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Industry Experts' Top Restaurant Standbys of 2015

As 2015 fades into 2016, 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 2016.

Furious Spoon was a popular standby in 2015
Furious Spoon was a popular standby in 2015
Marc Much

What were your top restaurant standbys in 2015?

Amy Cavanaugh, Time Out Chicago: I went to Pub Royale more than any other new spot—I'm completely obsessed with the place. I went to Intro for each of the four visiting chef's dinners and plan to continue into 2016—they're been among the best meals of the year. And the amount of time I spent at the Chicago Athletic Association was probably unhealthy.

Phil Vettel, Chicago Tribune: Blackbird, Boka, Naha.

Michael Gebert, Fooditor: I don't know that I added any regular stops, I was really trying to keep up with all the openings of this insanely busy year. Maybe breakfast is the only meal where I repeated places a lot, so Bryn Mawr Social Club and Arbor. If I could pick a place to be a regular, it'd be The Duck Inn.

Michael Nagrant, RedEye: Wow Bao, Furious SpoonCellar Door ProvisionsDove's Luncheonette.

Chandra Ram, Plate: I went back to La Sirena Clandestina and Floriole over and over again this year. Neither is new, but they don't let themselves get stale or disappoint. My idea of a perfect lunch is John Manion's empanadas paired with Sandra Holl's spicy tomato soup.

Penny Pollack, Chicago Magazine: Beatrix Streeterville.

Peter Frost, Crain's: Bistro Campagne: Traditional French food executed flawlessly with friendly, capable service and reasonable prices. Green Street Smoked Meats: This restaurant checks all the boxes for me. Eataly: Eataly has its problems, but for lunch, there are so many options, and all of them are good. Xoco: There may not be a better sandwich in town.

Sarah Freeman, Zagat: Charlatan, Broken Shaker, Pub Royale.

Anthony Todd, Chicagoist: My standbys were a few neighborhood joints (I'm in Lincoln Square), including Bistro Campagne (best French bistro food in the city) and Gather (which never, ever fails to impress). When I left the neighborhood, I spent a ton of time at Shaw's Oyster Bar with friends, sipping cocktails at The Berkshire Room and CH Distillery and sneaking off to Vera to drink gin and tonics and eat cheese.

Sean Cooley, Thrillist: Furious Spoon. Any time I feel even a slight cold coming on, spicy miso and fury sauce are my panacea. My immune system may just be failing me on purpose at this point; worth it though.

Chris LaMorte, UrbanDaddy: Kameya, an overlooked tiny Asian gem in Lincoln Park with the best kalbi around.

Jeff Ruby, Chicago Magazine: Hopleaf and Dak Wings.

The Duck Inn

2701 South Eleanor Street, , IL 60608 (312) 724-8811 Visit Website


4539 North Lincoln Avenue, , IL 60625 (773) 506-9300 Visit Website

Cellar Door Provisions

3025 West Diversey Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 697-8337 Visit Website


500 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 321-6242 Visit Website


1729 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 (312) 337-6070 Visit Website

Green Street Smoked Meats

112 North Green Street, , IL 60607 (312) 754-0431 Visit Website

Furious Spoon

1571 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 687-8445


449 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 723-2131 Visit Website

Pub Royale

2049 West Division Street, , IL 60622 (773) 661-6874 Visit Website


1023 W Lake Street, Chicago, IL Visit Website


614 North 2nd Street, , PA 19123 (267) 324-5224 Visit Website

La Sirena Clandestina

954 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 226-5300 Visit Website

Chicago Athletic Association

12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL (312) 940-3552 Visit Website


1104 West Granville Avenue, , IL 60660 (773) 754-0255 Visit Website

The Berkshire Room

15 E Ohio, Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 894-0945 Visit Website

Bistro Campagne

4518 North Lincoln Avenue, , IL 60625 (773) 271-6100 Visit Website


, Chicago, IL

Dove's Luncheonette

1545 North Damen Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 645-4060 Visit Website


519 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 284-1377 Visit Website