New & Hot Places

Hottest Restaurants in Chicago

Fall 2016 will go down as the season of nonstop openings. Seemingly every other day saw the arrival of a hot new restaurant or bar, broadening Chicago’s dining landscape exponentially with fresh concepts in all corners of the city, from the heart of the Loop to quaint Bucktown corridors. To keep tabs on all the action, here are the city's 10 hottest restaurants right now. 


West Loop
The former Senza team plus Boka’s erstwhile pastry chef helm this high-end West Loop New American offering an extended tasting menu–only format with two levels of beverage pairings. The stylish, contemporary space features soft lighting, white tablecloths and a loft vibe, with a windowed kitchen offering a view of the action.

Must-order: There's no menu here, so the contemporary American tasting menus are always a surprise and always exciting, with dishes like lamb belly and chicory custard.

Insider tip: Pastry chef Genie Kwon makes and bottles her own “Altoids” in lieu of typical mints in the bathroom. 

Roister Restaurant

New AmericanWest Loop
Alinea chef Grant Achatz and crew run this hip West Loop destination for less formal but still cutting-edge New American dining adjacent to Next. The name refers to the vibrant atmosphere – complete with bumping music, creative cocktails and a high-energy, open kitchen – and the group’s signatures are evident in the unusual ingredients on the menu and stylishly modern decor in the space.

Must-order: The fried chicken is amassing deserved acclaim. It's braised, poached, fried and served with sunchokes and chamomile. Other standouts include hearth-baked lasagna with tomato gravy and a sourdough pancake with beans and marinated mussels. 

Insider tip: Roister just added lunch service, making it the first in the Alinea Group portfolio to do so. Try the fried chicken sandwich with chamomile mayo. 

Duck Duck Goat

ChineseWest Loop
Chef Stephanie Izard cooks creative Chinese fare – including dim sum, hand-pulled noodles, duck and goat dishes – at this buzzy West Loop outpost also serving an all-can beer list and crafty cocktails with Asian flavors. The striking AvroKO-designed space features ornate, distinctively decorated dining areas with banquettes, lazy Susan tabletops and exotic drapery, plus a bar made to look like an outdoor pavilion.

Must-order: You're going to want to try a little bit of everything, including dim sum, hand-pulled noodles and, of course, the duck and goat dishes. 

Insider tip: The restaurant recently opened its take-out window, Duck Duck Ta'Go, which is also available for delivery via DoorDash. Expect items like Taiwanese fried chicken, shrimp toast sandwiches and char siu bao. 


West Loop
Set in a former West Loop dive bar, this low-key lair from the Longman & Eagle team has a vintage neighborhood feel with its distressed facade, faux leather booths and curved bar specializing in elevated takes on classic cocktails, which can be soaked up with creative New American small plates.

Must-order: It's all about the classic cocktails here, which range from Cosmos to Cuba Libres. And, believe it or not, the Long Island iced tea is fantastic; pair it with a smoked cheddar popover off the concise food menu. 

Insider tip: When the weather cooperates, Moneygun shares a sprawling back patio with sister spot next door, Saint Lou's Assembly. 


Korean-Polish fusion is the thing at this funky counter serve next to Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar in Bridgeport, where creative street food such as Polish sausages with kimchi sauerkraut and pierogi-potsticker hybrids pairs with ample draft beers and a curated wine list in a casual space with a patio and late kitchen hours.

Must-order: The Maria's Standard is essential. It's a sausage dressed with soju mustard, "Kraut-chi" (sauerkraut meets kimchi) and scallions in a soft roll. 

Insider tip: Purchase Kimski's bottled sauces and Kraut-chi in the shop by the front counter. 

LH Rooftop

NewThe Loop
They have literally stacked the (roof) deck at this tri-level bar and restaurant in the London House Chicago hotel. Three swanky indoor and outdoor spaces (LH on 21, LH on 22 and the pricey private cupola) offer up craft cocktails and New American fare in ultrachic surroundings with views of the lake, river, Loop and River North.

Must-order: The only thing awe-inspiring enough to distract from the views at the LondonHouse rooftop is the Upland Hunting cocktail, made with Scotch, apricot, tonic, white wine and edible charcoal. 

Insider tip: The terrace on the 22nd floor gets very crowded on weekends and evenings. Your best bet is to arrive early in the evening, or mid-afternoon on the weekends. 


NewMexicanWest Loop
Brendan Sodikoff and friends bring tacos, ceviches and tequila to the West Loop with this hip, warehouselike Mexican hangout. The setting features lots of rustic wood, a huge bar with cage bottle storage, numerous TVs and animation murals, and extras including a retractable ceiling and beer garden.

Must-order: The shredded beef brisket tacos pair nicely with mezcal margaritas, especially on the massive patio. 

Insider tip: Guests can do tequila shots in naturally chilled glasses made of ice. 

Honey's Chicago

NewNew AmericanWest Loop
At this upscale New American–Mediterranean dining room, lounge and event space in the West Loop, the menu features rotisserie grilled fare with housemade pastas and breads, a compact, ever-changing seasonal cocktail list and 50 wines. The chic setting is highlighted by skylights, stone and checkerboard tiles, antique mirrors and high ceilings.

Must-order: Spit-roasted cauliflower, buckwheat pasta à la​ chitarra and chermoula marinated sturgeon make for a memorable meal at this stunner of a restaurant. 

Insider tip: The cocktails are designed and executed by the chef, ensuring a flavorful cohesion between food and drink. Try the Scrumdiddly, made with High West double rye, Cava and grilled peach shrub.


NewRiver North
Shareable Mediterranean plates and house-baked breads highlight the vegetable-centric menu at this spacious River North locale from Top Chef winner and Intro alum C.J. Jacobson. Walls of windows and greenery growing from the ceiling bring the outdoors into the casual-chic space, which also encompasses raw wood tables, a full bar featuring Mediterranean wines and a rotisserie takeout area.

Must-order: The flatbreadlike stracciatella is life-changing, and be sure to partake in several of Ema's spreads and dips, like hummus with lamb ragu and housemade labneh. 

Insider tip: Adjoining Rotisserie Ema is a casual take-out area offering items like rotisserie chicken and addictive frozen Greek yogurt. 


NewNew AmericanLogan Square
Jason Vincent (ex Nightwood) is behind this hip, diminutive Logan Square spot serving seasonal New American fare plus craft cocktails in a funky, modern setting with banquette seating and a kitchen counter, inlaid woodwork and whitewashed brick, local art and a wall of spices.

Must-order: The Jonah crab salad with waffle fries is a fun starter, followed by sweet-and-sour eggplant and pecan-smoked babyback ribs. 

Insider tip: Despite the name, Giant is a rather small restaurant and reservations fill up quickly. Be sure and snag a spot well in advance, or try and dine early (5:30 PM) or later (9:30 PM). 

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