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Local chefs have been busy--and we’re not just talking about Chicago Gourmet. In the past few months, River North got a new hot spot for lobster rolls; the city’s best patio quietly opened in Streeterville. This means one thing: It’s time to hang up the apron and score some reservations. Here’s where we’re dining out next.

Hampton Social

Don’t expect us to decide between the lobster deviled eggs or tuna tartare. Also: lobster pizza? Lobster rolls? Both are pretty compelling. Luckily, after plowing your way through the menu at this new River North spot, you can rest up in a lounge decked with hammocks, pillow-strewn couches and indoor fire pits.

353 W. Hubbard St.; 312-464-0500 or


Hidden on the 18th floor of Northwestern Medicine’s new patient pavilion, GreenRiver is well worth the elevator ride. Your first order of business will be to pick a cocktail from the expansive list. (Study up here.) Then score a seat on the gorgeous patio that has all the spectacular city views but none of the grating, sceney vibe that you’ll find at slick hotels. Eats include saffron spaghetti and smoked whitefish tartines.

259 E. Erie St.; 312-337-0101 or


The Blanchard

Next time we feel very civilized on a Sunday (hey, stranger things have happened), we’re heading to Lincoln Park for some Dover sole meunière. Along with a glass of chilled rosé, we’ll drink in a little design inspiration from the Blanchard’s airy and elegant dining room. P.S.: If foie gras is your thing, you can have yours here with black truffles and candied lavender.

1935 N. Lincoln Park W.; 872-829-3971 or

Wyler Road

Any place that has cheese curds on the menu--and is not a state fair--gets our stamp of approval. One such spot: Wyler Road, a friendly new neighborhood joint in Logan Square. The sandwiches, with fillings such as clam belly and lemon aioli, are the real stars of the show. Also, it makes boozy root-beer floats. What are you still doing here?

3581 W. Belden St.; 773-661-0675 or

Bar Siena

The only thing that could peel us away from the smoked mozzarella at Siena Tavern? Bar Siena, a new West Loop restaurant from--surprise!--the same owners. Decked with fairy lights and exposed bricks, the casual spot is perfect for after-work pizzas (try the prosciutto with figs) and Campari cocktails. Don?t forget about those Nutella calzones.

832 W. Randolph St.; 312-492-7775 or

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