The Chicago Tribune’s Critic’s Choice Dining Awards honor outstanding work in 2018 and parts of 2017. (Achievement doesn’t always adhere to the calendar.) Our honorees embody excellence and innovation, beginning with our Chef of the Year, Diana Davila. Other honorees range from impressive newcomers to industry veterans who found new ways to tell their stories. They include a chef who planned to leave but didn’t, a chef who returned after a two-decade absence, a chef who has made a name for himself (even though many of his fans can’t spell it) and a chef who oversaw a half-dozen cuisines without becoming known for any one of them.

Together, they defined Chicago dining in 2018.

The Jack of All Trades

Doug Psaltis


When Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises signed on to manage Booth One and awake the echoes of the venerable Pump Room (where Booth One stands), there really was no question which chef would head the project: Doug Psaltis, the go-to chef for myriad Lettuce projects. Psaltis is the “P” in RPM Steak and RPM Italian (with another RPM in the works), and oversees Bar Ramone, Bub City, Ramen-San, Sushi-San and more. They just don’t come any more versatile than this gentleman.

1301 N. State Parkway


Restaurant website

Read Phil Vettel’s review