Chicago's Best New Restaurants Of 2022 guide image

CHIGuide

Chicago's Best New Restaurants Of 2022

We spent the year looking for the best new restaurants across Chicago. This is where you’ll find them.

Plenty of restaurants have opened in Chicago over the past year, and a lot have been big, boring places that serve dishes we’ve seen before while listening to the same generic club music playing in the background. Not the 12 restaurants listed here. When people ask which exciting new places they should go to next, these are the spots we recommend.

In 2022, more post-pandemic homesteaders opened their own brick-and-mortar spots, gyukotsu broth came to town, and elegant South Asian tasting menus sprang onto the scene. But there’s more to this list, than just those types of places—from deep dish pizza to a Southern restaurant that helped us process the trauma of leaving a phone in a taxi at O’Hare, you have some very enjoyable eating in front of you.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

$$$$

5215 S Harper Ave, Chicago
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

Daisy’s will do more to improve your quality of life than a team of personal assistants ever could. Not only does this New Orleans-inspired restaurant in Hyde Park have the best po’boys we’ve encountered in Chicago, but it’s also a blast. The spacious, counter-service restaurant has staff that makes us laugh, live music, and boozy batch cocktails that aren’t too sweet. Along with po’boys, the menu has classics like fried chicken and a rich seafood gumbo that's especially lovable because a little crab claw cheerfully pokes out of it—encouraging you to accept things as they are. And while Daisy’s is extremely casual, it’s still a great place to celebrate a birthday, promotion, anniversary, or your fictitious personal assistant’s birthday.


If you press your face up against the window of Obelix, well, you’ll want to wash your face. You’ll also see what appears to be a typical, white-tablecloth French restaurant. It’s not. While this River North spot is a place where the waitstaff folds our napkin whenever we leave our seat, it’s also somewhere we can casually pop in for drinks with friends and split foie gras tacos at the bar. Obelix expertly walks the tightrope of feeling formal without being stuffy. And that same balance is present in its menu filled with a mixture of classics like escargot and playful, fusion-y ones like the foie-co. Somehow, Obelix has made eating 10-day dry-aged duck breast and French onion soup exactly what we want to be doing with our Saturday night.


Sign up for our newsletter.

Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.


By signing up, I agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Two courses into our meal at The Coach House and we were already scheming to book our next ticket. The Coach House (which, yes, is in a 100-year-old coach house) is a 25-seat tasting-menu spot in Wicker Park that serves an incredible $150, eight-course South Asian meal. This means dishes like momos stuffed with crab kulambu in a spicy black garlic sauce, and chewy fara dumplings swimming in clarified beet butter. Every dish has a story that the server will share along the way (the duck numidian was inspired from a cookbook titled “Recipes From Medieval Islam,” for instance). And while this place is expensive, it’s also BYOB, so the only surprise when you get the bill is that there’s no surprise. Cause you already paid.


Our first time at Khmai we felt like a regular, and we left wanting to become a real one. This Rogers Park spot is only one of two Cambodian restaurants in Chicago, and there’s an undeniable magnetism the minute you’re greeted by the host. Khmai is overflowing with camaraderie—the staff and chef are always checking in and sharing stories, like how they evolved from a catering service into a full-fledged restaurant. But of course, the main draw is the food. We’re constantly looking up the rotating menu like it’s a recap of Survivor, trying to see if our favorites—fragrant and spicy somlar machu kreoung or sweet and tangy tamarind wings—survived their biweekly purge.


RESERVE A TABLE

POWERED BY

open table

Indienne in River North definitely falls into the fine dining category. Its large dining room is full of upholstery, tablecloths, staff bustling around in crisp jackets, and the menu’s Indian dishes are artfully plated. But unlike most of Chicago’s tasting menu spots, here you can get a fancy eight-course meal for around $80-$90. Most of the food has some kind of French twist, which means dishes like eclair canapes filled with goat cheese and chutney, malai tikka formed into a terrine and sauced tableside, and a cute little potato pave accompanying the lamb chop. They do offer a separate la carte option, but it’s more fun to come here and let yourself be surprised by whatever dish is coming next.


The sandwiches at Tribecca’s are like members of the kind of charming, weird family that only exists in your imagination and movies like Encanto. There are about nine to choose from, and each one is slightly subversive. They have a Cubano, but it’s made with ingredients like mojo pork, chipotle aioli, and mustard butter. They have a disconcertingly good tofu version, a sloppy and perfect “Maidwrong,” and sweet potato donuts fried in clarified butter and topped with bacon and sour cream. This Avondale spot initially started out as a pandemic pop-up selling out of Honey Butter Fried Chicken, and we’re glad they made things official this year.


Wazwan’s Pinocchio-esque journey began several years ago. This South Asian spot began as a pop-up, moved into now-closed Politan Row, then was in a virtual kitchen, and finally became a real-deal restaurant in Wicker Park this year. Hopefully, this little BYOB counter-service spot is their forever home. The nihari momos are delicately wrapped packages of peppery beef, the mushroom korma is secretly vegan (well, we were shocked considering how rich and creamy it is), and the chettinad masala has the perfect amount of heat. Wazwan also feels like a dive bar, which is ironic because it doesn’t even have a liquor license, but also endearing because Chicago loves a dive.


A lot of just-fine Italian restaurants opened in Chicago this year. From that sea of red sauce and white tablecloths, Segnatore is the only one that made our Best New Restaurants list. The food at this relaxed Humboldt Park spot stands out in Chicago’s pasta and chicken parmesan landscape because every dish has some kind of unexpected twist. The meatballs are filled with melted scamorza, offering the benefits of a Juicy Lucy without the risk of third-degree burns. The deconstructed lasagna is a pile of handmade garlic mafaldine, whipped ricotta, and a mushroom bolognese that would win in a steel cage match against any meat version. And instead of its Carbone-aspiring counterparts, Segnatore has the kind of a relaxed vibe of a European cafe we want to sit in all day. Which made us doubly glad when they started serving weekend brunch.


We're not beholden to the antiquated idea that a restaurant needs to have chairs, a door, or its own separate address to be on this guide. Which explains the presence of Professor Pizza, which has a now-familiar origin story: It began as a home kitchen pop-up and is now operating out of a takeout-only ghost kitchen in Humboldt Park. Professor Pizza makes several varieties of pizza (including Detroit and Sicilian) but their tavern and NY-style pies are the reason we made burner Instagram handles to troll Infatuation NYC. It has a flavorful crust, with a puffy edge and a beautifully charred undercarriage. Equally good is the tavern-style’s cracker crust that’s thin enough to have a snap, but can still hold up to the toppings. The only drawback is that pies can sell out, so order a few days ahead of time, and then send @infatuationnyc team a message about how great it was.


Pork ramen has dominated Chicago for years. But now, this Logan Square restaurant’s beef broth has propelled it to the top spot in our ramen rankings. Their specialty is hard-to-find gyukotsu, and only one other place in the city serves it. And our first spoonful of Monster Ramen’s soup shocked us into consciousness like we had been idling asleep in a pod of goo. The gyukotsu is full-bodied yet light (is a ramen sommelier a thing?). And it’s the perfect foundation for each bowl’s combination of chewy housemade noodles and toppings, whether it’s their simpler shio tokusei or the Monster bowl loaded with three kinds of beef.


Union is a typical-looking Logan Square bar where you can get an unexpectedly fantastic dinner to go with your drink. It’s the sister restaurant of Lardon (of 2021’s Best New Restaurants fame), and it really wants to feed you—in fact, you should prioritize eating over drinks. The dishes at this loud, crowded spot have little twists that make them the Kayser Söze of the usual pub food suspects— like lightly breaded fried olives filled with mortadella, or lamb and pistachio meatballs swimming in a caper salsa verde. Proof that Union is actually a bar: It’s open until 1am, has a ton of beer on tap, the bar itself takes up most of the space, and is occupied with a regular nicknamed “Two-Shirts.” We made one of those up.


Tell us to blurt out a random phrase and it’ll probably be “caramelized cheese crust.” And that’s because we can’t stop thinking about the deep dish pies from Milly’s in Uptown. Like our sourdough hobby, Milly’s first appeared in 2020, operating out of a home kitchen. But unlike our now-defunct baking pursuits, they’ve stuck around. It’s upgraded into a full-fledged restaurant and now we can dive into their pizza from the comfort of a table. The crust has a remarkable balance of both a crispy edge and a soft center, and when it comes to toppings, we lean towards the pepperoni and pineapple. We’re not sure what type of deal they made for this pizza sorcery to happen, and we don’t care.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

Chicago's Best New Dishes Of 2022 guide image
Guide
Chicago's Best New Dishes Of 2022

Our 12 favorite new dishes from 2022.

The 25 Best Restaurants In Chicago guide image
Guide
The 25 Best Restaurants In Chicago

Meet our 25 highest-rated restaurants.

The Chicago Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Chicago   guide image
Guide
The Chicago Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Chicago

We checked out these new restaurants—and loved them.

Infatuation Logo
2023 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.

FIND PLACES ON OUR APP

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store