It’s time to look back on 2019 with Eater’s annual series where Chicago’s food writers and critics weigh in on the year’s dining scene. Here are the restaurants which were their top standbys for the year.
Morgan Olsen, Time Out Chicago: It should come as no surprise that I’ve dined at Time Out Market Chicago more than any other restaurant in Chicago this year. Runners-up include Community Tavern, Lula Cafe, Virtue, Italianette (R.I.P.) (inside the closed Fulton Galley) Birrieria Zaragoza, and Middle Brow Bungalow.
Chandra Ram, Plate: Avec has been a standby for me since the minute it opened. Ditto for Floriole, Proxi, Sunday Dinner Club, Rainbow Thai, Spacca Napoli, Lula, and Bar Biscay. People always want to know about the new spots, but these are the restaurants that keep Chicago’s food world humming along nicely.
Titus Ruscitti, ChiBBQKing: La Chaparrita, New China Station, Szechwan JMC, Tacos El Tio, Mr. D’s.
Ariel Cheung, Plate, Chicago, Time Out Chicago, Block Club: I live in Bridgeport, so if I’m not around the corner at the Duck Inn (best happy hour in the city), you can probably find me at Maria’s. If I’m downtown, I’m always craving the bites at Bar Sotano.
Ji Suk Yi, WGN Radio, Sun-Times: Lula, Half Shell.
Jeff Ruby, Chicago: While I’m a dining soldier who generally goes wherever I’m assigned by my editor or my small children, I go out of my way for Fat Rice, Coalfire, Parachute, and La Chaparrita. I went more than once to Superkhana International, which is super fun, and periodically find myself craving the Ligurian-style focaccia stuffed with creamy melted crescenza cheese at Davanti Enoteca.
Michael Nagrant, michaelnagrant.com: Boeufhaus, Rainbow Thai, Lola’s Coney Island, Lee’s Chop Suey, Coalfire, Paulie Gee’s.