It's Worth Getting Sloppy For This Grilled Cheese Taco
This highly anticipated fine-dining concept finally arrived in West Town, and brought with it a unique, 10-course tasting menu sure to shock and delight. The minimalist modern digs are sleek and seat just 20 adventurous diners. The opening menu showcases squab-liver mousse prepared with parsnip, nori, and clove, sunflower in five forms, tandoori spiced rabbit, and more, all of which can be teamed with a thoughtfully selected series of wine pairings.
The guys behind DonerMen, the popular doner kebab-slinging food truck and annual Christkindlmarket vendor, opened a kitschy brick and mortar spot that comes complete with exposed brick, artsy murals, and a smattering of Dungeons & Dragons accoutrements. Go for the popular doner box, curry wurst, and poutine, then stay for the craft brews, which run the gamut from Indiana's 3 Floyds Brewing Co. to Chicago's own Off Color Brewing.
Following the brief but wildly successful life span of her microbakery, Michelin-starred chef Iliana Regan, of Elizabeth renown, is back in the ring with her latest venture: a restaurant and pub that blends Midwest-sourced ingredients and sensibilities with home-style Japanese cuisine, all with a root-to-leaf, head-to-tail ethos. The sharing-focused menu will change frequently, but expect small plates like wild rice and koji porridge bread with cultured butter and shredded winter vegetables with dried squid, and larger plates that span from 5oz of A5 Miyazaki Prefecture wagyu with hondashi and house miso to tonkotsu ramen made with egg, pork belly, house chili sauce, and green onion.
If your resolutions for 2017 included expanding your dining horizons, look no further than this warm and inviting spot in Lakeview, which has rightfully earned bragging rights as Chicago's first Kurdish restaurant. Delightfully spicy dishes featuring lamb, eggplant, chicken, and yogurt abound, as well as brunch-ready eats like Kurdish baklawa crepes made with pastry dough, goat cheese, black figs, nuts, and honey.
With its vintage aesthetic consisting of badminton racquets and black-and-white photos of historical athletic figures, this sports club sets the bar high for Logan Square's perennially cool dining and drinking scene. On top of the farm-to-table menu and craft drinks, there’s a 6,000sqft patio that features a fire pit for s'mores, bocce courts, and an outdoor bar that operates out of an aluminum camper.
Chicago's infatuation with fast-casual seafood restaurants rages on with this new concept within the old Peasantry space. Score Creole-style seafood by the pound with your choice of flavor (lemon pepper, garlic, cajun, curry, or Captain's mix), heat level, and add-ons (corn, sausage, or potatoes), as well as fried-food baskets, snacks like garlic edamame, po-boys, and funnel cake for dessert.
This coffee shop has swiftly taken over the former Belly Shack place near the CTA Western Blue Line Stop, and is the third outpost for the brand. Here, cheekily named sandwiches like the porcine "Reservoir Hog" (bacon, sausage, ham, egg, and cheddar on a Sriracha bagel with cream cheese) and "The Cure" (chorizo and sirloin blend patty, bacon, fried egg, avocado, chipotle mayo, jalapeño, lettuce, tomato, and red onion on a pretzel bun) pair with the shop's signature pour-over coffees for the ultimate pick-me-up.
1. Temporis933 N Ashland Ave, Chicago
2. DMen Tap2849A W Belmont Ave, Chicago
3. Kitsune Restaurant and Pub4229 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
4. Elizabeth4835 N Western Ave, Chicago
5. Gundis Kurdish Kitchen2909 N Clark St, Chicago
6. Park & Field3509 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago
7. Captain's Catch2723 N Clark St, Chicago
8. Hero Coffee Bar1912 N Western Ave, Chicago
West Town's Temporis serves one multi-course prix fix menu each night, meaning the only decision you’ll have to make is what to drink (suggested wine pairings, obviously). The daily changing menu features a mix of produce (grown in the on-site hydroponic garden), meat, and seafood. At least one dish will highlight a specific ingredient prepared multiple ways, be it sunflower served in five forms or rabbit three ways. The hyper-modern space is equipped with LED lights that provide a different color and ambiance depending on time and temperature, so if you're able to snag one of the 20 seats for a repeat visit, neither your food nor the dining room will look the same.
Döner lovers and beer drinkers, rejoice! After two years of food trucking, the DönerMen opened DMen Tap, a brick-and-mortar in Avondale where "German Imbiss" (translation: German street food) is still the star. Similar to that of the original mobile kitchen, the menu here features döner in kebab, box, or bowl form, currywursts, and poutine, plus craft beers from regional breweries like Indiana's 3 Floyds Brewing Co. and Chicago's Off Color Brewing. Enjoy it all amid some entertaining Dungeons & Dragons decor.
Two years after Chef Iliana Regan announced her second restaurant, the 20-seat Kitsune Restaurant and Pub finally opened in North Center. A mythological red fox with magical powers, Hokkaido, is the restaurant’s namesake, which makes sense because Regan’s menu seemingly also has magical powers. Like her first restaurant, Elizabeth, Kitsune’s cuisine hones in on Regan's Midwestern upbringing via ingredient, and through confounding treatments, reflects Japanese flavor. Local, seasonal ingredients (Regan is a forager, after all) make their way into dishes like house made dashi with winter vegetables and Midwestern “tofu,” a burnt miso vegan ramen with vegetable garnishes, and katsobushi Okonomiyaki. There’s a tasting menu in place, an a la carte menu for those less adventurous, and the pub is late, because it's never not the right time for Regan's magical ramen.
Elizabeth is an unmarked Lincoln Square storefront from forager/hunter/chef Iliana Regan, whose Midwestern farm upbringing is clear throughout her restaurant -- menu and décor alike. While the taxidermy on the walls may be fake, the soul behind her self-labeled “new gatherer” cuisine is real. The focus of her tasting menus is produce with a cameo or two by local proteins, depending on the season. The menus change often but are consistently chock-full of format-flipping dishes and unexpected flavor and texture combinations, like an amaranth-everything bagel cracker with cream cheese espuma, candied Meyer lemon rind, salmon granita, and trout roe (so, like, a bagel and lox… granita). And an open kitchen allows you to watch Regan create her wild, quirky dishes from spot at the communal table.
Chicago's first Kurdish restaurant is serving recipes inspired by the Middle Eastern food the founders grew up eating in their mothers' kitchens. Similar to the cuisines of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, Kurdish food à la Gundis has a Mediterranean touch and emphasizes spice, grease, and bread, aka things that make food taste better. Lamb and eggplant dominates here, and while there are familiar meze plates and kebabs, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone with sac tawa, a traditional Kurdish stir fry made with your choice of beef or lamb. Sweets like baklava and cookies topped with pistachios make a strong case for dessert.
Park & Field is a rare breed: a sports bar that's popular among sports fans and hipsters alike. Modeled after a 1950s gymnasium, the Logan Square bar solidifies its theme with decor like a vintage pommel horse, a scoreboard, and badminton rackets. Of course, hipsters wouldn't flock here if it were a run-of-the-mill sports bar, and it's not: a 6,000sqft patio boasts bocce courts, a fire pit for roasting marshmallows, and a stand-alone camper repurposed as a fully stocked bar.
This Creole seafood shack is known for its customizable shellfish boils: you pick your catch, flavor (options include lemon pepper, Cajun, and curry), heat level, add-ons (corn, potatoes, or sausage) and voila, dinner is served. Though seafood boils are the main event here, fried fish baskets, po-boys, and wings are all on offer. Captain's Catch takes its fried food theme all the way home with state fair favorite funnel cake for dessert.
Bucktown's Hero Coffee Bar marks the third outpost of the hybrid coffee roastery and artisan deli, which means only one thing: Chicago loves sandwiches with coffee as much as it hates ketchup on hot dogs. Service starts in the morning with breakfast sandwiches like the Reservoir Hog (bacon, sausage, ham, egg, Cheddar, and cream cheese on a Sriracha bagel) and continues with lunch-appropriate heros like an Italian combo of prosciutto, capicola, salami, pancetta, and provolone. End your meal with a piping hot pour-over or cold brew -- all made from freshly roasted, top-shelf beans, of course.