Chicago’s media dish on their favorite spots in 2023 as part of Eater’s ongoing tradition of polling the city’s experts for their year-end takes. Here, the panel discusses Chicago’s dining neighborhood of the year.
Jeffy Mai, editor Time Out Chicago: Avondale
Michael Nagrant, author of the Hunger, a Substack newsletter; former Sun-Times and RedEye dining critic: It’s not so much a neighborhood as much as Milwaukee Avenue starting in Logan Square passing Loaf Lounge, Mother’s Ruin, Staropolska, Chaya Chai, and Warlord, etc.
Janice Scurio, South Side Sox and CHGO Sports: Can I say Bridgeport again? That’s been my answer for the past few years running, and I don’t think it’s changing anytime soon. The revamped Kimski is a perpetual boon to the neighborhood, alongside the karaoke-supplementing Taco Sublime at Marz Brewing. Koto Hibachi makes quintessential post-gym meals that are packaged as if you’re a fitness influencer with a private chef. Cook It Mama Cafe makes a mean salad, though I’m sad to hear they’re moving soon. And a Happy Lamb Hot Pot is opening on Halsted? Sheesh. Nana’s closure still leaves me with ripples of heartbreak but I’m still optimistic on the neighborhood’s dining future.
Sarah Spain, ESPN writer, TV and radio host: West Loop still owns the title.
Brenda Storch, contributor, Eater Chicago: Chicago offers so many options! I particularly enjoyed Chinatown this year— a walkable food wonderland. I often bring my out-of-town guests to this area.
Amy Cavanaugh, Chicago magazine dining editor: I was constantly Ubering to Avondale this year!
Monica Eng, Axios Chicago: Hard to say. I like Chinatown a lot and always have but Uptown with Kie Go Lanie and Millie’s and all the Asian stuff is pretty great.
Alex Jewell, Best Food Alex: With the exciting revitalization we’ve seen in the last year, some of the focus has been taken off of traditionally hip neighborhoods and there has been room to shine a spotlight on where locals have always known to have rich with talent, flavor, and their own personalities: West Town, Andersonville, Bronzeville, Hyde Park. So, again, I can’t pick one, but I’ll note a positive trend toward a more distributed renaissance we can all be proud of.