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The 10 best new restaurants in Chicago

Book at table at one of the best new restaurants Chicago has to offer

Photograph: Jordan Balderas
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Get out of your comfort zone this weekend by trying one of the best new restaurants in Chicago, which offer eats inspired by globetrotting adventures—from pillowy dumplings and soul-soothing carne asada to addictive conservas and an Instagram-famous butter chicken calzone. Of course, with new restaurants popping up around town every week, it can be tricky for even the most savvy foodie to sift through the noise. Like an in-the-know friend, we've got you covered with a roster of amazing new spots—from one of the best breweries in Chicago to a futuristic food hall in the Loop. These delicious newcomers could eventually become some of the city's most beloved eateries, topping our list of the best restaurants in Chicago. Scope out the 10 best new restaurants Chicago has to offer and plan your next meal accordingly.

Best new restaurants in Chicago

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Photograph: Galdones Photography
Restaurants, Chinese

Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar

Bucktown

The culinary geniuses behind beloved Chicago restaurants Giant and City Mouse offer hot takes on orange chicken, crab shumai, moo shu pork and other crave-worthy Chinese-American takeout classics at Chef's Special Cocktail Bar in Bucktown. Wash it down with a pour from the tight list of wines by the glass or a selection from the cocktail menu, which includes refreshing sippers that showcase ingredients like green tea gin, orange blossom syrup and fresh lime leaf. The roster of funky cocktails will draw you in, but a late-night order of lo mein will keep the party going into the wee hours of the morning.

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Photograph: Neil Burger
Restaurants

Hayden Hall

Loop

Futuristic family the Jetsons might be jealous of the technology being employed inside Hayden Hall, a food hall from DMK restaurant group (Ada St., Fish Bar, County BBQ). Guests who frequent the space, which is nestled inside the CNA Building in the Loop, use the Grubhub app to monitor food-prep times and order eats from the hall's 10 stalls. Hayden Hall offers a hodgepodge of brand-new collaborations, revivals and DMK spinoffs. In addition to the main lineup, there's a first-floor coffee bar and bakery as well as a fully stocked salad bar upstairs. Also located on the second floor is a new outpost of beloved restaurant Ada St., complete with 75 seats, a beautiful cocktail bar and lunch and dinner menus.

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Photograph: Regan Baroni
Restaurants

Gaijin

West Loop

Celebrated Chicago chef Paul Virant has been making okonomiyaki ever since his wife spent a semester in Japan and returned home with a serious craving. This West Loop spot is devoted to the savory cabbage pancakes, served in two styles: Osaka mixes ingredients together, while the noodle-packed Hiroshima messily layers each ingredient on top of the next. If you're dining with a group, try both varieties and pad out your order with a few starters and a vegetable (the bok choy is exceptional). For dessert, choose from fluffy mochi doughnuts, a handful of house-made ice creams or kakigori, a traditional shaved ice creation that's dressed up with flavored syrup and condensed milk.

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Photograph: Belen Aquino
Restaurants, Indian

Superkhana International

Logan Square

Let's get something out of the way up front: Superkhana International is not your typical, by-the-books Indian restaurant. Though chefs Yoshi Yamada and Zeeshan Shah and partner Jason Hammel (Lula Cafe) pull from traditional recipes and preparations, the menu is void of veg-packed samosas and saucy chicken tikka masala. Instead, the star of the show is a butter chicken calzone, a savory pastry pocket stuffed with chicken swimming in a spiced tomato sauce. Toss in an order of chili-cheese naan and French fry manchurian for good measure. The booze offerings are just as interesting, with a collection of highballs, spritzes and cocktails, with ingredients like ghee-washed bourbon and sweet chai. Come summertime, the outdoor terrace beckons with comfy wooden benches and jewel-toned pillows.

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Photograph: Jordan Balderas
Bars, Breweries

Moody Tongue Brewing Co.

Near South Side

After outgrowing its Pilsen digs, Moody Tongue moved west to a sprawling, 28,600-square-foot space (the former home of defunct Baderbrau Brewing), giving the brewery more room to play. Housed inside the new headquarters is an on-site brewery and production facility as well as two unique dining experiences helmed by executive chef Jared Wentworth. Guests can choose to feast on a 12-course tasting menu in the upscale Dining Room or have a more casual experience in the Bar, where food is offered a la carte. Of course, Brewmaster Jared Rouben’s food-friendly beers will runneth over in both spaces, with popular pours like Sliced Nectarine IPA and Steeped Emperor’s Lemon Saison, as well as more experimental brews like the Scotch Barrel Aged Peated Scotch Ale.

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Photograph: Jacquelyn Trezzo
Restaurants, Seafood

Good Fortune

Logan Square

Channeling the Mediterranean but rooted in the Midwest, this sophisticated Logan Square restaurant centers around a custom-made wood-fired oven that adds serious depth to the season's finest produce. Chef-partner Charles Welch (Sepia, Honey's) specializes in edible masterpieces that are equal parts delicious and beautifully plated. Don't skip the flavor-packed pastas, like the goth-hued black garlic rigatoni or the deeply savory braised rabbit pansotti. The cocktail menu sports a roster of revamped classics (like the mezcal-based Negroni), and the wine list is punctuated with some seriously curious pours (we're big fans of the Mexican chardonnay).

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Photograph: Ethan Jollie
Restaurants

Porto

East Village

From the folks who brought us Beatnik and Celeste comes this lively West Town boîte that transports diners to the small fishing villages stationed along the coasts of Galicia and Portugal. As such, the menu here is rife with fresh-from-the-water seafood, sourced from family-owned business in both regions. If you can, reserve a seat at the 26-seat chef's island, where you can choose from a five- or 10-course tasting menu that highlights dishes not available on the regular dinner menu, like seaweed "spaghetti" with mussel carbonara. There's also a formidable selection of Spanish and Portuguese wines to explore, with a menu of more than 300 bottles.

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Photograph: Mistey Nguyen
Restaurants

Gadabout

Andersonville

The word "gadabout" translates to a habitual pleasure-seeker, which seems like a fitting name for a restaurant that deals in reimagined, globe-trotting street food. The best way to fully enjoy this Andersonville eatery is by rounding up a table full of friends and ordering snacks like chickpea fritters, buffalo skate wings, a shrimp-stuffed pancake and beef heart skewers.

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Photograph: Courtesy JIAO
Restaurants

JIAO

Loop

Dumpling fiends know that Qing Xiang Yuan in Chinatown serves some of the tastiest dumplings in town. The family-owned restaurant, which traces its humble roots to a basement food court, now has a second, quick-service location in the Loop. At JIAO, guests can expect shorter wait times and a grab-and-go experience that's built for lunchtime noshing. Choose from pillow pockets filled with everything from truffle and beef to pork and cabbage.

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Tzuco
Photograph: Diego Padilla
Restaurants

Tzuco

River North

Beloved chef Carlos Gaytán makes his triumphant return to Chicago with Tzuco, a breathtaking River North restaurant that pays homage to his hometown of Huitzuco, Mexico. It won't take you long to realize that this restaurant is different—the interior is unlike anything we've ever seen in Chicago, designed with an earthy palette and outfitted with thorn-covered vines and other artifacts native to Huitzuco. The menu, too, honors his hometown and his mother's cooking techniques. The Chicharron de Pescado is a standout favorite, with a whole fried fish, chunks of tender meat, tangy salsa, pickled veggies and feta cheese foam. Gaytán also owns next-door bakery, Panango, where diners can cruise the pastry case for conchas, stuffed croissants and other traditional Meixcan treats.

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