As we put a cap on 2013, Eater surveyed a group of critics, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them eight questions: from Top Standbys to Top Newcomers, from Best Meals to Restaurants Broken Up With. All answers will be revealed—cut, pasted, unedited and unadulterated—by the time we pop the cork on 2014.
The West Loop continued to shine [Photo: Grace]
Q: What was the best dining neighborhood in Chicago in 2013?
Mike Gebert, The Reader/Serious Eats: I've said Chinatown before because I thought at least one person should not say "Logan Square," but it really did shine this year with exciting new Chinese places and at least tentative steps into Vietnamese and Thai. Chinatown, the next Randolph Street.
Nick Kindelsperger, Serious Eats: If you have money to burn, the West Loop is there for you. Otherwise, the number of exceptional restaurants in Logan Square is incredible.
Amy Cavanaugh, Time Out Chicago: River North's dining scene took a big step forward. Three Dots and a Dash and Berkshire Room joined Sable to seriously up the neighborhood's cocktail cred, while Tanta, Sumi Robata Bar, Beatrix, Dillman's and Eataly all opened.
Penny Pollack, Chicago Magazine: Is Randolph Street a neighborhood?
Chandra Ram, Plate: Fulton Market, especially the stretch between La Sirena Clandestina and PQM. It's impossible to get a bad meal (but equally impossible to park)
Michael Nagrant, RedEye: Fulton Market/Randolph Street is kind of undeniable. Bacon donuts, Publican quality chow, goat and Sodikoff.
Sarah Freeman, Zagat: I don't think there was one standout neighborhood this year. West Loop continues to be a culinary destination while Logan Square is catching up quickly. But great restaurants opened up all over the city, from Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Avondale to A10 in Hyde Park.
Lisa Shames, CS: West Loop. Love that not only new restaurants are opening there but places like West Loop Salumi too and that old timers like J.P. Graziano keep it interesting like they did with the chef-driven gelato.
Steve Dolinsky, ABC7: West Town for sure. Embeya, Girl and the Goat, Au Cheval, The Publican, avec, Blackbird, Maude's, Next, Aviary, La Sirena Clandestina, a reinvigorated Chicago French Market...I should have bought a condo there.
Sean Cooley, Thrillist: Logan Square, between Bang Bang's biscuit sandwiches, Parson's fried chicken and new watering holes like Billy Sunday and The Radler, I'm excited for every new project coming in there.
Chris LaMorte, Urban Daddy: West Loop had another fantastic year. River North stayed strong.
Carly Fisher, Food Fanatics: Tie between West Loop and Logan Square.