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Updated: The 38 Essential Chicago Restaurants, Jan '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, save for those occasions when you absolutely must spend half a paycheck. Every couple of 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.

This month, we're mixing things up and some of the changes will likely piss off some people. It's not that we don't love Hot Doug's, Glenn's Diner or De Cero, but we have to make space for some new places. Coming aboard this round are Franks 'n' Dawgs (all of those gourmet dogs we devoured make us swoon), GT Fish & Oyster (a Michelin-starred Italian doing some of the best seafood around?) and Big Jones (with a special nod to its fried chicken lunch, Southern-focused brunch and all of those historic recipes dotting the menu).

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.

For more Eater 38 guides updated today across the Eater Universe, head over to Eater National

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

The Bristol

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Urban Belly

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Kuma's Corner

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Lao Sze Chuan

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GT Fish & Oyster

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Nightwood Restaurant

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Anteprima

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Purple Pig

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Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar

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Smoque BBQ

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Ceres' Table

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Longman and Eagle

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Piccolo Sogno

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DMK Burger Bar

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Bonsoiree

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Lula Cafe

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Girl & The Goat

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HB Home Bistro

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Hemas Kitchen

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Demera Ethiopian

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Sun Wah Bar-B-Que

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Pho Xe Tang/Tank Noodle

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Coalfire

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The Publican

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Big Star

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Davanti Enoteca

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Big Jones

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Franks 'N' Dawgs

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Chizakaya

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Tac Quick

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Chicago Cut Steakhouse

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Maude's Liquor Bar

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Lillie's Q

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Vincent

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