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Chicago, we’re spoiled. We have so many—perhaps too many—fantastic new restaurants to choose from that we could dine out every night of the week and still not make it through our culinary checklists. As further validation, Bon Appetit magazine just named Chicago the Restaurant City of the Year for 2017. The honor is in its third year, with Washington D.C. and San Francisco as past recipients for 2016 and 2015, respectively.
The article, penned by Time Out Chicago alumna Julia Kramer, reads like a love letter to the city’s flourishing food scene. “As a Chicago native who covered the city’s food scene for years as a local restaurant critic, I’m obligated to tell you that my hometown has always been able to hold its own against the best food cities in the country,” Kramer writes. “But I can’t remember a time that I’ve been as psyched to eat there as I’ve been this year. Where other cities fall into soulless trend cycles, Chicago has a way of generating distinctively personal restaurants.”
The article cites Elske, Smyth, Mi Tocaya Antojeria, Giant, Fat Rice, Cellar Door Provisions and others as specific examples of restaurants that are pushing the boundaries and offering viable national competition. In terms of overarching trends, Kramer goes into detail on artful desserts, the reinvention of fine dining, Mexican food, neighborhood joints and mezcal bars.
Of course, the year isn’t over just yet, and we’re certain Chicago’s restaurant scene has a few more surprises up its sleeve. Until then, our list of must-try restaurants will just keep getting longer.