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Julia Kramer, Food editor at Time Out Chicago, on avec:
This nationally acclaimed Mediterranean small-plates spot doesn't take reservations and is loud as hell. But it remains the must-eat spot for foodies in the know. It's hard to believe avec has been around for almost ten years: its communal seating and wood-panelled interior feel as fresh and contemporary as ever.
If there are features of Thomas Schlesser's design that look familiar - such as the 18-seat bar spanning the length of the narrow, 1,500-square-foot room - that's because over the past decade, so many other restaurants have tried to copy it.
avec. 615 W Randolph St, Chicago, USA. +312 377 2002. www.avecrestaurant.com.