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The Best Restaurants in Chicago

The Best Restaurants in Chicago

In the Where to Eat: 25 Best series, we’re highlighting our favorite restaurants in cities across the United States. These lists will be updated as restaurants close and open, and as we find new gems to recommend. As always, we pay for all of our meals and don’t accept free items.

Logan Square


Akahoshi Ramen might be the country’s highest-profile restaurant whose chef earned his bona fides on Reddit. The chef and owner, Mike Satinover, was studying in Japan when a bowl of miso ramen in Hokkaido drove him down a path of obsession. For the next decade, Mr. Satinover fastidiously published his ramen research and recipes on the internet forum Reddit, attracting a legion of fans, including established ramen chefs. He brought that viral momentum into this brick-and-mortar restaurant, where reservations are snapped up within minutes of release. Only four ramens are on the menu (the Sapporo-style miso and soupless tantanmen are superb), and Mr. Satinover’s craftsmanship is present in every bowl: Noodles, tare, broth and toppings are all meticulously prepared from scratch. KEVIN PANG

2340 North California Avenue, Chicago;

Walking into the sprawling Al Bawadi Grill transports you to a sumptuous Bedouin tent — ceilings draped with colorful fabric, the waft of grilled meats ever-present. Applying fire to meat has long been a crowd-pleasing tradition, and here, generous portions of kefta and shish kebabs, chicken, lamb and seafood are cooked over glowing mesquite hardwood. Even hunks of chicken breast stay remarkably juicy, the product of a grillmaster with keen eyes and gut feel. These meats (sure, there are plenty of non-animal options) arrive at the table on banquet-size platters, with enough hummus, rice and grilled vegetables to make leftovers the next day, and possibly the day after. KEVIN PANG

7216 West 87th Street, Bridgeview; 708-599-1999

8501 West Dempster Street, Niles; 847-957-1999;

River North


Order steak at this Basque chophouse, and instead of choosing rib-eye or filet mignon, you pick which cow you’d like. Maybe it’s Holstein, dry-aged for 18 days and tasting of buttered popcorn. Or Galiciana, a breed raised for more than five years (unlike the 18 months for supermarket steaks), with ruby-red meat and a fat cap so nutty in flavor you’d swear it was Ibérico ham. Whichever of the rotating cattle on the menu you choose, the steaks grilled by Asador Bastian taste like no other beef in town. And…

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