New Chicago kitchens topping the must-visit lists

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. 

Ukranian Village


Alan Ginsburg and Jack Kerouac won't be rolling over in their graves but rather rolling something to help enhance the heady visuals and vegetables at Beatnik. With antique pieces from around the world, Moroccan tiles, endless candles and...  Read More



Pizzaiolo Gabriele Bonci chose Chicago as his first pizzeria location outside of Italy and the throngs are loving his Roman-style pizza cut with scissors and sold by weight. Bonci offers only fresh, natural ingredients primarily imported from...  Read More



We love our lake perch but where can fin-atics get ocean morsels sure to be fresh and memorable? Truluck's Seafood, Steak & Crab House brings fresh, sustainable seafood including stone crab delivered from their own Florida traps to guests...  Read More



Boka Restaurant Group's Somerset, adjacent to The Viceroy Hotel, offers design that aims to pay homage to American country club culture (which complements a neighborhood called the the Gold Coast, but it sounds more one percenty than it actually...  Read More



No doubt Chef/Owner Stephen Gillanders adores his wife, Seon Kyung Yuk so that he named his Pilsen restaurant S.K.Y. One visit to the culinary alchemist's venue and you'll know that he loves Chicago, too. Chef, who previously dazzled for years...  Read More



Owners Thai and Danielle Dang impressed Chicago a few years ago when working at Embeya and they are outdoing themselves at their own HaiSous (which translates to "two pennies.") HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen sufficiently roused the James Beard...  Read More



Chef Jason Hammel enchanted the city with Logan Square's Lula Cafe and now Marisol is his bully pulpit and the culinary congregation is singing his praises yet again. The new restaurant in the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago re-imagines...  Read More



The food is the star at Giant, playing to a packed house every night. Chefs Jason Vincent and Ben Lustbader (ex-Nightwood guys) helm the kitchen at the intimate 44-seat restaurant. Items on the robust, modern menu are prepared skillfully and...  Read More



Thank the culinary gods that it's not all about cauliflower steaks and caviar service. Courtesy of Tony Priolo and Ciro Longobardo (Piccolo Sogno, Nonnina) Maillard Tavern satisfies the very necessary craving for comfort food. Among the...  Read More



Now that nearly every restaurant has added tacos to its menu of kale, Brussels sprouts, pork belly and a fried egg topped burger, it's time to separate the authentic from the posers. Welcome to Mi Tocaya Antojería in the culinarily sizzling...  Read More


Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky