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Best of Chicago 2013 » Food & Drink

Best Bahn Mi 

Nhu Lan Bakery

2612 W. Lawrence 773-878-9898 nhulansbakery.com

Runner-Up

  • Ba Le

Critics' Picks

Best Everything

1631 Chicago Ave. 847-868-8945
A few more reasons to get on the Purple Line And the winner is …

Best Refuge in River North, Casual

702 N. Wells St. 312-988-7864
It's easy to imagine River North as a portal to prehistoric times, until you go here. And the winner is …

Best Refuge in River North, Formal

534 N. Clark St. 312-595-1616
Shared-plates restaurants pervade River North, but here, you'll keep your damn hands to yourself. And the winner is …

Best Harbinger for the Future

"Local" and "sustainable" are such marketing shibboleths these days that they sometimes seem meaningless. And the winner is …

Most Profligate Use of Kimchi

820 W. Randolph St. 312-888-3455
Considering everything else is made with it, it's surprising there's no kimchi milk shake at this Randolph Street spot. And the winner is …

Best Burger Night

825 W. Fulton Market St. 312-445-8977
They only serve it once a week and for half the year, but it's one of the ten best burgers in Chicago. And the winner is …

Best Place to Have a Fancy Dinner at the Bar After a Long Day at the Office

2039 W. North Ave. 773-661-1540
If it's been a particularly good Tuesday—or a particularly gruesome one—treat yourself at this Wicker Park restaurant. And the winner is …

Best Use of a Smoker for Something Other Than Meat

1970 W. Montrose Ave. 773-697-8204
"Every single thing in this kitchen has made it into this smoker in one way or another. One of the best things to come out of it is . . ." And the winner is …

Best Liver and Onions

1746 W. Addison St. 773-327-3808
Not like mother used to make—unless she was Turkish. And the winner is …

Best Refined Italian Place to Take Out-of-Towners

5316 N. Clark St. 773-506-9990
You want the most comfortable yet stylish of restaurants, the kind that puts the "class" in "classic." And so you go to . . . And the winner is …

Best Fish and Chips in a Fish Market

1225 E. Forest Ave. 847-803-2100
It's the delicately breaded, light and crispy planks of Lake Erie perch that make this spot a hidden treasure. And the winner is …

Best Dinner at Grandma's

203 E. Garfield Blvd. 773-752-5253
Don't worry about filling up; it's an inevitability, given the heaps and heaps of well-cooked, deeply flavored soul food. And the winner is …

Best Use of a Sesame Seed Bun

3129 W. Armitage Ave. 773-772-8435
No Milanesa sandwich can compete with this Milanesa sandwich. And the winner is …

Best Cheesy Shrimp Quesadilla

2000 W. 34th St. 773-376-9620
The secret weapon on the sprawling, aquatically focused menu is a thick, house-made corn tortilla folded over snappy, sweet shrimp. And the winner is …

Best Vegetarian Imitation of a Meat-Centric Dish

3315 W. Armitage Ave. 773-772-9446
You don't need to skip out on certain Chicago cuisine just because you prefer seitan to pulled pork. And the winner is …

Best Place to Have a Duck Carved Tableside

5041 N. Broadway 773-769-1254
In the front window, glistening barbecued ducks dangle by their necks like so many succulent victims of avian suicide. And the winner is …

Best Fried Rice

4825 N. Western Ave. 773-754-7660
This isn't a readily available movie theater or sporting event snack in the U.S. only because nobody knows about it. And the winner is …

Best Chinese-Portuguese Fusion

2957 W. Diversey Ave. 773-661-9170
The fact that it's the only Chinese-Portuguese fusion in town is no slight. And the winner is …

Best Border-Crossing Love Affair With Smoked Meat

131 N. Clinton St. 312-930-4220
You need to get in line early at their place if you want a sandwich with the apotheosis of pastrami. And the winner is …

Best Regional Hot Sauce

This hunter's-orange-colored union of vinegar, mustard, and capsaicin can only be found in the southeast side's finest eating establishments. And the winner is …

Best New Local Food Publication

The semiannual publication comprises a stack of colorful unbound pages of laminated heavy stock—so that each is, in effect, a recipe card. And the winner is …

Best Urban Farmer

She decided to bring new life to an abandoned lot at Peterson and Campbell that had been a large victory garden during World War II. And the winner is …

Best Self-Taught French Pastry Chef

1114 W. Belmont Ave. 773-929-1100
Her cakes have been known to inspire tears of joy. And the winner is …

Best Dessert Trend, Haters Be Damned

Hazard unto them who would call a culinary form unfuckupable: they may wind up eating cupcakes in hell, or Lincoln Park. And the winner is …

Best Thing to Happen to the Latte

2035 N. Western Ave. 773-384-1870
This signature drink has espresso and milk, but otherwise, it's completely different from anything in the city. And the winner is …

Best Late-Night Fast-Food Spot Without Shame

2815 W. Diversey Ave. 773-252-6335
The best place in town to stop at after an epic beer sesh And the winner is …

Best Cocktail to Be Jealous for Not Having Ordered Yourself

2901 W. Diversey Ave. 773-687-0300
With its punchlike fruitiness and hint of spice, it ended up ruling the table. And the winner is …

Best Use of a Slushy Machine

2952 W. Armitage St. 773-384-3333
I've been longing for this drink my entire adulthood, an absurdly splendid marriage of the refreshing and the bitter. And the winner is …

Best Place to Have a Cocktail Custom-Made for You

1744 W. Balmoral Ave. 773-989-6846
This bar takes an approach to its cocktail list that I've never seen before: it doesn't have one. And the winner is …

Best Low-Brow Offerings on a High-Brow Bar Menu

3134 W. Logan Blvd. 773-661-2485
Regulars were quickly introduced to "off-menu" items, including house-made Zima and something known as "Guch." And the winner is …

Best Locally Made Malort

"Bitter as a flavor profile is no longer a dirty word." And the winner is …

Best Place to Taste Impossible-to-Find Beer

3185 N Elston Ave 773-754-0907
On opening day he offered samples of two of the rarest beers in the world from his private stash. And the winner is …

Best Brewery With a Bright Tank Named "Waffles"

After four years of scheming, two local brewers are finally in business. And the winner is …
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)