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Photograph: Jessica Lynn Capron

The 100 best dishes in Chicago 2016: Desserts

There's nothing more divine than ending your dinner on a sweet note. We present the best desserts we had in 2016.

Written by
Elizabeth Atkinson
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For the sweet tooth in all of us, there’s something a little bit special about ordering a dessert at the end of a meal. From great ice creams to fine dining finishers, these are the best desserts we found in 2016 (in no particular order).

RECOMMENDED: 100 best dishes and drinks 2016

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 3 of 4
Of all of Meg Galus’s pastries this year, this was our favorite: two scoops of mango ice cream with a dollop of mascarpone, plated with angel food and smoked vanilla and surrounded by tiny citrus spheres to provide a fruity pop. No longer available.
  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Lincoln Square
  • price 2 of 4
Ridiculously delicious and perfect for those who like their sweets…well, not too sweet, this elegant dessert combined hunks of Hooks Wisconsin cheddar with sautéed boozy apples and pine nuts—a simple and excellent dish. No longer available.
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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • River North
  • price 3 of 4
Entente’s fancy tasting menu keeps thing super highbrow, including when it comes to desserts. The cherry profiterole has notes of sour cherry, sassafrass and shiso, topped with a chocolate drizzle and paired with a tiny scoop of ice cream. It’s delicate and light—a perfect way to end a dinner packed with pretty plates. $13.
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  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Lake View
  • price 1 of 4
Ice cream is serious business: It must be creamy, flavorful, not too sweet, not too soft and not too hard. The 24 Karrot ice cream at Lakeview’s SmallCakes hit all of those notes and then some, with chunks of carrot-cake cupcakes contrasting the ice cream’s cinnamon flavors with vegetal sweetness. No longer available.
  • Restaurants
  • Cajun
  • Rogers Park
  • price 1 of 4
This hidden gem is positively adorable, with its white linen tablecloths, a team of ridiculously friendly sisters running the place and killer Cajun food coming from the kitchen. But we come for dessert—specifically, this cobbler. It is buttery, sugar-packed and has a perfectly flaky crust filled with peaches that dissolve as you bite into them. $5.
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  • Restaurants
  • Patisseries
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4
This raspberry macaron is a perfect example of France’s popular bite-size export. The shell is sturdy but still breaks delicately as you bite into it, and the interior is cookie-soft—exactly what a macaron should be. And that raspberry gel at the center is beautifully tart. We’ll take six. $2 each.
  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Logan Square
  • price 2 of 4
If you set out to remind us of eating Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake bars in our childhoods, then you’d better nail it. This dessert does just that (minus the stick)—you’ll find butter pecan crunch, freeze-dried strawberries and goat’s milk caramel, served with vanilla ice cream and a side of nostalgia. $10.
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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • North Center
  • price 1 of 4
Cookie Spin’s offerings range closer to cupcake or even pie territory than cookies. Call it a cookie if you like, but you’re going to be calling for seconds of this one: a chocolate-chip-cookie bowl filled with soft, rich brownie and topped with M&M’s. $5.25.
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