A 15,000-Square-Foot Guinness Paradise Leads Chicago’s Best New Restaurants

Elsewhere, Indian and French influences are drawing in diners this fall

October 6, 2023 7:10 am
Interior of Guinness Restaurant
Even if you're not the biggest Guinness fan, there's something for everyone at the new Open Gate Brewery.
Kendall McCaugherty

The Guinness Open Gate Brewery — 15,000 square feet that includes a brewery, bakery, taproom and more — is officially open, with a rotating roster of special brews and a beer-centric all-day menu. If that’s not doing it for you, Chicago’s other best new restaurants are pleasingly diverse.

This month, you’ll want to check out two new modern Indian spots — one a second location of a suburban favorite, the other an eclectic blend of influences from three well-known Chicago restaurant vets. There’s also a new seasonal American spot in the former Nookies Too space, plus a French brasserie from the team behind Verve Wines in Lincoln Park. Read on for details. 

Kama Bistro's lamb shank nihari
Kama’s lamb shank nihari
Kama Bistro/www.neiljohnburger.com


Wicker Park

You’re here because: You’ve enjoyed a meal at Kama’s suburban La Grange location. 

You’re dining on: Kama’s new city location features a menu of vegetarian and non-veg dishes best for sharing. Try the samosa, paneer ravioli and Goan mussels with tamarind and coconut milk. For mains, the lamb shank vindaloo with spicy harissa or Kerala fish curry are popular choices. Save room for the chai-spiced bread pudding with ginger toffee sauce, candied pecans, house cherry chutney and chocolate chips. An extensive cocktail and mocktail menu features concoctions like the Cloud Nine with tequila, guava, lime and coconut foam, and the Golden Elixir, with ginger, turmeric, mint and lemon.

1560 N. Milwaukee Ave. (map)

Oysters on ice
Brad Danner Photo

Guinness Open Gate Brewery

West Loop

You’re here because: You’re a Guinness fan, or just want to see what all the hubbub is about.

You’re dining within: A whopping 15,000-square-foot space that houses a brewery, taproom, restaurant and bakery. Inside you’ll find a rotating list of experimental Guinness drafts like a Mango Chile Ale or Corn Maize Cream Ale to enjoy with the all-day menu of Irish- and Chicago-inspired food, like a Guinness beef stew or housemade giardiniera dip with potato chips. The brand’s first-ever bakery features the usual croissants and cookies, plus signature Guinness Stout-infused brown bread. A separate brunch menu with interesting dishes like shokupan French toast and shakshuka pot pie is served on weekends.

901 W. Kinzie St. (map)

Charred shishito peppers with garlic aioli, sesame, cumin and almonds
Charred shishito peppers with garlic aioli, sesame, cumin and almonds
Allie Bahcall

John’s Food and Wine

Lincoln Park

You’re here because: You’re a long-time fan of Nookie’s Too — and while you’re sad to see them go, you’re curious to see what’s been done to the place.

You’re dining on: Opening to the public imminently, John’s offers American fare kicked up a notch from two Gramercy Tavern chefs. This order-at-the-counter neighborhood spot focuses on seasonal ingredients like a shaved summer squash salad with lemon, Parmesan and hazelnuts; and charred shishito peppers with garlic aioli, sesame, cumin and almonds; plus comforting dishes like a hanger steak with smoked onion jus. A simple list of classic cocktails and wines round out the offerings.

2114 N. Halsted St. (map)

Crispy THC nuggets with spicy honey, toasted sesame and gochujang aioli dip
Crispy THC nuggets with spicy honey, toasted sesame and gochujang aioli dip
Lilac Tiger

Lilac Tiger

Wicker Park

You’re here because: You know that when three well-known Chicago restaurateurs get together, the results are bound to be good.

You’re dining on: An eclectic menu of South Asian dishes in the former Wazwan space from Zubair Mohajir, Ty Fujimura and Won Kim. Try the beef momo (dumplings) with chili oil and Szechuan peppercorn, duck fried rice or the whole fried fish with basmati rice. Don’t fret — you can still get some of Wazwan’s signature menu items, like the THC Sando. Lilac Tiger’s cocktail menu is also dotted with South Asian influences. Standouts include a colada with ube, toasted sesame and Malört , and an Old Fashioned with bourbon, rum and black cardamom.

1742 W. Division St. (map)

Mussels in a dish with bread slices
Argot’s mussels with fresno chili butter
Clayton Hauck/Argot


Lincoln Park

You’re here because: You’re feeling like steak frites, or maybe some French onion soup. 

You’re dining on: French brasserie fare with plenty of wines to pair. Begin your evening with a play on pigs in a blanket (“pigs en croute”) or a romaine salad with green goddess dressing and miso flakes. French classics like steak frites au poivre and duck leg confit can be found alongside dishes like a whitefish with lentils and creme fraiche, and mussels with fresno chili butter. Argot aims to make its wines super approachable, with 20 wines by the glass for sampling.

2349 N. Lincoln Ave. (map)


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