Chicago’s booming restaurant scene doesn't need national recognition to thrive, but we’re not one to turn away an extra helping of praise. Bon Appetit’s annual list of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America is in, and four Chicago newcomers made the cut: Elske, Giant, Mi Tocaya Antojería and Smyth and the Loyalist.
Given the love these restaurants have received from Chicago critics over the last year or so, it’s not shocking to see these names on the roster. Here’s a quick snippet from each writeup:
Elske: “Go here for a taste of some of the most exciting cooking happening right now. Husband and wife David and Anna Posey bring their many talents—he is the former chef of Chicago’s iconic Blackbird; she is the one-time pastry chef of the Publican—to an airy West Loop space all their own.”
Giant: “The small plates of unexpected pairs—including waffle fries and Jonah crab salad—are like something you’d dream up after a night out drinking, yet have the finesse and integrity worthy of a Michelin-starred restaurant.”
Mi Tocaya Antojería: “Every canonical dish that the first-gen Chicago native (Diana Dávila) touches becomes distinctly her own, whether it’s guacamole sprinkled with dried chile seed ‘ash’ or lengua (tongue) paired with peanut butter salsa (so weird it works).”
Smyth and the Loyalist: “At Smyth, they (John Shields and Karen Urie Shields) cement their status as fine-dining pros, with five-, eight-, and 12-course menus. Downstairs, at the Loyalist, the Shieldses prove they also know how to have a good time, with local drafts (and High Life) and top-notch bar food.”
Last year, Boeufhaus, Monteverde, Pub Royale and Roister all made the list, which means these four new additions are in excellent company. Come August 15, the list of 50 finalists will be whittled down to the “Hot 10” winners. Here’s hoping Chicago makes the cut.
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