Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Best of the Decade 2010-19: My Favorite Restaurants

Over the past 10 years, I've enjoyed many fine meals in restaurants with dear friends, relatives, colleagues or just on my own.

Many of these occasions were quite special to me, far beyond the food consumed.

Some stand out among my favorite moments of the decade.

But to be clear, this category--highlighting some of the best restaurants I patronized--is only about the food, the service, the ambiance, perhaps the setting, not the company I may have been with.

There are enough places that I feel warrant commemoration to justify this post, but candidly I can't recall every place I had a good meal.

So I will limit things to a few categories, not meant to be exhaustive nor exclusive.

If in the Search Bar, you search for "Memorable Meals," you'll find several Year-End recaps that have greater acuity than this post will (although I varied formats from year-to-year giving the inexactness of trying to compare restaurants of different types.

And if you search, or click the hyperlink atop (on the web version), for "Chicago World Dining Tour" you can find about 50 restaurant recaps I did for Chicagoland eateries of different ethnicities.

That was a fun series, but if asked, "Which were the best places tried and featured?" honestly, I can't recall.

And I really have little barometer for trying to choose between several Chicago steakhouses I patronized. I ate at most just once, and can't recall any not being terrific, with delineations made harder if I didn't order the same cut of steak at each, which I didn't.

So take this for what it's worth. Perhaps some food for thought.

High-End Gourmet, anywhere

1. Picasso - Las Vegas
2. Maido - Lima, Peru
3. Astrid y Gaston - Lima, Peru
4. Jean-Georges - New York
5. Le Cirque - New York
6. Jiki Miyazawa - Kyoto
7. Pujol - Mexico City
8. Passion by Martín Berasategui - Playa del Carmen
9. Sea Lounge - Mumbai
10. Cosme - New York
11. Everest - Chicago

Honorable Mention: Azul Historico - Mexico City, Blackbird - Chicago, Frontera Grill - Chicago, La Rosa Nautica - Lima, Meson Sabika - Naperville, IL

Steaks, Chops & BBQ

1. Cut by Wolfgang Puck - Las Vegas

Chicagoland Steakhouses (in alphabetical order)
The Capital Grille
Del Frisco's
Chicago Cut Steakhouse
Jack Binion's Steakhouse
Kinzie Chophouse
Michael Jordan's
Pete Miller's
Prime & Provisions
Rosebud Prime
Smith & Wollensky
Stefani Prime
Swift & Sons
Weber Grill

Other Steakhouses Outside Chicago
Cabana Las Lilas - Buenos Aires 
Desnival  - Buenos Aires)
Keens - New York City
Pierpont's - Kansas City

Barbecue & Churrascaria 
Carson's - Deerfield, IL 
Fogo de Chao - Chicago 
Gale Street Inn - Chicago
L. Woods - Lincolnwood, IL 
Marius Degustare - Rio de Janeiro 
Pappy's Smokehouse - St. Louis
Real Urban Barbecue - North Suburban Chicago


1. Poochies - Skokie, IL 
2. Pizano's Pizza - Glenview, IL 
3. Dengeos - Skokie, IL 
4. Players - Highland Park
5. McDonald's
6. Al's #1 Beef 
7. Culvers 
8. Lou Malnati's Pizzeria 
9. Las Fuentes - Morton Grove, IL 
10. The Noodle - Wilmette, IL
11. Steak and Shake
12. Superdawg

Also meriting mention

Hot Doug's - I loved Chicago's premier gourmet sausage emporium, which closed in 2014. Read articles I wrote here and here

New York Bagel & Bialy - Lincolnwood and Skokie, IL. Still the best bagels in the Chicago area. I also love Ess-A-Bagel in New York

The Doughnut Plant - New York. My favorite donuts anywhere.

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