This year was a big one for restaurants, where winners seemed to open one right after another. We didn’t get to quite all of them (since the end of November Publican Anker, Elske and Temporis have all opened or set an opening date), but we made it to plenty of restaurants ikely to become stalwarts of Chicago’s dining scene. We saw truly sad closings (Bunny would have made this list had it not been for an unexpected closing), tried new fried chicken and sushi restaurants, ate at restaurants that are making their mark on Chicago’s fine dining scene and dined at veggie-centric spots. Thanks for the eats, 2016.

Naoki Sushi

There’s a secret passageway through the kitchen of Lettuce Entertain You’s Intro, and it leads to this sushi haven. Are you the kind of raw-fish vet who knows your maki from your nigiri? Or more of a novice? The latest project from Naoki Nakashima is a delight, either way. Whatever camp you land in, dinner wouldn’t be complete without the rotating sashimi and nigiri specials and the melting salmon nigiri with smoked soy and shallot.