Top 16 Chicago Restaurants and Bars of 2018

Here are my thoughts on the best restaurants I have been to in Chicago keeping the ethics, affordability, and vegetarian-pescatarian options in mind. The restaurants and bars I have on here are not necessarily all new, but places I have had the pleasure of eating and drinking at in 2018.

Girl & the Goat: A Classic West Loop Haven for Meat Lovers, Accommodating for Pescatarians

Girl & the Goat seemed like this legendary restaurant that was so hard to get a reservation for.  I made a reservation here months ago for a Friday night at 10:15pm (the best time I could get).  Considering how busy this place is, I had very high expectations.  I watched Stephanie Izard on Top Chef years ago and was very excited to finally try her classic, legendary restaurant. 

Casa Yari: Bringing Ethical and Diverse Cuisine to Logan Square

As a foodie, flavor has always been the most important element of cuisine for me and Casa Yari (3268 W. Fullerton Ave.) did not disappoint. Casa Yari offers some extremely flavorful food that is nearly impossible to find anywhere else because what it is doing is extremely innovative. I also appreciate that Casa Yari is BYOB, adding to its affordability.  It is the perfect spot for a chill dinner with friends over some red wine.

Etta:

I recently had a slew of disappointing dining experiences.  You know that sunken feeling in your stomach after everyone on Instagram hyped up the restaurant and you found yourself scratching your head wondering what the big deal was?  Then realizing you were deceived because of sponsorships and superficial realities like that.  I cautiously entered Etta wondering if it was actually going to be a delicious dining experience or whether it was going to be yet another hyped up disappointment fueled by Instagram.  Etta (the E is lower case) was nowhere near a disappointment. 

Bellemore: Where The Small Touches Matter

Bellemore is the less traditional, let your hair out sibling of Boca.  While Boca is fine-dining and more traditional, Bellemore is a little more experimental and hip with similar price-points and a similar level of refinement and deliciousness.  The layout and aesthetic reminded me of Proxi, another favorite restaurant of mine that is across the street from Bellemore.  I wonder if Proxi’s aesthetic influenced Bellemore’s style or if it’s a mere coincidence.  The lighting was just right without it being too dimly lit but not too overly bright where you feel like you’re in a mall. 

Lula Cafe: A Logan Square Favorite and Rightfully So!

Lula has been part of the Logan Square community for 17 years prior to the more recent explosion of restaurants, bars, and cafes.  I have had the pleasure of coming here for both brunch and dinner multiple times.  While I am more of a fan of their dinner options, their brunch is also delicious and affordable.  The environment is quaint and cute within a somewhat eclectic and charming space.  Their patio is always packed full of diners on balmy summer nights.  Their service has always been accommodating and the servers are knowledgeable and proud of their food.

Mini Mott: Simple Menu, Fun Flavors

I’m happy to see a relatively affordable, quick, gourmet option in Logan Square where you can get a veggie burger for $10.  I also appreciate that they are open all day and until 12am on weekends for us night owls!  Take your meat loving and vegetarian friends to Mini Mott and enjoy the relaxed, unpretentious vibes and flavors.

Table, Donkey and Stick: A Taste of Old World Europe in a Quaint Setting

Table, Donkey, and Stick takes an incredibly innovative approach to Old World European classics.  I am excited to see the creative concoctions of new Executive Chef, Justin Moser.  Table, Donkey, and Stick continues to add charm and uniqueness to a neighborhood saturated with restaurants.

Rosie’s Sidekick: Classic Italian Subs with Real Vegetarian Options

You might have noticed a small shop that opened up in Logan Square by Mi Tocaya called Rosie’s Sidekick.  What is it all about?  Rosie’s Sidekick is a small, Italian sub shop that opened up a few months ago and aims to offer affordable Italian subs to the Logan Square community.  While Logan Square has a plethora of restaurants, it is definitely in need of more affordable, quicker restaurants so I was happy to see Rosie’s Sidekick open.