If you’re anything like us, you’re probably wondering where the hell the first half of 2018 went. Since this year shows no signs of slowing down, now feels like a good time to acknowledge the new restaurants and bars that have really blown us away. Though they’re all recent additions to Chicago, these spots have burrowed their way into our hearts, becoming trusty standbys for special occasions and Saturday nights out.

The majority of these restaurants opened just this year, but we couldn’t resist sneaking in a few exceptional late bloomers from 2017 for good measure. These six restaurants are well on their way to becoming some of the best in Chicago.

Sushi-San: There’s no shortage of excellent sushi joints in Chicago, but only one can claim expert chef Kaze Chan. This River North restaurant from Lettuce Entertain You delivers pristine raw fish prepared with simple techniques. There’s plenty of maki to choose from, but insiders know to order from the San-Sets portion of the menu, where you can sample Kaze’s finest cuts.