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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).