To wrap up 2017, Eater asked a group of local Chicago food critics and writers about their year in restaurants and bars. 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 best meal of 2017.
Michael Gebert, Fooditor: When you eat something three times across two meals within a couple of months, that's a recommendation—but I did that with the fish collar with nam prik at Proxi. (Anthony Todd insisted we order a second one, one of those times.) I love that a business crowd in the West Loop is going for deep funky tastes from Thailand or India.
Michael Nagrant, RedEye: All the tacos and everything else at Mi Tocaya.
Chandra Ram, Plate: In Chicago, Smyth, which is redefining fine dining in America today. Also, Bellemore: Jimmy Papadopoulos came out of the gate running with beautiful, sophisticated, delicious food. Elsewhere, Arca, in Tulum, Mexico. José Luis Hinostroza is one of the most talented young chefs in the world. He thinks about his ingredients and techniques at a level few others can achieve.
Matt Kirouac, Zagat: Margeaux Brasserie was pretty incredible; opulent and rich in all the right ways, but still accessible and comfortable. I'm still thinking about that fancy mac & cheese and that giant macaron.
Morgan Olsen, Time Out Chicago: A birthday celebration at Oriole was hard to beat, but I have to give this one to the underdog. Earlier this year, Sportsman's Club hosted Quiote as part of its Backyard BBQ series. We sat on the ground and went to town on plates of ribs, elote and avocado salad. It was the kind of day you want to live over and over again.
Mike Sula, Chicago Reader: Baan Nual, Bangkok: a tiny, two–table, brother and sister run vintage shophouse serving the food their mother cooked for them as children.