4 Chicago restaurants on our radar for spring 2016

The best new restaurants this spring include a new seafood spot, a cozy Italian restaurant and a steakhouse
Oyster Bah
Photograph: Anjali Pinto Oyster Bah

The best restaurants this spring offer delicious classic and inventive seafood dishes, standout house-made pasta at a new Italian spot, a cozy American restaurant with great cocktails and a steakhouse with a distinctly non-steakhouse vibe.

RECOMMENDED: Our guide to the best restaurants in Chicago

Restaurants, American creative

Bar Marta

icon-location-pin Humboldt Park

Humboldt Park’s culinary scene is taking off thanks to openings like Bar Marta, a cozy American spot helmed by a group of veterans of Brendan Sodikoff’s Hogsalt empire. The accomplished drink list includes a Japanese cocktail balanced between cognac and orgeat, as well as orange wines. The straightforward but well-executed food is great drinking fare—try light gnocchi and roasted chicken with fried bread, then wind down over banana cake. 

Restaurants, Steakhouse

Maple & Ash

icon-location-pin Rush & Division

With a DJ in the lively lounge and a chef’s choice option called “I Don’t Give a Fuck,” this Gold Coast restaurant doesn’t feel quite like the typical Chicago steakhouse. But with a juicy rib eye, a sundae with a tower of toppings, a martini menu from Cristiana DeLucca and a thoughtful wine list from Belinda Chang, Maple & Ash is the kind of steakhouse we wish were more typical.

Restaurants, Italian


icon-location-pin West Loop

Sarah Grueneberg honed her Italian skills at Spiaggia. Now, at her own restaurant, Monteverde, she’s giving classic dishes a twist. Think creamy, peppery cacio e pepe made with four kinds of pepper and whey; arancini rolled with spicy nduja and served with poached tuna sauce; and squash-filled pasta accented with apples and bacon. The menu changes regularly, but the house-made pastas are an obvious place to start.

Restaurants, Seafood

Oyster Bah

icon-location-pin Lincoln Park

Chicago’s seafood scene just keeps getting better—Lincoln Park’s Oyster Bah is the latest spot to deliver freshly shucked oysters, fat crab legs and shrimp cocktail. The sister restaurant to Shaw’s Crab House, Oyster Bah nails the classics, though it’s the innovative dishes like a crisp half- snapper, slicked with Thai chili sauce and served on the bone, that we’ll return for as soon as possible.