Logan Square's Mi Tocaya Antojeria isn’t kidding about the “Mi” (me)—chef Dávila gives recipes from her Mexican family a refined spin in her small Mexican cafe. Proof can be found in her uncle’s recipe for tender beef tongue in a peanut butter sauce or mama’s lamb albondigas. 2800 W. Logan Blvd.
Ever try the The Publican's pizza? Odds are no, since Lutzow only made it for staff meals back when he worked there. Fortunately, now the rest of us have access to his seasonal artisan pies, which are wonderfully crispy and chewy in all the right places, at Pizzeria Bebu. Can't decide between the carbonara with housemade pancetta or the funghi? Here, you can order them in half-and-half versions. Genius. 1521 N. Fremont St.
A Marie-Jeanne is both a size of wine bottle and a sweet old aunt who whips up deliciously comfy things in the kitchen. Both fit Simmons’ informal Café Marie Jeanne, where a smoked trout omelet makes a simple, chic dinner. 1001 N. California Ave.
At Lincoln Park's Willow Room, a charming rehabbed 135-year-old tavern, this Nico Osteria vet makes sunny food with global touches, ranging from Italy-meets-South tagliatelle with sausage and turnip greens to roasted cauliflower with zhug, an addictive Middle Eastern hot sauce. 1800 N. Halsted St.
While Publican Anker may take inspiration from its older, beloved sibling, The Publican, with a similar earthy and beer-friendly focus, chef Walker has also established his own identity at this hip Wicker Park spot with dishes such as green chili fish stew with chewy fregola. And like at The Publican, you'll find a perfectly roasted chicken too. Family values, indeed. 1576 N. Milwaukee Ave.