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Industry Experts' Top Restaurant Standbys of 2014

As we put a cap on 2014, 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 2015.

TWO was a favorite of two experts
TWO was a favorite of two experts

Q: What were your top restaurant standbys of 2014?

Melissa McEwen, ChicagoistTWO, Vera, The Garage, Sumi Robata Bar.

Penny Pollack, Chicago Magazine: Moon Palace in Chinatown (for scrambled eggs with shrimp), Original Pancake House in the Gold Coast (for The 49ers), RJ Grunts in Lincoln Park (for a burger).

Mike Gebert, Reader: Normally I don't go back to places over and over, at least above the hot dogs for the kids level, but I've been to The Radler 4 or 5 times, Tete Charcuterie 3 times, Parachute 3 times... it's like I'm dining like a normal person or something. Also, Ivy's, for hot dogs for the kids.

Amy Cavanaugh, Time Out Chicago: I'm constantly looking for excuses to go to The Roost for fried chicken sandwiches, Smalls Smoke Shack & More for whatever special they have scrawled on the daily menu, and Red Hot Ranch in Lakeview for a late-night burger if I've been out on the town. And Analogue, which is a bar, but has such good food that it counts.

Sarah Freeman, Zagat: I loved the increase of restaurants and bars catering to the neighborhood — less overthought small plates, more good food and drinks. That being said, as a resident of West Town, I found myself at The Winchester, Charlatan and Sportsman's Club more often than I care to admit.

Chandra Ram, Plate: I went to TWO a lot — it was my go-to. I love those guys, and the food is just so solid.

Michael Nagrant, RedEye: Pequods, Nhu Lan Bakery, Au Cheval, Little Goat, MFK.

Chris LaMorte, UrbanDaddyKameya, a super tiny, mom-and-pop spot for noodles, bibimbop and amazing bolgolgi.