The 7 Best Bars and Restaurants That Opened in Chicago This Fall
Did someone say $2 cocktails (for a very specific 15-minute timeframe)?
To keep tabs on every Chicago restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Bon appétit.
If you feel like we’ve had an influx of Italian and Indian restaurant openings this season, you wouldn’t be wrong — but plenty of more interesting things are happening in the Chicago dining scene as well. Think a neighborhood gastropub serving matzo ball soup and meat pies, two fine-dining restaurants with high-flying tasting menus, and a speakeasy that celebrates all things pork. Below, Chicago’s best fall openings.
You’re here because: You’re up for a culinary tour of Goa, India’s southwest coast, from the team behind ROOH in the West Loop.
You’re dining on: Indian and Portuguese-influenced bar snacks like green pea and chorizo hummus with poi bread, hot and spicy grilled chicken wings with lemon and black pepper aioli, and larger options including a semolina-dusted fried kingfish and pork vindaloo poi-wich. Enjoy a cocktail or two like Toes in the Sand (rum, pineapple liquor, jasmine green tea, coconut cream, curry bitters and cold brew mist) or throw back an Indian beer or glass of Portuguese wine, all to the sounds of live DJs on the weekend.
116 W. Hubbard St. (map)
You’re here because: You’re waiting for a table upstairs at chef José Andrés’ Jaleo — and you’re big on the pig.
You’re dining on: An experience at Pigtail is centered around all things jamón and cocktails. For the latter: The Plantain Scotch Highball is prepared sous-vide, with coconut, plantains, cinnamon, and anise. There are even a few jamón cocktails like the Consomé Cocktail with pork consomé, sherry, and egg foam. Can’t wait for dinner? A menu of bites — all featuring jamon, unsurprisingly — should be enough to tide you over. Try the jamon croquettes, foie gras torchon, or the classic Jamón Ibérico, served by the ounce.
500 N. Clark St. (map)
Armitage Ale House
You’re here because: You love anything Brendan Sodikoff touches (hello, Au Cheval and Bavette’s) and expect nothing less than a stellar dining experience at this neighborhood gastropub with 1920s London vibes.
You’re dining on: Both conventional and unconventional pub fare, including lamb samosas and matzoh ball soup, plus steaks, burgers, curries, and six varieties of pot pies, like the oxtail and red wine option with bone marrow and root vegetables. The menu is also studded with favorite dishes from other Sodikoff venues, like the Smoked Salmon Caesar and Black Truffle Bucatini. For drinks, consider the British ales, one of 16 wines offered by the glass, or a spirit-forward cocktail like the Airmail with rum, honey, lime, and bubbly.
1000 W. Armitage Ave. (map)
You’re here because: You can’t get enough of classic Italian comfort foods.
You’re dining on: This cozy neighborhood spot is slinging tried-and-true Italian-American dishes like baked clams, a killer chicken parm, and rigatoni alla vodka. Feeling extra hungry? Dover sole piccata and a ribeye for two make great entrees for splitting. Heads up: Elina’s is currently BYOB until their liquor license is secured.
1202 W. Grand Ave. (map)
You’re here because: You’ve followed chef Zubair Mohajir all over town and are excited to try his latest concept.
You’re dining on: Aman can be found in the carriage house behind Wazwan, Chef Mohajir’s popular restaurant, known for its South Asian street food. The 25-seat space will host rotating tasting menus with modern Indian cuisine — for clues to how that’ll shape up, consider Aman’s inaugural menu for Diwali, which featured wild mushroom black truffle korma, nihari momo with sichuan peppercorn and chili oil, plus octopus with lamb merguez.
1742 W. Division St. (map)
You’re here because: You’re a fan of chef Macku Chan’s sushi creations and intrigued by his playful mashup of Japanese influences.
You’re dining on: Komo specializes in blending Japanese kaiseki and omakase dining styles through a coursed experience that will change with each season. The current 7-course menu features luxurious touches like a chawanmushi with truffles and uni, as well as A5 wagyu makimono with a quail egg.
738 W. Randolph St. (map)
Nights & Weekends
You’re here because: You want a nightcap to end a night out in the West Loop.
You’re sipping on: The latest bar from the folks at Heisler Hospitality promises “fancy classics” and “funky highballs” like Gin & Cel-Ray Soda with Brokers London Dry and housemade celery soda. You’ll also find loaded Topo Chicos topped with Campari, green Chartreuse or amaro, plus plenty of canned and draft beer options. Pro tip: arrive early for $2 Old Styles and cocktails, offered during the first 15 minutes of opening; stop by on weekends for live DJ entertainment that amps up the colorful space.
1009 W. Lake St. (map)
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