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Updated: The 38 Essential Chicago Restaurants, Oct '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.

This time around, we're making changes based on things readers have been talking about both in the comments and on the tipline. That said, DMK Burger Bar and Hema's Kitchen are coming off. And TAC Quick is going through some changes so we want to see if the quality holds up there.

So coming aboard: Balena where Chris Pandel delivers amazing housemade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, grilled meats and seafood to go with those amaro-based cocktails; Matthias Merges' Yusho for yakitori-style Japanese street food; and Brendan Sodikoff's modern diner Au Cheval.

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.

The Bristol

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Purple Pig

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Telegraph Wine Bar

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Urban Belly

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Nightwood Restaurant

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Au Cheval

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Kuma's Corner

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Lula Cafe

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Lao Sze Chuan

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GT Fish & Oyster

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Vera Chicago

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Anteprima

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Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar

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Smoque BBQ

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Longman and Eagle

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Franks 'N' Dawgs

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Piccolo Sogno

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HB Home Bistro

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Demera Ethiopian

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Chilapan

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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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Pleasant House Bakery

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Davanti Enoteca

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Lillie's Q

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Three Aces

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Big Jones

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Han 202

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Calumet Fisheries

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