Best new restaurants in Chicago right now
Chicago, I can't. I return after three years, and you're all grown up. You're also KILLING it. Not only did you beat a world record by opening 24 hotels in three years, you opened dozens of new restaurants that raise the bar for Chicago dining. You also have no plans for slowing down (right on track).
On my recent trip to Chicago, I ate at some of the most notable, new restaurants that are taking the dining scene to a level beyond. I'm writing a feature for Passport magazine (which I'll post when it's published) but, in the meantime, here's a sneak peak at some restaurants that blew me away.
City Mouse. Love the name, love the look, love the vibe, love the food. City Mouse at the new Ace Chicago served up point-on, globally inspired comfort food. It didn't hold back with imagination and it really went in for the kill with flavors. The spaghetti (with calabrian chili, bacon, feta and breadcrumbs) is definitely going to be Scott Conant level one day. It's fun and cheese-gooey and rich. Jason Vincent (from Team Giant in Logan Square) really nailed it.
Margeaux. Michael Mina's new Margeaux Brasserie at Waldorf Astoria opened literally two weeks prior to my visit. Interestingly, I reunited with my friend Bre. The last time we saw each other was in Hawaii at a Michael Mina dinner event. Fate? The upscale French brasserie is handsome and posh, and our brunch was all about the French Toast.
Publikan Anker. Hip, casual and a magnet to the cool crowd, Publikan Anker in Wicker Park was one of my favorites. It's the type of place you know there's no amateurs in the kitchen, and how many photos did we take, you ask? It's definitely a looker. Also, two words: fried chicken. Two more words: GO now.
Torali. Ritz Carlton Chicago recently debuted (literally, a month ago) a new 12th floor lobby space, which is drenched in sunlight and beautifully designed. You basically want to hang here all day. The restaurant, Torali, is just getting into its groove (also brand new) with refined Italian fare. The service is on point. You know those places where you ask for a drink, look at your phone for ten seconds, and the drink is literally in front of you? THAT kind of service.