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Best of Chicago 2014 » Food & Drink

Best brunch 

Lula Cafe

2537 N. Kedzie 773-489-9554 lulacafe.com

Runner-Up

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Critics' Picks

Best Run by a Chef Prior to a Gracious Departure

2119 S. Halsted St. 312-526-3385
He was named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs of 2013. And the winner is …

Best Place to Understand Charlie Trotter's Legacy

868 N. Franklin St. 312-482-9179
Where can you get a meal that explains that moment in dining when Chicago became important? And the winner is …

Best Migration to the South Side

1462 E. 53rd St. 773-288-1010
It's no longer an exemplary restaurant for Hyde Park. It’s an exemplary restaurant, period. And the winner is …

Best Kitchen Table

4662 N. Broadway St.
Part dinner party, part live performance, it's as intimate as you'll get with the creation of a 15-course tasting menu. And the winner is …

Best Side Dish

953 W. Fulton Market St. 312-226-0858
A hollowed-out potato filled with bone-marrow puree, hash browns, and home fries And the winner is …

Best Dish That Should Have Been on Next's Steak Menu

671 N. Saint Clair St. 312-642-1800
A fine example of half-traditional, half-modernist Frankencharcuterie And the winner is …

Best Jackson Pollack Imitation on a Plate

5420 N. Clark St. 773-961-7358
The kitchen calls it the "murder splatter." And the winner is …

Best High-End Meatball

1015 N. Rush St. 312-994-7100
Risk of grandiosity aside, let me say that I can't imagine a more perfect meaty orb. And the winner is …

Best New Seafood Restaurant Spawned by a Bagel Shop

530 Sheridan, Highwood 847-748-8462
Prices are as reasonable as the food is good. And the winner is …

Best Nonironic Retro Diner

4800 N. Central Ave. 773-853-0150
Soothing comfort-food classics like pot roast and porchetta sandwiches And the winner is …

Best Classy-Trashy Cheeseburger

1227 W. 18th St. 312-276-3000
It oozes goo like a deep-fried Twinkie at the county fair. And the winner is …

Best Beef Melt au Jus

2116 W. 95th St. 773-445-7218
Everybody loves this 72-year-old Beverly institution. And the winner is …

Best Ribs

2414 S. Wentworth Ave. 312-791-1882
These meat sticks provide the cheapest legal out-of-body experience. And the winner is …

Best Fried Chicken

1467 W. Irving Park Rd. 312-405-8482
The closest thing to the legendary Prince's I've encountered outside of Nashville And the winner is …

Best Taco Place You Haven't Heard of Yet

2919 N. Milwauke 773-278-9901
Splurge and get a side of the amazingly garlicky Mexican rice. And the winner is …

Best Place to Get a Taco and a Cookie

5757-9 N. Broadway 773-769-2900
A pretty blatant example of defining the category to produce the winner. And the winner is …

Best Taco Scholar

He has more than 60 spots (and counting) left to publish. And the winner is …

Best White Rice

600 W. Chicago Ave. 312-822-9600
It's the lightest, fluffiest, shiniest rice in town—because nobody else makes the effort. And the winner is …

Best Dirty Rice

2523 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-904-8567
It's born out of the dinner parties he and his cohort of Hurricane Katrina evacuees used to throw. And the winner is …

Best Food at a Gentleman's Club

3801 W. Lake, Stone Park 708-344-3848
If you're not here to make it rain, you're just taking up space. And the winner is …

Best Instagram Food Porn

Picture soft-serve topped by rainbow sprinkles or a riotous plate of Fruity Pebbles French toast. And the winner is …

Best Independent Grocery

2632 W. Lawrence Ave. 773-989-4400
Hard-to-find Greek imports like maras and isot peppers share shelf space with higher-end specialty products like duck bacon and cage-free eggs. And the winner is …

Best Thing to Eat at Eataly

43 E. Ohio St. 312-521-8700
You fork over $12, which makes you feel like a sucker—until you bite into them. And the winner is …

Best Tame Game

The burgeoning grocer offers a frozen-meat section that includes alligator, pheasant, ostrich, duck, quail, and buffalo. And the winner is …

Best Cheese Purveyors

Top sellers include the apricot Gouda, blueberry goat cheese, and smoked mozzarella string cheese. And the winner is …

Best Pastry With an Unpronounceable Name

3422 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-969-2346
The only obstacle between you and one of the most magnificent pastries you will ever eat is a tongue twister. And the winner is …

Best Latte for People Who Don't Drink Lattes

1105 W. Chicago Ave. 312-888-3042
One sip made me wonder if I'd ever again drink anything else. And the winner is …

Best Consistent Vegetarian Brunch Dish

2100 W. Roscoe St. 773-665-0227
Would you expect anything less of a place staffed by students of meditation? And the winner is …

Best 15-Minute Brunch

1851 W. Addison St. 773-687-8191
While it's usually worth sitting at a table and waiting for one of the open-faced biscuit sandwiches, your condition prevents such a delay. And the winner is …

Best Unconventional Bloody Mary

1434 W. Chicago Ave. 312-243-0477
A great Bloody Mary generally requires no fucking around with, but I've stumbled upon one worthy modification. And the winner is …

Best Introduction to an Underappreciated Italian Cocktail

806 W. Randolph St. 312- 600-9391
As the sorbet melts, it releases its flavors into the prosecco. And the winner is …

Best New Summer Session Beer

A Belgian-style single with a fruity, floral, yeast-forward aroma And the winner is …

Best Local Brewery Dedicated to High-Gravity Beer

What's dangerous is that most of the beers don't taste as high in alcohol as they are. And the winner is …

Best Up-to-the-Minute Craft Beer Menu

1559 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-360-7692
This Wicker Park beer bar has implemented the first digital tap system in Chicago. And the winner is …