Eater asked a group of local Chicago critics and writers about their year in restaurants and bars, since the end of 2017 is nigh. The nine questions varied from their favorite dining neighborhoods to what we can expect for headlines in 2018. Here are their answers — copied and pasted, totally unadulterated — for their biggest dining surprise of 2017.
Michael Nagrant, RedEye: The Gundis. Chicago’s and one of the countries only Kurdish restaurants is killing it.
Michael Gebert, Fooditor: Raisu, the stellar sushi place on Irving Park, a stretch where Asian has usually meant mediocre if not dire. But here is a worthy successor to Katsu.
Carrie Schedler, Chicago magazine: Grace closing.
Morgan Olsen, Time Out Chicago: Chefs found new ways to make caviar approachable and fun, and Chicagoans ate it up.
Mike Sula, Chicago Reader: Balkan Grill Company: powerfully sustaining Serbian food served out of a semitrailer next to a Gary, Indiana truck stop.
Chandra Ram, Plate: All the closings. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, considering how hard it is to negotiate decent terms with a landlord these days. But it’s a reminder that if you like a restaurant, you need to go there, often if not regularly. We’re not as great a restaurant city without the likes of places like Vera, Yusho, and Sumi Robata Bar.
Matt Kirouac, Zagat: I thought Clever Rabbit was super legit. And nice to see an ambitious restaurant like that open on a stretch of Division mired in annoying sports bars.