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Chicago Media Picks the City’s Best Dining Neighborhood for 2021

Folks escaped the virtual insanity of 2020 for some sit-down meals

Chinatown In Chicago
Chinatown drew a few votes.
Photo by Interim Archives/Getty Images
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Chicago’s restaurant writers dish on the dining neighborhood in 2021 as part of Eater’s ongoing tradition of polling the city’s experts for their year-end takes.

Brenda Storch, Eater Chicago contributor: Difficult to choose. Whether it is picaditas in Rogers Park, grasshoppers in Uptown or pozole in Pilsen, Chicago is an exciting place of culinary convergence and discovery.

Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago Tribune: I’ve spent more time this year picking up food from commercial kitchens in industrial areas than ever before. So maybe it’s the year of untraditional dining areas?

Lillian Stone, The Takeout: I’m a ride-or-die Andersonville resident, largely because you can get in pretty much anywhere without a wildly long wait. But late 2021/early 2022 is also bringing a ton of exciting prospects up north — the new Forbidden Root space, the new Pizza Lobo and Dimo’s outposts, et cetera. Plus, you can park anywhere, and you don’t have to worry about encountering roving bands of trendy teens in upcycled denim and tiny, tiny sunglasses.

Mike Zoller, Porch Drinking: Maybe it’s cliche but I still really love to go out in the West Loop/Fulton Market area. I don’t want to say it’s the best, but it’s my favorite. There’s just so much variety and you can go fancy or more low-key and I like that flexibility. Get a sandwich at J.P. Graziano or eat at Girl & the Goat.

Sarah Spain, ESPN: I wasn’t loyal to any one area this year, but I’d have to say the Riverwalk area played host to a lot of my meals. Especially for out-of-towners and before indoor dining felt safe. Nothing like a great table along the river at Chicago Cut or RPM Seafood to appreciate being in downtown Chicago.

Amy Cavanaugh, Chicago magazine: West Town. I was constantly heading to the area to dine in and pick up takeout at spots like Kasama, Elina’s, Lao Peng You, Jeong, Split-Rail, Tempesta Market, and many others.

Michael Nagrant, Logan Square forever in my heart. Daisies, Lula, Reno, Giant, Lee’s Chinese, Billy Sunday, and of course, one of Chicago’s few Taco Bell Cantinas.

Titus Ruscitti, ChiBBQKing: Chinatown remains a place where new spots are always opening and for that it’s always exciting. The fallback answer for when I don’t feel that any other neighborhood really stood out.

Jay Westbrook, local craft beer professional: Unless m. henry and Big Jones moved without telling me, my money’s in Andersonville.

Janice Scurio, Sports Illustrated and South Side Sox: Releasing myself back into the dining world like an animal being reintroduced to the wild, I revisited the neighborhoods with my all-time favorite spots: Bridgeport, Chinatown, Pilsen.

Big Jones

5347 North Clark Street, , IL 60640 (773) 275-5725 Visit Website

M. Henry

5707 N Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60660 773 561 1600 Visit Website

Pizza Lobo

3000 West Fullerton Avenue, , IL 60647 (312) 265-1745 Visit Website


2607 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 697-4234 Visit Website

Lao Peng You

2020 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (872) 206-8624 Visit Website

Girl & The Goat

809 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 492-6262 Visit Website

Tempesta Market

1372 West Grand Avenue, , IL 60642 (312) 929-2551 Visit Website


2375 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 697-9443 Visit Website


2500 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-4413 Visit Website


1460 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60642 (312) 877-5016 Visit Website

RPM Seafood

317 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 900-9035 Visit Website

Billy Sunday

1115 North Brevard Street, , NC 28206 Visit Website


1001 North Winchester Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-3790 Visit Website

Forbidden Root

1746 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (312) 929-2202 Visit Website


3209 West Armitage Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 252-0997 Visit Website