Chicago’s Best of the Best 2016: See the Best Donut, Pizza, Restaurant, Cocktail Bar (and More) of the Year

Looking for the best of the best in the Chicago area? Here are the best donut shops, best pizza, best culinary newcomers, best wine restaurants, best cocktail bars and best outdoor dining destination the area has to offer, according to 2016 reviews. Enjoy!

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Courtesy of Kasia Mierzejewska
The Heart of Europe Cafe in Barrington made Buzzfeed's 2016 list of the most popular doughnut shops in every state. Illinois' is known for its take on a Hungarian dessert called "chimney cakes" -- dough made from scratch that is hand rolled onto a rod and baked in a special oven before being filled with nutella, honey or peanut butter and covered in sprinkles, oreos or cinnamon and sugar.
Two Chicago bakeries made Thrillist's annual list of the best doughnut shops in America: Do-Rite Donuts and Doughnut Vault. Thrillist says Do-Rite "does the fancy-donut basics right" (chocolate old fashioned, pistachio-Meyer lemon) and "also pushes the creative envelope" (fried-chicken donut sandwiches). Of Doughnut Vault, it says, "stop by on the early side for an array of some of the best old-fashioned-style donuts in the city, like toasted almond, coconut cream, and lemon poppy seed."
Gino's East vía Facebook
The Daily Meal’s 2016 list of Best Pizzas in America disappointed deep-dish pie loves in Chicago as iconic Second City 'zas didn’t make the Top 10, or even the Top 20. But it captured some good ones later on: Pequod’s (no. 24), Coalfire Pizza’s margherita (no. 28), Gino’s East’s cheese deep dish (no. 33), Piece’s pepperoni and banana peppers (no. 34), Giordano’s Classic Deep Dish (no. 43), Pizano’s Rudy’s Special (no. 54), Vito & Nick’s Sausage (no. 55) and Lou Malnati’s Chicago Classic (no. 67).
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Three Chicago eateries made Eater's annual list of “America’s Best Restaurants”: Alinea, Parachute and The Publican, all named once again on the list as “returning greats.” Alinea was also dubbed an Eater hall of fame restaurant, meaning it has been on the list for three consecutive years
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Illinois was only one of three states to have three restaurants make OpenTable's 2016 "100 Best Restaurants in America." All in Chicago, they include Bavettes in River North, goosefoot in Ravenswood/Lincoln Square and Oriole in the West Loop.
Five Chicago restaurants made OpenTable’s list of “100 Best Restaurants for Foodies in America” for 2016. The honorees were named after the company analyzed more than five million reviews on more than 20,000 restaurants across the country. They include: Boka, Lincoln Park; Brindille, River North; Girl & The Goat, West Loop; Goosefoot, Ravenswood; and Les Nomades, River East.
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Four Chicago eateries were named in Bon Appetit's 2016 Top 50 best new restaurants. Boeufhaus, Monteverde, Pub Royale and Roister all made the cut as representatives in the delectable list as representatives of the Windy City on the culinary magazine’s “most memorable restaurants we ate at this year.”
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Six Chicago restaurants were named in Wine Enthusiast’s list of "America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2016." Restaurants were chosen based on respective categories rather than ranking. Intro Chicago was "New & Noteworthy," Maple & Ash was “Upgraded Steakhouse,” Osteria Langhe was “Amazing Laser-Focused Wine List,” Parachute was “Not to be Missed,” Sepia was “Excellent By-the-Glass Program” and Spiaggia was “Classic.”
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The top cocktail bars in the Windy City were recognized with the first Chicago Bar Awards hosted by Time Out Chicago. Bars included: The Whistler (Bar Of The Year), The Sixth (Best New Cocktail Bar), Sportsman’s Club (Best Bartender/Team), Delilah’s (Best Single Focus Bar), Nico Osteria (Best Restaurant Bar), The Heavy Feather (Best Design), Hopleaf (Best Beer Bar).
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Chicago’s Homestead on the Roof has been named one of the best places in the country to enjoy dining outdoors. After analyzing more than 5 million reviews from diners across the nation, the rustic West Town restaurant was voted to OpenTable’s “100 Best Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America.”
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