What were your top restaurant standbys in 2016?
Michael Gebert, Fooditor: In the past I've always said I can't have a favorite restaurant because I always have to try some place new, yet this year I ate at Giant three times, probably four times at The Loyalist, twice to El Che Bar in just the last few months—and I'm at Arbor for breakfast and to work with my laptop every other week.
Elizabeth Atkinson, Time Out Chicago: Red Hot Ranch, Vera, Rootstock.
Chandra Ram, Plate: Avec, Floriole, Spacca Napoli and Found are still so strong after all of these years – I could eat at any (or all) of those places every day and be happy. Café Marie Jeanne is one of my new favorite places to lurk.
Anthony Todd, Chicagoist: Funny you should ask, I did the math. It revealed that my standbys continue to be great neighborhood places and restaurants where I feel incredibly safe and taken care of. These included Gather, Vera, Big Jones, Bistro Campagne and Yusho.
Morgan Olsen, RedEye: On any given weekend, there’s a 98 percent chance you’ll find me hunkered down at The Allis in Soho House. Needless to say, I was thrilled about the chic new expansion. My go-to for entertaining out-of-towners was Mott St, and I used any excuse I could to get to Left Coast for breakfast.
Penny Pollack, Chicago magazine: Bistronomic: My spot for a tête à tête with friends or lovers. Volare: When I want a simple pasta dish and old-school service. Moon Palace: Everyone knows I eat here at least once a month. Al's Beef: My favorite late-night guilty-pleasure drive-through. Italian beef, double-dipped, and extra green peppers. (Unless I want a hot dog—in which case it's Portillo's.)
Matt Kirouac, Zagat: I continue to be obsessed with Cafe Marie-Jeanne and Spinning J, both conveniently at the same intersection in my neighborhood. Love CMJ for a casual, delicious, thoughtful dinner and Spinning J has my favorite breakfast sandwich and peanut butter cookie ever.
Lisa Shames, CS: Revival Food Hall, Cherry Circle Room, Lula Cafe, Billy Sunday.
Chris LaMorte, UrbanDaddy: My local sushi and noodle cabin, Kameya, is always waiting for me with a good bowl of ramen and warm welcome.
Michael Nagrant, RedEye: Dove's Luncheonette, Triple Crown Seafood.