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Chicago’s Dining Experts Share Their Best Meals of 2019

Writers ate well at home and abroad this year

A yellow cocktail with a big green leaf in stemmed glass.
Critics and writers love Kumiko.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Chicago’s food and drink writers eat out plenty, so we asked them which meals stood out the most in 2019. Here are their favorites.

Jeff Ruby, Chicago: I had a near perfect experience during Dave Park’s seven-course prix fixe at Jeong. My wife and I kept waiting for it to trail off and hoping it wouldn’t. It never did.

Michael Nagrant, Bar Kumiko meal at the bar and also a la carte in the same week

Titus Ruscitti, ChiBBQKing: Chicago: Dinner at Jeong. Outside of Chicago: Yakitori Dinner at Toritama Honkan (Tokyo).

Ji Suk Yi, WGN Radio, Sun-Times: Entente; S.K.Y. brunch

Morgan Olsen, Time Out Chicago: I was lucky enough to join Time Out dining critic Maggie Hennessy for her glowing five-star review of Kumiko. I think I floated out of the restaurant after a truly special dinner accompanied by beautifully personalized cocktails from Julia Momose. Sometimes I close my eyes and I can still taste the Japanese milk bread — it’s that good.

Chandra Ram, Plate: An afternoon-long lunch at Via Carota in New York debating writing and food with about a dozen smart, funny people fueled by half a dozen bottles of wine and a couple dozen plates of food (but not a bite or sip left at the end). It was one of those rare days when food writing felt like what everyone thinks it is, instead of the reality of churning out newsletters.

Ariel Cheung, Plate, Chicago, Time Out Chicago, Block Club: Wherewithall was intriguing, seemingly simple yet so nuanced, and the entire atmosphere was notably welcoming. But I also had the opportunity to go to Turkey this fall, and a dinner at Mürver in Istanbul was completely unforgettable.


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