Oysters, dumplings and killer bar food dominated our list of the best appetizers and sides of 2016. But we also found some gems at Chicago’s Mexican restaurants and sushi spots. Whether you want some breakfast potatoes to go along with brunch or killer guacamole, these are the best appetizers and sides of the year (in no particular order).
Feeling like you can’t quite make a decision at Shaw’s? With the cold appetizer combination, you don’t have to. You’ll get oysters, jumbo shrimp, Maine lobster tail, and blue crab fingers—all with cocktail sauce and lemons to dress them with. $22 per person.
This Lincoln Park restaurant serves seriously good sushi and sashimi, but the real star is a dish that isn’t always on the menu: the uni. You can order it served on top of rice or on its own, though we prefer with the rice. It’s a perfect display of what uni should taste like: tantalizingly briny and buttery, smooth and worth every penny. $18 for two pieces.
One of the best pasta dishes we ate in a year of superlatives, this porcellino agnolotti comprises pillows of pasta stuffed with slow roasted pork and prosciutto brodo, topped with a creamy citrus– and sage-packed sauce. Simple, cozy perfection. $16.95.
In April, Julian Cox revamped the Three Dots and a Dash cocktail menu that we’ve known for the past few years, keeping beloved favorites and adding a few of his own twists. The Pearl Diver is a tiki classic, but this one is inspired by the drink that’s ordered by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie in Django Unchained. Considering its mix of a few different Scotches and a clarified butter syrup, we’ll take two. $14.