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Restaurant Experts Sum Up the 2016 Chicago Dining Scene in One Word

As 2016 fades into 2017, 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 Saddest Closures. All answers will be revealed—cut, pasted, unedited and unadulterated—by the time we pop the cork on 2017.

Wood-burning ovens, such as at El Che Bar, were popular at Chicago restaurants in 2016
Wood-burning ovens, such as at El Che Bar, were popular at Chicago restaurants in 2016
Marc Much

Describe the 2016 Chicago restaurant scene in one word.

Lisa Shames, CS: On Fire (Two words, I know, but between all the wood-burning ovens and really great new restaurants I think those fit.)

Morgan Olsen, RedEye: Fishy. (Thanks to Naoki Sushi, Snaggletooth, Lena Brava and Seafood City.)

Chandra Ram, Plate: Hustlin'.

Penny Pollack, Chicago magazine: Woodburning.

Anthony Todd, Chicagoist: Overwhelming. The sheer number of new places made it impossible to keep up and hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Chris LaMorte, UrbanDaddy: Overstuffed.

Matt Kirouac, Zagat: Nonstop.

Michael Gebert, Fooditor: Asian. Asian flavors and techniques are everywhere and it's a great thing.

Michael Nagrant, RedEye: Chinese.

Elizabeth Atkinson, Time Out Chicago: Accessible.

Seafood City

5033 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60630

Naoki Sushi

2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 868-0002 Visit Website


2819 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 773-715-4790

Lena Brava

900 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

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