With so many hot openings in recent weeks, odds are you don't have the time (or the funds) to visit them all. Lucky for you, we've narrowed it down to the can't-miss restaurants from the ones that you may want to pass on.
Worth the Wait:
Next: To say this has been the most highly anticipated opening of the last year would be an understatement. Next is the latest restaurant from Grant Achatz of Alinea, and the catalyst for a potential new trend in upscale dining: pre-sold ticketing. Nearly 20,000 people signed up for tickets at Next, so if you're not already on the list it may be several months before you get a table. Once you do, however, you won't be disappointed by the food here, which is themed after a specific time and location (currently they are serving cuisine a la Paris, 1906).
953 W. Fulton Market; 312-226-0858
GT Fish and Oyster: The Boka Restaurant Group has done it again. GT Fish and Oyster has joined the group's other restaurants (Perennial, Girl and the Goat, etc.) as one of the best dining options in the city. It has all the trappings of an instant fave: gorgeous décor, hot location and a staff that's pleasantly approachable despite the swanky, hip vibe. And don't forget the food, which is not only delicious (octopus and lobster and squid, oh my), but served in generous portions as well.
531 N. Wells St.; 312-929-3501
Not Worth the Hype:
Fogón: This new West Town restaurant offers a refined, subdued take on the traditional Mexican eatery. The spacious dining area is inviting and chic, and the corner location affords great views. The menu at Fogón, however, leaves something to be desired. Though the dishes have a Mexican influence, the cuisine here is all over the place, with some western European and Asian hints inserted haphazardly. All in all, it's been done before (and better) here in Chicago - for upscale Mexican, head to a Rick Bayless establishment instead.
1235 W. Grand Ave.; 312-421-2000
Fish Bar: If you've visited DMK Burger Bar, then you already have an idea of how Fish Bar operates. It's a small, casual eatery that's more neighborhood joint than fancy dining destination. Though the vibe here is certainly charming and welcoming, the menu doesn't seem to fit the location. With hardly any seating, it's no easy feat to enjoy raw oysters or a seafood cobb salad. And while several dishes do hit the mark (the crabby patty and the calamari, for example), it's something that could be more fully enjoyed at a traditional sit-down restaurant than on-the-fly.
2956 N. Sheffield Ave.; 773-687-8177
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