Mar 7, 2024 - Food and Drink

7 hot new restaurants to try in the Chicago area this spring

Iberico ham on crispy wontons, topped with crème fraîche, caviar and chives.

Divan's play on ham and eggs: Iberico ham on crispy wontons, topped with crème fraîche, caviar and chives. Photo courtesy of Divan

The past few weeks in Chicago were full of relatively hot weather and hot restaurant openings, including the huge La Grande Boucherie in River North.

  • Here are a few more we've had our eyes on.

Divan: Chef Mike Sheerin (Blackbird, Trencherman, Cicchetti and Taureaux) has reemerged to lead this new French-tinged River North steakhouse featuring bacon confit, French onion soup, steak tartare, roasted dover sole and an opulent twist on ham and eggs.

  • Divan is scheduled to open today in the old MK space.
A sandwich filled with cured meats, spicy mayo and giardiniera on bread, on a wooden tray.
The Chicago sandwich features cured meats, spicy mayo and giardiniera. The bread's dough ferments for 72 hours. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Stefani's Bottega Italiana: Eat in or get take-out sandwiches, pizzas and packaged sauce and pasta from this fast casual Stefani's spot in far Northwest Side Gladstone Park.

  • We tried the Chicago sandwich ($16) with soppressata, prosciutto, provolone and giardiniera and loved the 72-hour fermented bread but not the skimpy fillings. The slab of lasagna Bolognese ($17), however, was rich enough to make dinner or two.
The interior of Mya by Medi, with planters full of pink feathers, pink and red wallpaper, large booths and chandeleirs.
Mya by Medi interior. Photo courtesy of Mya by Medi

Mya by Medi: This River North Lebanese spot features hummus and baba ghanoush with a nightclubby interior, artisan cocktails, bacon-wrapped dates, steak frites and celeriac tacos Arabes.

  • Weekend diners can enjoy performances by belly dancers and fire handlers.
Five dumplings in a wooden basket, surrounding a red dip.
Pumpkin manty dumplings. Photo courtesy of Jibek Jolu

Jibek Jolu Karavan: It feels like a new local Central Asian eatery is opening every month, proffering more rice pilafs (plov) steamed dumplings (manty) and savory turnovers (samsy).

  • Much of it is driven by Jibek Jolu. which this week held a grand opening for its fourth outpost, this time a spot in Des Plaines called Karavan.

Meanwhile, down the street from the original Jibek Jolu, another Central Asian spot, Bai Ordo, opened in Lincoln Square.

A photo of crispy Roman style pizza.
PQB Roman style pizza. Photo courtesy of David Hammond

Publican Quality Bread: James Beard Award-winning baker Greg Wade has opened his long-awaited Oak Park outpost featuring freshly baked pastries, bread and tartines in the morning and Roman-style pizza with beer and wine, starting at 4pm.

  • Axios reader and food writer David Hammond tells us the pizza dough is "superb" and recommends mushroom and sausage with "a garlic forward pesto on top" and the veggie with preserved eggplant and tomato conserva.

Maxine's: The owner of Oooh Wee It Is has opened an upscale Italian eatery in Chatham called Maxine's with a "10-item menu" that features king crab pasta and "a salmon Pop-Tart," BlockClub reports.

Sunda New Asian: Fifteen years after launching his first Sunda in River North, restaurateur Billy Dec has birthed a second location in Fulton Market, Eater reports.

  • Expect an eclectic blend of Asian dishes, from Filipino crispy pata fried pork hocks and Korean chicken buns to tuna truffle pizza and oxtail pot stickers.

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