America's best restaurant city is not retreating from its reputation one iota.
As the clamor for Korean food peaks, Vietnamese breezes onto everyone's must-eat list evolving from steaming bowls of pho to more challenging and impressive items a la cánh gà chiên - fried chicken wings in caramelized fish sauce - like they're lapping up at HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen. Chef/owner, Diana Dávila's Mi Tocaya Antojería begs comparisons to Rick Bayless and Frontera Grill in the elevation of regional Mexican cuisine.
Art lovers will go for the design and dishes at Marisol tucked into the Museum of Contemporary Art. Not the least bit stuffy, there's casual seating with places to drink, dine, or just plug-in and it's is open beyond museum hours. Pastas are as intoxicating as the refreshing cocktails at the tiny Giant and repeat diners can't decide if the hamachi appetizer or the lobster dumplings are the best thing on the menu at S.K.Y.
Innovative cookery is reaching beyond the West Loop and River North environs making Logan Square and Pilsen hotter than Nashville fried chicken invading menus around town. The Gold Coast glistens with Somerset and Truluck's giving the old Viagra Triangle modern class and great food. The best contender for a great American burger this year goes to cozy Maillard Tavern and pizza fans can't get enough of the freshest pie at Bonci.