Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.




  • pinitbutton Beer Bashes Usher in Spring, Chicago Style

bar2 300x200 Beer Bashes Usher in Spring, Chicago Style
Goose Island Clybourn will kick off spring with maple-bacon-infused beer.

by Jennifer Olvera


The highly anticipated Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America—geared toward brewpubs and breweries—will take place at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Chicago April 7-10. While the festivities are trade-oriented, there is a way for day beer lovers to partake.


On April 6, avec restaurant and wine bar will pay homage to the happenings by hosting a five-course beer dinner emphasizing veggies and grains ($50, plus $25 for beer pairings). Brewers Marc Lemay from Brasserie Dubuisson and Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield from Vanberg & Dewulf will attend the event, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. and continues all evening long.

L20 the Place to Go

on March 09th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton L20 the Place to Go
14 300x225 L20 the Place to Go

Poire Belle-Hélène: poached pear, pistachio, ginger & chocolate sauce.

By Andre Gayot


Hey Laurent, isn’t there a better way to let us know that this is a fish-oriented restaurant — and an excellent one for that matter — than this esoteric acronym of L20? L is for Laurent, we understand, and replaces the H which is half of the chemical symbol of water, H20.


But Laurent, you have nothing to do with chemistry except maybe when, with a funny allusion, you mock the molecular cuisine concealing your succulent foie gras under a cloud of sugar candy. Moreover, you make it difficult for the search engines to find this elegant and worthy eatery hidden in the chic Lincoln Park West area of Chicago in the databases of good restaurants, a pity for the uninformed who will miss a memorable dinner in this serene, almost spa-like space filled with Makassar ebony columns, plush couches and white leather chairs. The single onyx two-top has “it table” status written all over it.


Continue reading “L20 the Place to Go” »

  • pinitbutton Chicagos Chaise Lounge becomes The Southern
jlasky 300x200 Chicagos Chaise Lounge becomes The Southern

Johnny cakes with Gunthorp Farm pork and chow chow are on the menu at The Southern. Photo courtesy of J. Lasky.

by Jennifer Olvera


Chaise Lounge has officially become The Southern, a Chicago drinking den where comfort food gets a sometimes-irreverent spin. The cocktails? Classic. The tunes? Southern rock. As for the food, chef Cary Taylor kicks off the edited menu with aged cheddar cheese straws with truffle mayo, hush puppies with smoked trout and Johnny cakes with Gunthorp Farm pork and chow chow.

  Continue reading “Chicago’s Chaise Lounge becomes The Southern” »



  • pinitbutton Prairie Fire Opens Its Doors
sarah rohit george1 Prairie Fire Opens Its Doors

Chef-owners of Prairie Fire: Sarah Stegner, Rohit Nambiar, and George Bumbaris.

by Jennifer Olvera


Chef-owners Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris earned a loyal following at their North Shore restaurant, Prairie Grass Café. (One bite of that sirloin burger, and you know why.)



Fortunately, city dwellers no longer have to make the haul since Prairie Fire opened in the West Loop. Located in a historic railroad generator station (most recently the site of Powerhouse), its menu includes its predecessor’s greatest hits—moussaka and ancho-marinated skirt steak on a bed of local beans, for example—as well as dishes that are sure to become favorites, such as spicy goat sausage with leeks, Tallgrass brisket with root vegetable mirepoix and purple potato mash and duck ballotine with cognac-marinated prunes.


Continue reading “Prairie Fire Opens Its Doors” »



  • pinitbutton Alinea, Unlike Any Other Restaurant
img 0730 1 300x230 Alinea, Unlike Any Other Restaurant

Sour cream with sorrel, smoked salmon and pink pepper dish, featured in Chef Grant Achatz's Alinea Cookbook

By André Gayot




The name says it all. In the course of the unwinding world story, an “alinea” would mark the arrival of a new event of an idea of a philosophy. If the surging concept flies, it may be the beginning of a new episode. Alinea situates itself in a sphere in a forthcoming era to succeed the times of the inns, restaurants, brasseries, taverns, bistros, posadas, trattorias, eateries as we have known them so far. So be prepared: Alinea is not a restaurant like another chic restaurant; Alinea is like no other restaurant in the Americas, period.


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  • pinitbutton Labriola Pasticerria Lures Sweet Tooths
labriola2 300x300 Labriola Pasticerria Lures Sweet Tooths

Labriola Bakery & Café launched a super-sweet concept-within: Labriola Pasticerria.

by Jennifer Olvera


Just about everyone fell in love with Labriola Bakery & Café, a handsome offshoot of the esteemed Alsip, Ill., wholesale bakery, when it opened in an upscale, if generic, Oak Brook strip mall outside of Chicago in late 2008.


Owner Rich Labriola, a pizza-maker’s son, formed one of the area’s most respected—and profitable—artisan bread-baking companies back in 1993, supplying his wares to hotels and restaurants, such as Rosebud, Phil Stefani ventures and Spago, before taking the next step.


Sure, lines snake around the store or out the door during peak times, but few seem to mind—especially now. Labriola just expanded, launching concept-within Labriola Pasticerria, where sweets—almost too pretty to eat—provide eye candy for the lunch-breaking suits, socialites and regular, old carb lovers who gobble fare at wooden tables illuminated by a roaring fire or flickering flat-screens.

  Continue reading “Labriola Pasticerria Lures Sweet Tooths” »



  • pinitbutton GAYOT 2010 Restaurant Issue
sophiegayotandregayot 300x178 GAYOT 2010 Restaurant Issue

Michael Cimarusti, Providence; William Bradley, Addison; Josiah Citrine, Melisse; Tony Esnault, Patina; André Gayot; Wolfgang Puck, Spago; Sophie Gayot; Hiroyuki Urasawa, Urasawa; Craig Strong, Studio. Photo Walter Mladina.

By Sophie Gayot


For the just released 2010 Restaurant Issue, we gathered seven Southern California chefs who all earned a spot on our Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. list. The photo was taken at CUT restaurant in Beverly Hills to celebrate Wolfgang Puck, who was also honored as our 2010 Best Restaurateur in the U.S.


Besides the Top 40 Restaurants, we also reveal the Top 40 Cheap Eats, and much more. You won’t believe what we have to say about Food Trucks!


We’re happy to publish your thoughts on our 2010 Issue in our Forum.



  • pinitbutton Longman & Eagle Opens in Chicago
window4 224x300 Longman & Eagle Opens in Chicago

Chicago gets a throwback eating, drinking and sleeping establishment

by Jennifer Olvera



Back in the day, lushes in Chicago could booze it up, get grub to soak it up and—if that failed—get a room for the night under the same roof. Reviving the tradition: Longman & Eagle, a vintage-inspired saloon with rough-hewn-chic vibe. It’s from the folks behind The Empty Bottle, Mode Carpentry and Struggle Inc., and it’s rolling out the first phase—a seasonally minded gastropub—January 20.



Jared Wentworth, fresh from Quinn’s in Seattle, is in the kitchen, and his menu has us enamored at first glance. First up are small plates like a wild boar sloppy Joe with crispy sage, onion and pickled jalapeño and smoked sweetbreads with salsify, roasted beets and brown butter applesauce. Using willpower, we’ll save room for the charmoula-spiced tuna loin (the pairing of cannellini bean ragout and black trumpet mushrooms in foie broth sounds too good to pass by).


Continue reading “Longman & Eagle Opens in Chicago” »

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