ChicagoRestaurant writers showcase their most visited places in 2021 as part of Eater’s continuing tradition of surveying city experts for their year-end catch.
Amy Cavanaugh, Chicago magazine: Sepia. This place has long been one of my favorites, but in the post-vaccination world it has become a beacon of common sense. I drop by the bar regularly for cocktails from Bartender Keith Meicher and recently had the four course prix fixe menu with food and wine pairings. I don’t think the food has ever been better and the wines were also excellent.
Michael Nagrant, michaelnagrant.com: Lee’s Chop Suey has always been the best Cantonese American neighborhood joint in all of Chicago, supplier of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sized egg rolls sealed with peanut butter and stickers so juicy you can bounce them like Zach LaVine kicks a basketball.
Mike Zoller, drinking on the porch: We live in Lincoln Park and can walk to Nori so we were there at least twice a month for sushi. We did quite a few things and then when things opened up we started to eat inside.
Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago Tribune: Flat & Point is not too far from my condo, but proximity does not explain everything. Chef Brian Bruns has managed to keep pushing the menu so every time I visit the food gets better in one way or another. And when that wood-fired grill roars, few rooms in Chicago are so cozy or comfortable.
Brenda Storch, E: Kie-Go-Lanee. The delicious pork garnachas, a sope-like corn pancake topped with cabbage, travel well and are pure magic.
Sarah Spain, ESPN: It was a tie. First up our favorite Thai spot, Silli Kori / Thai Village which is the best we’ve had in town and our favorite weekday delivery. Second, my Goddess & Grocer neighborhood for delicious Garden Goddess wraps up over and over again, sometimes with a side of Thai Corn Chowder.
Janice Scurio, Illustrated sports and Sox on the south side: Beer is food, isn’t it? With so many White Sox games under my belt this year, I’ve found myself at Marz Brewing on Iron Street more often than not, eating sandwiches, pizza – not to mention a special trip for Mom’s burger on which I made stories about last year, on their last day in this space. Bucktown’s new bar, Life on Marz Community Club, is also a fantastic place.
Lillian Stone, take out: I’ve probably consumed at least eight orders of khachapuri from Fiya in Andersonville, but also dropped off a ton of cash at Mr. Henry, who has the best breakfast on the North Side.
Titus Ruscitti, ChiBBQKing: Asian Cuisine Express (tacos al pastor)
Jay Westbrook, local craft beer professional: 11 Degrees North on Belmont and Clark absolutely defies the idea that if you have a large menu, it’s hard to do everything right. Whether it’s Santa Monica’s hearty arepa for breakfast or the Ocean Breeze for a light lunch, there is literally something for everyone on the menu. Let’s not go into detail on how many Sunday mornings their bowl of acai smoothie literally saved my bacon.