The Bristol

2152 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, USA

Locals, out-of-towners, and food-and-bev industry crowds alike flock to this Bucktown restaurant—one of the first to modernize the fine dining scene in Chicago with louder music, less showiness, and no white tablecloths. Settle into banquette seating for chef Todd Stein’s contemporary American plates, all of which feature a strong focus on nose-to-tail cooking. Experience it in favorites like the crispy pig ears (with kimchi BBQ sauce and lime), Amish half-chicken (with mustard and dill spätzle and chicken jus), whole trout (with manzanilla and caper relish), and porchetta (stuffed with fennel-garlic sausage alongside brussels sprouts and plums). Do save room for dessert—the Basque cake, a decadent finale with pastry cream, seasonal fruit compote, and walnuts, is one of the city’s most celebrated sweet fixes.

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