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Updated: The 38 Essential Chicago Restaurants, April '12

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It's time to update the Eater 38, your answer and ours to any question that begins, “Can you recommend a restaurant?” This highly elite group covers the entire city, spans myriad cuisines and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs. Every few months, we'll add pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be open at least six months) or have stepped up their game. And keep in mind, this list is presented in no particular order.

It's time to make some changes. Because they're either really difficult to get into or are a little too spendy to really qualify as "everyday" dining, Girl & The Goat, Maude's Liquor Bar and Bonsoiree are coming off. Vincent and Chicago Cut have undergone changes, either with the chef or menu, so they're also off. And Ceres Table is still a solid spot, but it's just time for a change. And we listened to your calls for more South Side representation, so welcome aboard Pleasant House Bakery, Three Aces, Han 202 and Calumet Fisheries. Also coming on: Taxim for authentic regional Greek fare and wine and Chilapan (in Logan Square since the Ravenswood spot is too new to qualify for the list) for rustic, incredibly flavorful Mexican food.

For those of you readying the pitchforks because your favorite restaurant isn't on the list, wouldn't it just be more productive to nominate it for inclusion? State your cases for (or against) restaurants in the comments or in the tipline.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. avec

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615 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 377-2002
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2. The Bristol

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2152 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 862-5555
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3. Urban Belly

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3053 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 583-0500
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4. Kuma's Corner

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2900 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 604-8769
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5. Irazu

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1865 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 252-5687
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6. Lao Sze Chuan

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2172 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 326-5040

7. GT Fish & Oyster

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531 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60654

8. Nightwood Restaurant

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2119 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 526-3385
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9. Anteprima

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5316 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 506-9990
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10. Purple Pig

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500 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 464-1744
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11. Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar

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954 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 292-1616
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12. Smoque BBQ

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3800 N Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 545-7427
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13. Ruxbin

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851 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 624-8509
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14. Longman and Eagle

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2657 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 276-7110
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15. Piccolo Sogno

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464 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 421-0077
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16. DMK Burger Bar

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2954 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 360-8686
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17. Lula Cafe

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2537 N Kedzie Blvd
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 489-9554
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18. HB Home Bistro

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3404 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 661-0299
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19. Hemas Kitchen

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2439 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(312) 338-1627
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20. Demera Ethiopian

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4801 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 334-8787
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21. Sun Wah Bar-B-Que

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5039 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-1254
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22. Pho Xe Tang/Tank Noodle

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4952 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 878-2253

23. Coalfire

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1321 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 226-2625
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24. The Publican

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837 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-9555
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25. Big Star

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1531 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 235-4039
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26. Davanti Enoteca

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1359 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 226-5550
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27. Arami

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1829 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 243-1535
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28. Big Jones

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5347 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

29. Franks 'N' Dawgs

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1863 N Clybourn Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

30. Chizakaya

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3056 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 477-6400
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31. Tac Quick

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3930 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 327-5253
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32. Lillie's Q

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1856 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-5500
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33. Three Aces

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1321 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607

34. Pleasant House Bakery

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964 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60608

35. Taxim

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1558 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

36. Chilapan

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2459 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

37. Han 202

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605 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60616

38. Calumet Fisheries

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3259 E 95th St
Chicago, IL 60617

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1. avec

615 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661

615 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661

2. The Bristol

2152 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

2152 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

3. Urban Belly

3053 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

3053 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

4. Kuma's Corner

2900 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

2900 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

5. Irazu

1865 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

1865 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

6. Lao Sze Chuan

2172 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

2172 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

7. GT Fish & Oyster

531 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654

531 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60654

8. Nightwood Restaurant

2119 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608

2119 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608

9. Anteprima

5316 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

5316 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

10. Purple Pig

500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

500 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

11. Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar

954 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60622