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Mott Street
Monica Wang

14 of Chicago's Best and Boldest Fusion Restaurants to Try Now

Taco Bell's Naked Chicken Chalupa misses the cut

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Mott Street
| Photo by Monica Wang

Deciding on a restaurant to dine at can sometimes be an exasperating ordeal. Mexican or Indian? Barbecued meats or tacos? There's never a wrong choice but accommodating multiples palates, as well as your own, requires careful consideration. To make life easier, here's a map of 14 of the best fusion restaurants in Chicago, so people can have what they're craving.

As Chicago's culinary scene continues to expand, more and more chefs are thinking outside the box. Instead of always striving for authenticity, they're pushing forward with bold flavors that combine pieces of various cuisines. These spots eschew tradition and have only one goal in mind—to create delicious food.

Some of the city's most notable chefs, including Abe Conlon and Bill Kim, have made a mark with their restaurants. Other places, like Sunda and Carnivale, are consistently packed with crowds that just can't seem to get enough Asian and Latin fusion fare. Even seasoned diners will find new and exciting dishes to try. Sushi burritos, anyone?

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Sunda

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110 W Illinois St, Chicago
IL, 60654
(312) 644-0500
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Rockit Ranch Productions’ pan-Asian spot in River North is always a rip-roaring scene. The good vibes are accompanied by an eclectic menu full of the continent’s greatest hits—lemongrass beef lollipops, tiger shrimp tempura, adobo-braised pork belly, a selection of signature sushi and more. Trendy and delicious, it’s a hot combination.
Photo courtesy of Sunda

2. Mexique

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1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
IL, 60642
(312) 850-0288
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Carlos Gaytan is an inspiring success who’s worked his way up the Chicago scene over the last two decades. At his restaurant Mexique, he presents the Mexican flavors of his homeland with French finesse. What seems like an improbable melding of cuisines produces hits such as chile relleno stuffed with ratatouille; seared duck breast and duck leg confit in chipotle tamarind glaze; and carne asada with roasted fingerling potato salad, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese fondue.

3. Del Seoul

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2568 N Clark St, Chicago
IL, 60614
(773) 248-4227
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Kalbi and tortillas may sound like an obvious pairing these days but that’s due in large part to Del Seoul. The restaurant helped popularize Korean-inspired street food, such as tacos filled with sesame-chili shrimp, tempura fish, grilled short rib, spicy barbecue pork and more. In addition, other delectable combos include Korean barbecue banh mi sandwiches, kalbi poutine and kimchi fries. Topping fries with fermented cabbage makes it healthier … right?

4. En Hakkore 2.0

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1467 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
IL, 60622
(773) 278-5959
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Sometimes, that sushi craving comes calling and there’s no choice but to comply. Ordering multiple rolls for yourself can be excessive and cost prohibitive, though, so head to this Asian fusion eatery for a playful twist that brings two disparate foods together. The specialty sushi burritos are hulking wraps of rice packed with proteins like tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, tuna ceviche and Korean BBQ beef.

5. Mott Street

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1401 N Ashland Ave, Chicago
IL, 60622
(773) 687-9977
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Edward Kim’s North Side establishments, Ruxbin and Mott Street, have been two of Chicago’s must-visit dining destinations over the last several years. The street food-inspired dishes here put his team’s talents front and center as they elegantly refine flavors that one might find at an Asian night market. Guests enjoy a variety of bites including kimchi & Oaxaca empanadas; General Tso’s lamb sweetbreads; kimchi cabbage stuffed with pork butt and sticky rice; and udon noodles with spicy marinated cod roe, kimchi and seaweed.
Photo courtesy of Mott Street

6. bellyQ

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1400 W. Randolph St., Chicago
IL, 60607
(312) 563-1010
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Korean barbecue gets taken to the next level at Bill Kim’s flagship spot on the edge of Restaurant Row. Expect fine-tuned variations on classic ‘Q meats—Korean short ribs, tea-smoked duck breast, sake-roasted chicken, baby back pork ribs—alongside Western staples such as Belly Mac featuring Japanese noodles and Thai curry. If that’s not enough, diners can head next door to Urbanbelly for their fill of noodles, rice and dumplings.

7. Saucy Porka

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400 S Financial Pl, Chicago
IL, 60605
(312) 662-1351
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Spice up your lunch game with Asian-Latin fusion in the Loop. This popular daytime spot recreates the childhood memories of owner Amy Le and chef Rafael Lopez through blended dishes like bao tacos (“bacos”), pork carnitas banh mi sandwich, “Asian-style” paella, pork carnitas pho and more.

8. Fat Rice

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2957 W Diversey Ave, Chicago
IL, 60647
(773) 661-9170
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At this point little introduction is needed for Abe Conlon’s beloved Macanese restaurant. The food draws on the influences of Southeast Asia and Portugal, culminating in a signature dish dubbed arroz gordo, or “fat rice.” This paella-like bowl of jasmine rice comes packed with curried chicken thighs, char siu pork, linguica sausage, prawns, clams, tea eggs and more. It’s an assorted mix that hits all the right notes on the flavor spectrum.
Marc Much

9. Carnivale

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702 W Fulton Market, Chicago
IL, 60661
(312) 850-5005
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The party never ends at Chicago’s liveliest Latin fusion destination. Colorful décor, a festive atmosphere and live entertainment ensure there’s never a dull moment but chef Rodolfo Cuadros’ cooking is the real attraction. He incorporates elements from South America, Spain and the Caribbean to create diverse offerings that include a selection of ceviches, ropa vieja, arroz con mariscos and even housemade cotton candy.

10. de Quay Restaurant

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2470 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
IL, 60614
(872) 206-8820
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Dutch and Indonesian flavors in Chicago are in exceedingly short supply so it was a welcome sight when chef-owner David de Quay decided to embrace both cuisines at his eponymous concept. Some offerings are decidedly non-fusion—braised lamb shank with goat gouda mashed potatoes is hearty European comfort while nasi goreng, or Indonesian fried rice, is the country's national dish. But there are also many others that blur the line between cultures, such as braised short rib with rendang croquette and pea tendril; and mussels and shrimp luxuriating in coconut curry.
Marc Much

11. Kimski

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960 W 31st St, Chicago
IL, 60608
(773) 890-0588
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One of 2016’s boldest openings was as unique of a concept as there's been in recent times. The expansion of Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar gave patrons a reliable dining option in the form of Korean-Polish street food. Chef Won Kim dishes out elevated bar snacks like sausages topped with “krautchi,” smoked wings, kimchi poutine, housemade meatballs over noodles and more. Lounge away on the patio when the weather’s nice or take the food next door and pair it with a craft beer.
Aron Gent

12. Vermilion

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10 W Hubbard St, Chicago
IL, 60654
(312) 527-4060
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East meets West for an exotic global twist. The one-of-a-kind philosophy at Vermilion fuses Indian spices with Latin flavors to create intriguing mash-ups. The influence is prevalent on dishes like Brazilian seafood stew with Indian seasoning, and simple-yet-enticing tandoori skirt steak.

13. Rogue Fusion

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7027 N Clark St, Chicago
IL, 60626
(773) 293-6966
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With a name that conjures images of Star Wars, it’s no surprise that the menu at this Rogers Park restaurant feels like it spans the entire galaxy. The kitchen plays by its own rules, cooking everything from Korean tacos and chicken wings to crab meat beignets and tagliatelle a la carbonara. So the next time your friends want to drag you to the Cheesecake Factory for the sake of “variety,” be a rebel and suggest Rogue Fusion instead.

14. Altiro Latin Fusion

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2116 W Roscoe St
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 935-4000
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Visit Roscoe Village for a taste of what suburbanites have been enjoying for years. Altiro Latin Fusion gained a following out in Geneva for its innovative fare bursting with bright flavors. In 2015, a Chicago outpost arrived and it has continued to build on the original’s success, delivering an array of tacos and South American-inspired small plates.

1. Sunda

110 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL, 60654
Photo courtesy of Sunda
Rockit Ranch Productions’ pan-Asian spot in River North is always a rip-roaring scene. The good vibes are accompanied by an eclectic menu full of the continent’s greatest hits—lemongrass beef lollipops, tiger shrimp tempura, adobo-braised pork belly, a selection of signature sushi and more. Trendy and delicious, it’s a hot combination.
110 W Illinois St, Chicago
IL, 60654

2. Mexique

1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL, 60642
Carlos Gaytan is an inspiring success who’s worked his way up the Chicago scene over the last two decades. At his restaurant Mexique, he presents the Mexican flavors of his homeland with French finesse. What seems like an improbable melding of cuisines produces hits such as chile relleno stuffed with ratatouille; seared duck breast and duck leg confit in chipotle tamarind glaze; and carne asada with roasted fingerling potato salad, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese fondue.
1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
IL, 60642

3. Del Seoul

2568 N Clark St, Chicago, IL, 60614
Kalbi and tortillas may sound like an obvious pairing these days but that’s due in large part to Del Seoul. The restaurant helped popularize Korean-inspired street food, such as tacos filled with sesame-chili shrimp, tempura fish, grilled short rib, spicy barbecue pork and more. In addition, other delectable combos include Korean barbecue banh mi sandwiches, kalbi poutine and kimchi fries. Topping fries with fermented cabbage makes it healthier … right?
2568 N Clark St, Chicago
IL, 60614

4. En Hakkore 2.0

1467 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL, 60622
Sometimes, that sushi craving comes calling and there’s no choice but to comply. Ordering multiple rolls for yourself can be excessive and cost prohibitive, though, so head to this Asian fusion eatery for a playful twist that brings two disparate foods together. The specialty sushi burritos are hulking wraps of rice packed with proteins like tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, tuna ceviche and Korean BBQ beef.
1467 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
IL, 60622

5. Mott Street

1401 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL, 60622
Photo courtesy of Mott Street
Edward Kim’s North Side establishments, Ruxbin and Mott Street, have been two of Chicago’s must-visit dining destinations over the last several years. The street food-inspired dishes here put his team’s talents front and center as they elegantly refine flavors that one might find at an Asian night market. Guests enjoy a variety of bites including kimchi & Oaxaca empanadas; General Tso’s lamb sweetbreads; kimchi cabbage stuffed with pork butt and sticky rice; and udon noodles with spicy marinated cod roe, kimchi and seaweed.
1401 N Ashland Ave, Chicago
IL, 60622

6. bellyQ

1400 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL, 60607
Korean barbecue gets taken to the next level at Bill Kim’s flagship spot on the edge of Restaurant Row. Expect fine-tuned variations on classic ‘Q meats—Korean short ribs, tea-smoked duck breast, sake-roasted chicken, baby back pork ribs—alongside Western staples such as Belly Mac featuring Japanese noodles and Thai curry. If that’s not enough, diners can head next door to Urbanbelly for their fill of noodles, rice and dumplings.
1400 W. Randolph St., Chicago
IL, 60607

7. Saucy Porka

400 S Financial Pl, Chicago, IL, 60605
Spice up your lunch game with Asian-Latin fusion in the Loop. This popular daytime spot recreates the childhood memories of owner Amy Le and chef Rafael Lopez through blended dishes like bao tacos (“bacos”), pork carnitas banh mi sandwich, “Asian-style” paella, pork carnitas pho and more.
400 S Financial Pl, Chicago
IL, 60605

8. Fat Rice

2957 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL, 60647
Marc Much
At this point little introduction is needed for Abe Conlon’s beloved Macanese restaurant. The food draws on the influences of Southeast Asia and Portugal, culminating in a signature dish dubbed arroz gordo, or “fat rice.” This paella-like bowl of jasmine rice comes packed with curried chicken thighs, char siu pork, linguica sausage, prawns, clams, tea eggs and more. It’s an assorted mix that hits all the right notes on the flavor spectrum.
2957 W Diversey Ave, Chicago
IL, 60647

9. Carnivale

702 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL, 60661
The party never ends at Chicago’s liveliest Latin fusion destination. Colorful décor, a festive atmosphere and live entertainment ensure there’s never a dull moment but chef Rodolfo Cuadros’ cooking is the real attraction. He incorporates elements from South America, Spain and the Caribbean to create diverse offerings that include a selection of ceviches, ropa vieja, arroz con mariscos and even housemade cotton candy.
702 W Fulton Market, Chicago
IL, 60661

10. de Quay Restaurant

2470 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL, 60614
Marc Much
Dutch and Indonesian flavors in Chicago are in exceedingly short supply so it was a welcome sight when chef-owner David de Quay decided to embrace both cuisines at his eponymous concept. Some offerings are decidedly non-fusion—braised lamb shank with goat gouda mashed potatoes is hearty European comfort while nasi goreng, or Indonesian fried rice, is the country's national dish. But there are also many others that blur the line between cultures, such as braised short rib with rendang croquette and pea tendril; and mussels and shrimp luxuriating in coconut curry.
2470 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
IL, 60614

11. Kimski

960 W 31st St, Chicago, IL, 60608
Aron Gent
One of 2016’s boldest openings was as unique of a concept as there's been in recent times. The expansion of Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar gave patrons a reliable dining option in the form of Korean-Polish street food. Chef Won Kim dishes out elevated bar snacks like sausages topped with “krautchi,” smoked wings, kimchi poutine, housemade meatballs over noodles and more. Lounge away on the patio when the weather’s nice or take the food next door and pair it with a craft beer.
960 W 31st St, Chicago
IL, 60608

12. Vermilion

10 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL, 60654
East meets West for an exotic global twist. The one-of-a-kind philosophy at Vermilion fuses Indian spices with Latin flavors to create intriguing mash-ups. The influence is prevalent on dishes like Brazilian seafood stew with Indian seasoning, and simple-yet-enticing tandoori skirt steak.
10 W Hubbard St, Chicago
IL, 60654

13. Rogue Fusion

7027 N Clark St, Chicago, IL, 60626
With a name that conjures images of Star Wars, it’s no surprise that the menu at this Rogers Park restaurant feels like it spans the entire galaxy. The kitchen plays by its own rules, cooking everything from Korean tacos and chicken wings to crab meat beignets and tagliatelle a la carbonara. So the next time your friends want to drag you to the Cheesecake Factory for the sake of “variety,” be a rebel and suggest Rogue Fusion instead.
7027 N Clark St, Chicago
IL, 60626

14. Altiro Latin Fusion

2116 W Roscoe St, Chicago, IL 60618
Visit Roscoe Village for a taste of what suburbanites have been enjoying for years. Altiro Latin Fusion gained a following out in Geneva for its innovative fare bursting with bright flavors. In 2015, a Chicago outpost arrived and it has continued to build on the original’s success, delivering an array of tacos and South American-inspired small plates.
2116 W Roscoe St
Chicago, IL 60618

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