The 100 best dishes in Chicago 2014: entrees

Fill up on the best crispy pizzas, decadent pastas, rich ramen and other top entrees we had this year
Advertising

When hunger pangs strike, seek out these big dishes to fill you up. This year we sampled lots of new pizzas and pastas, found a fantastic bowl of ramen and hit a food truck for currywurst. And about half the dishes are vegetarian, so you can also eat—a little bit—lighter. These are our 18 favorite entrees of the year.

RECOMMENDED: The 100 best dishes and drinks in Chicago

The best entrees

Bucatini carbonara at A10 Our award for the most decadent pasta of the year: John Vermiglio’s bucatini carbonara, coated in cream sauce, studded with guanciale and finished with an egg. Slice it open to release the velvety yolk, then loosen your belt. $20
Photograph: Matthias Merges
Restaurants, Italian

Bucatini carbonara at A10

icon-location-pin Hyde Park

Our award for the most decadent pasta of the year: John Vermiglio’s bucatini carbonara, coated in cream sauce, studded with guanciale and finished with an egg. Slice it open to release the velvety yolk, then loosen your belt. $20.

Vegetarian beer cheese arepa at Bar Takito You can get this dish with meat, too, but it definitely doesn’t need it—the pickled vegetables, mushrooms, and aji pepper and peanut sauce are a great combination with the corn bread base. $10.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Latin American

Vegetarian beer cheese arepa at Bar Takito

icon-location-pin West Loop

You can get this dish with meat, too, but it definitely doesn’t need it—the pickled vegetables, mushrooms, and aji pepper and peanut sauce are a great combination with the corn bread base. $10.

Advertising
Roasted chicken at Boka You haven’t had chicken until you’ve had Lee Wolen’s chicken, with lemon and thyme brioche stuffed between the tender meat and crackly skin. $29.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, American creative

Roasted chicken at Boka

icon-location-pin Lincoln Park

You haven’t had chicken until you’ve had Lee Wolen’s chicken, with lemon and thyme brioche stuffed between the tender meat and crackly skin. $29.

Pizza at Ceres’ Table We like Ceres’ Table’s new Lakeview location, but we like the new wood-burning pizza oven even more since it started turning out these exceptional, lightly charred crusts topped with mozzarella. $14-$16.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Italian

Pizza at Ceres’ Table

icon-location-pin Lake View

We like Ceres’ Table’s new Lakeview location, but we like the new wood-burning pizza oven even more since it started turning out these exceptional, lightly charred crusts topped with mozzarella. $14–$16.

Advertising
Egg yolk raviolo at Cocello One slice into this single raviolo and ricotta and egg yolk will spill out and mingle with brown butter. It’s so good you’ll want one per person. $14.
Photograph: Kari Skaflen
Restaurants, Italian

Egg yolk raviolo at Cocello

icon-location-pin River North

One slice into this single raviolo and ricotta and egg yolk will spill out and mingle with brown butter. It’s so good you’ll want one per person. $14.

Margherita pizza at Craft Pizza There are more elaborate pizzas at Craft, but this pie, with a bubbly crust, zippy tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil, is simplicity at its best. $14/$18.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Pizza

Margherita pizza at Craft Pizza

icon-location-pin Wicker Park

There are more elaborate pizzas at Craft, but this pie, with a bubbly crust, zippy tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil, is simplicity at its best. $14/$18.

Advertising
CurryWurst from DönerMen We scraped up every bit of the rich, tomatoey housemade curry sauce that coats the grilled sausage and fries, and wound up returning to the food truck for an extra cup. $8.
Photograph: Martha Williams

CurryWurst from DönerMen

We scraped up every bit of the rich, tomatoey housemade curry sauce that coats the grilled sausage and fries, and wound up returning to the food truck for an extra cup. $8.

High Five ramen at High Five Ramen Chicago may be ramen-crazed right now, so we’ll make this easy: Our current favorite bowl is the namesake variety at Brendan Sodikoff’s basement ramen bar. The velvety tonkotsu broth is spiked with Sichuan peppers and J
Photograph: Kari Skaflen
Restaurants, Japanese

High Five ramen at High Five Ramen

icon-location-pin West Loop

Chicago may be ramen-crazed right now, so we’ll make this easy: Our current favorite bowl is the namesake variety at Brendan Sodikoff’s basement ramen bar. The velvety tonkotsu broth is spiked with Sichuan peppers and Japanese chilies, plus springy noodles and luscious pork belly. $14.

Advertising
Sinigang chicken soup at Isla Pilipina On one of the coldest days of the year, we walked into Isla Pilipina, ordered a bowl of the sour, peppery tamarind soup—packed with tomato, green beans and big hunks of chicken—and instantly felt happy and warm. $8.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Pan-Asian

Sinigang chicken soup at Isla Pilipina

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square

On one of the coldest days of the year, we walked into Isla Pilipina, ordered a bowl of the sour, peppery tamarind soup—packed with tomato, green beans and big hunks of chicken—and instantly felt happy and warm. $8.

Advertising
Confit potatoes a la plancha at Salero So often consigned to being a side dish, the potato gets its due at Salero, where the tender slice of potato is joined by a fried egg, mushrooms and thick slices of melted Spanish cheese. $23.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Spanish

Confit potatoes a la plancha at Salero

icon-location-pin West Loop

So often consigned to being a side dish, the potato gets its due at Salero, where the tender slice of potato is joined by a fried egg, mushrooms and thick slices of melted Spanish cheese. $23.

Advertising
Autumn garden at Tete Charcuterie That the standout dish at this charcuterie restaurant is a bowl filled with seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs (which are roasted, raw and pickled) is a testament to just how thoughtful chefs Thomas Rice and Kurt Guzo
Photograph: Nick Murway
Restaurants

Autumn garden at Tete Charcuterie

icon-location-pin West Loop

That the standout dish at this charcuterie restaurant is a bowl filled with seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs (which are roasted, raw and pickled) is a testament to just how thoughtful chefs Thomas Rice and Kurt Guzowski are with every dish. $18.

Advertising
Osteria Langhe
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Italian

Plin at Osteria Langhe

icon-location-pin Logan Square

The tiniest, most delicate ravioli we’ve ever had, the plin are stuffed with melting La Tur cheese and Parmesan and tossed with thyme and butter sauce, for a deceptively rich dish. $14.

Smoked rainbow trout at Sepia Smoke can often overwhelm a dish, but not in the capable hands of Andrew Zimmerman, who balances the smoked rainbow trout and smoked trout roe with dill potatoes and caraway butter. $29.
Photograph: Douglas Bening
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Smoked rainbow trout at Sepia

icon-location-pin West Loop

Smoke can often overwhelm a dish, but not in the capable hands of Andrew Zimmerman, who balances the smoked rainbow trout and smoked trout roe with dill potatoes and caraway butter. $29.

Advertising
Restaurants, Greek

Gyro platter at the Parthenon

icon-location-pin Greektown

Sometimes, you need to visit a classic, which is how we found ourselves recently demolishing a plate of tender, well-spiced gyro meat, pillowy pita, thick tzatziki sauce, tomatoes and raw onions. Throw in a glass of moschofilero, and you have our perfect meal. $8.75.

Butternut pizza at Reno Never had squash pizza? Now’s the time to start. Sage, walnuts, Gouda and brown butter combine for a perfectly autumnal, charred-edge pie. $13.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Italian

Butternut pizza at Reno

icon-location-pin Logan Square

Never had squash pizza? Now’s the time to start. Sage, walnuts, Gouda and brown butter combine for a perfectly autumnal, charred-edge pie. $13.

Advertising