Shrimp and grits, lobster, fish and chips—if there was one area where Chicago chefs excelled this year, it was with seafood. Whether it's pizza piled with shrimp (and sausage, naturally) or a huge helping of crabs at one of the city's best seafood restaurants, the options are wide ranging. Of course, seafood wasn't the only star this year—Hot Doug's returned in pizza form, chefs flexed their pasta-making skills and ramen continued its climb. These are the best entrees of the year.
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Some dishes at the Italian throwback are well-done classics. Others, like Formento’s take on shrimp de jonghe (shrimp dotted with shrimp sausage and lemon bread crumbs, all luxuriating in buttery garlic sauce) are such improvements, diners will never want the original again. $28.
Margherita pizza from Pizza Boss
One of the best pizzas in Chicago isn’t from a restaurant, but rather the giant Pizza Boss truck, painted like an Italian flag. The bubbly-crusted Neapolitan-style Margherita pizza is sprinkled with grated Parmesan and drizzled with olive oil. $11.
A heavy dish like pork schnitzel can prime you for a nap, but Jimmy Papadopoulos’s take on the Czech classic, with tender planks of pork accented with a spritz of charred lemon, almost begs you to order a second round, which you promptly will. $23.
A curry named after the Portuguese word for “devil” sounds daunting, but we’re up for any challenge Fat Rice throws us. Take this huge, fiery, family-style mix of chicken, braised beef, fried pork chop, scorpion peppers and mustard seeds—sour, spicy and sweet. It’s worth scraping the dish clean. $36.