We are thrilled today to announce the winners of the Chicago Tribune’s annual Readers’ Choice Dining Awards.

Wait. What? The Tribune is announcing Dining Awards winners when restaurants are closed? We are, indeed, because our restaurants need our support now more than ever, and this group of restaurants deserves to be celebrated right now.

Earlier this month, we decided to delay this announcement because the coronavirus pandemic had prompted a statewide closure of restaurant dining rooms. It was not the time. We wanted to wait until restaurants reopened.

Since then, Chicago and suburban restaurants have pivoted, remaking their menus and streamlining their operations to build a pickup and delivery response that has been nothing short of impressive.

Most of the award winners remain open for pickup and delivery. They need our support, as do all the restaurants and bars across the area.

These awards, chosen by you, across 15 categories, recognize the restaurants for their work in 2019. We include information on those that are open for delivery and takeout. And we await, as all of you do, the time when we can visit all of these winners again, and indeed all of Chicago’s restaurants.

— Joe Gray

Food & Dining Editor

Best New Restaurant


This was a hotly contested category, and not just because we placed 12 restaurants on the ballot instead of the five in most of the other categories. Last year was a strong one for Chicago newcomers, and even narrowing the field to a dozen was difficult. You voters proved to be as conflicted as we were; fewer than 20 votes separated second place from sixth, and there was no shame being in the middle of the pack. Nevertheless, there was a clear winner: Pizzeria Portofino, the riverside Italian place that spent most of last summer playing to standing-room-only crowds, finished well ahead of second-place Galit, the Lincoln Park Middle-Eastern restaurant that was wildly popular in its own right, and the Moody Tongue Dining Room, the South Loop newbie helmed by chef Jared Wentworth. 317 N. Clark St., pizzeriaportofino.com. Temporarily closed.

— Phil Vettel