In a year of stellar restaurant openings, selecting a top 20 can't be easy, especially when so many headlines were devoted to one restaurant in particular. With that, Chicago released its list of the 20 best new restaurants in the last 20 months and that most-written about spot, Next, did not top the list. Instead, Goosefoot, a small off-the-beaten-path refined BYO prix-fixe restaurant opened by Les Nomades vet Chris Nugent took the No. 1 spot.
Next came in, well, next at No. 2 followed by Tavernita, EL Ideas and Perennial Virant in the top 5. But one of the more interesting trends the Chicago dining editors point out is that not one of the 20 restaurants on the list—from Yusho to Slurping Turtle to Telegraph—lists the traditional "appetizers" or "entrees" on their menus anymore. They're all either small plates or progressive tasting menus. In some cases they'll call them "starters" or "mains," but god forbid entrees or apps. Why? Is it so wrong to want to go to dinner these days and just have a straightforward meal?
In any case, it's a really solid list of restaurants, with only two from the suburbs—Autre Monde in Berwyn and Libertad in Skokie—making the top 20. And it's nice to see very recently opened spots like Au Cheval and Ada Street getting props, too.
Check out Chicago's 20 Best New Restaurants list below, but be sure to click over to their website to see just why each of these made the cut as well as other lists like 8 great bargain spots and 6 super bar bites.
4. EL Ideas
5. Perennial Virant
10. Au Cheval
11. Ada St.
14. Autre Monde
15. Rustic House
16. Slurping Turtle
17. Urban Union
18. Grange Hall Burger Bar
19. Bar Toma
Goosefoot [Photo: Ari Bendersky]