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1. Lost Lake 3154 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

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.

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2. Rural Society 455 N. Park Dr, Chicago, IL 60611

Rural Society in Streeterville's Loews Hotel is not a classic, all-American steakhouse but an innovative Argentinian one from former 'Iron Chef' Jose Garces. The Chicago restaurant, which opened following the success of the DC original, is a bonafide meat emporium where South American-sourced cuts of beef (ribeye, bone-in short rib) are cooked on a wood-and-charcoal burning parilla grill. Aside from the stunning steaks, Rural Society serves tapas-like small plates and house-made sausages.

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3. American Wildburger 1550 E Oakton St, Chicago, IL 60018

This Near North outpost of the Des Plaines-based fast-casual burger joint is located in a small storefront near the Division and Halsted intersection. The menu features a selection of signature burgers like the "You’re My Boy Bleu," featuring a naturally raised beef patty, tomato, grilled onions, lettuce, bleu cheese, bacon, and mushrooms on a pretzel bun -- as well as an option to craft your own burger. Not into burgers? It also slings eats like char dogs and a Southwest stuffed avocado.

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4. Formento's 925 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

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.

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5. Seven Lions 130 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

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.

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6. Intro 2300 N Lincoln Park W, Chicago, IL 60614

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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7. Furious Spoon 1571 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

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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8. Good Stuff Eatery 22 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

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.

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9. The Drifter Chicago 678 N. Orleans, Chicago, IL 60654

The Drifter is an intimate basement-level former speakeasy/cocktail bar with eccentric nightly entertainment and a tarot card-inspired cocktail menu. Located below the Green Door Tavern (which was an actual speakeasy during Prohibition), its burlesque shows goes down quick and dirty with no announcement and no advance warning on a small stage that makes it feel like the show is just for you. Members of the Chicago Starlets shake their stuff in between musicians and variety acts amidst charming, vintage décor.

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10. Da Lobsta 416 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

This multi-location, fast-casual lobster roll eatery's BYOB space sports exposed bricks and light fixtures made of upcycled lobster traps, can comfortably seat about 20 people, and offers the chain’s full lineup of classic and traditional lobsta rolls, sandwiches, salads, and mac & cheese. Grab a seat on the small patio when the weather allows.

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11. Presidio 1749 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

This cocktail-focused lounge in the old Bluebird space keeps things California breezy with exposed brick walls, plush couches and chairs, and a West Coast-leaning beverage program. Pick your poison from a selection of CA wines, beers, and cocktails inspired by Bay Area classics such as the Tommy’s Margarita and Pisco Punch. The food menu (crafted by Chef Shaun Connolly) is similarly influenced, with California-grown ingredients like sunchokes, kumquats, and Meyer lemon adding interesting touches to dishes like scallops, wild salmon, and olive oil cake.

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12. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams 1505 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Much like the Southport outpost, the Milwaukee Ave shop offers Jeni's complete lineup of made-from-scratch haute ice creams, frozen yogurts, and ice cream sandwiches, as well as French press Intelligentsia coffee and to-go pints and sandwiches.