My favorite cool restaurants in Chicago right now

Chicago, I can’t with your restaurant scene. In fact, it’s hard to choose my favorite cool restaurants in Chicago, but you left me no choice.

I return after three years, and you’re all grown up. You’re also KILLING it. Not only did you beat a world record by opening 24 hotels in three years, you opened dozens of new restaurants that raise the bar for Chicago dining. You also have no plans for slowing down (right on track).

On my recent trip to Chicago, I ate at some of the most notable restaurants that are taking the dining scene to a level beyond. I’m writing a feature for Passport magazine (which I’ll post when it’s published) but, in the meantime, here’s a sneak peak at some of my favorite cool restaurants in Chicago that blew me away.

The outdoor patio at City Mouse . 

The outdoor patio at City Mouse.

City Mouse. Love the name, love the look, love the vibe, love the food. City Mouse at the new Ace Chicago served up point-on, globally inspired comfort food. It didn’t hold back with imagination and it really went in for the kill with flavors.

The spaghetti (with calabrian chili, bacon, feta and breadcrumbs) is definitely going to be Scott Conant level one day. It’s fun and cheese-gooey and rich. Jason Vincent (from Team Giant in Logan Square) really nailed it.

Roasted oysters at Proxi .

Roasted oysters at Proxi.

Proxi. We need to talk about Proxi. No, seriously. That’s the title of this blog post we did.

The French Toast at Margeaux .

The French Toast at Margeaux.

Margeaux. Michael Mina’s new Margeaux Brasserie at Waldorf Astoria opened literally two weeks prior to my visit. Interestingly, I reunited with my friend Bre.

The last time we saw each other was in Hawaii at a Michael Mina dinner event. Fate? The upscale French brasserie is handsome and posh, and our brunch was all about the French Toast.

Publikan Anker from our Snapchat . 

Publikan Anker from our Snapchat.

Publikan Anker. Hip, casual and a magnet to the cool crowd, Publikan Anker in Wicker Park was one of my favorites. It’s the type of place you know there’s no amateurs in the kitchen, and how many photos did we take, you ask? It’s definitely a looker. Also, two words: fried chicken. Two more words: GO now.

Now this is a burger. Torali at Ritz Carlton Chicago. 

Now this is a burger. Torali at Ritz Carlton Chicago.

Torali. Ritz Carlton Chicago recently debuted (literally, a month ago) a new 12th floor lobby space, which is drenched in sunlight and beautifully designed. You basically want to hang here all day.

The restaurant, Torali, is just getting into its groove (also brand new) with refined Italian fare. The service is on point. You know those places where you ask for a drink, look at your phone for ten seconds, and the drink is literally in front of you? THAT kind of service.

*This story was originally published in July 2017.

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