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Calabaza Tacos at Cantina 1910.
Photograph: Jaclyn RivasCalabaza Tacos at Cantina 1910.

4 restaurants on our radar for winter

This winter's best places to eat include a flavorful Peruvian restaurant, inventive Mexican spot and cute sandwich joint

Amy Cavanaugh
Written by
Amy Cavanaugh
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The best Chicago restaurants to eat at this winter offer a welcome escape from the cold. Hunker down and try the innovative flavors at an exciting new Mexican restaurant, warming Peruvian fare in North Center, an adorable sandwich spot or an outstanding new French restaurant

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 3 of 4
French cuisine feels fresh at this elegant-yet-unstuffy Lincoln Park restaurant. Chef Jason Paskewitz’s menu is packed with traditional dishes like Dover sole, but he makes genius twists, encasing foie gras in a black-truffle crust, for example. Sommelier Anthony Mathieu and bartender Arunas Bruzas pour excellent French wines and classic cocktails, and pastry chef Marjorie Easley ends the meal perfectly with a pistachio bombe. Try: Oeuf outhier, which pairs airy whipped eggs and caviar in a delicate eggshell topped with vodka-scented crème fraîche.
Cantina 1910
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Uptown
  • price 3 of 4
For a space so massive, Cantina 1910 is serving some of the most interesting Mexican food in Chicago. Case in point: the frita de bacalao mingles fried smelts, caramelized Brussels sprouts and huitlacoche mayo. Cocktails from Michael Fawthrop (Aviary), like a flight of Rositas with different agave bases, are terrific. Try: Masa dumplings with spaghetti squash, tiny green tomatoes and edible flowers.
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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Logan Square

When the Brown Sack closed in Logan Square, the Burlington team reopened the space as an utterly charming sandwich spot. Open from 11am until midnight during the week and until 2am on weekends, Wyler Road works for both low-key lunches over pickle-topped reubens and date-night cocktails and bar snacks. Finish with spiked floats, like the Fernet Cow, made of house-made Fernet ice cream, then topped with Coke and Letherbee Fernet. Try: The cheese curds, light and perfectly fried with fried basil and ranch dipping sauce.  

  • Restaurants
  • Peruvian
  • North Center
if you can’t manage a winter escape this year, get a taste of bright Peruvian flavors at this lively North Center restaurant. The menu focuses on the country’s classics, like causitas, which are whipped potatoes topped with crabmeat; a variety of piquant ceviches; and several takes on traditional pisco sours, including a habanero-pepper-laced version. Try: The rocoto relleno, which combines sliced potatoes beneath a fiery pepper stuffed with beef, raisins and veggies, and smothered in melted havarti.
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