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Chicago Magazine's Best New Restaurant List Includes Some Surprises

By Anthony Todd in Food on Apr 9, 2013 8:40PM

Everyone loves a good best-of list, and the restaurant world is no exception. Unfortunately, most best-of lists we read tend to be kind of obvious and pointless — the same five restaurants, over and over and over on list after list. That's why we were so happy when we saw the Chicago Magazine 2013 Best New Restaurants List - it's actually got some surprises.

The first shocker: Not every restaurant on the list has a PR Company. Not that there's anything wrong with hiring good representation, but it's nice to see critics going out own their own and finding the gems.

You may not have heard of a couple of the places on the list, especially if you aren't an obsessive foodie. Of course, Grace and Elizabeth have gotten tons of headlines, as have Trencherman and Little Goat Diner, but if you haven't been to some of the less-well-known restaurants on the list (like Carriage House or Found) you are really missing out. Kai Zan was one of our favorite meals of 2012, and Sumi Robata Bar has already found its way onto our "must recommend" list for friends and visitors. Unfortunately, both are so small that this list will just make it more impossible to find seats, but that's how it goes.

We were a bit surprised to see The Boarding House on the list, given the mediocre reviews it has garnered, but we suspect the issue went to press before they announced that their chef had left. Earth and Ocean is so new that it hasn't even been reviewed yet, but we've heard good murmors and now that it's on this list, we suppose we'll have to make the trip out to Mount Prospect.

Anyway, the list is certainly worth printing out and putting on your bulletin board, checking off each restaurant as you visit it. You've got a year before the next list comes out - get to it!