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Ever wonder what your favorite chef’s go-to spot is when they eat out? Well, we did, too. It was a tough call for many of them, but here’s what some of the most beloved chefs narrowed down as the best meal they ate in Chicago in 2013.

Gale Gand — Founding partner, Tru

Best meal: Rotisserie Lamb sandwich and Porchetta sandwich

Restaurant: Eataly, 43 E. Ohio,; Eataly.com/eataly-Chicago

The skinny: “This sandwich is life changing! Moist pork, heady with garlic and herbs, that’s been wrapped in skin-on pork belly and roasted on a spit for hours, then sliced hot, sprinkled with coarse salt and piled into a split crusty freshly baked loaf of Italian bread. The outer layer of fat gets crispy while the interior stays juicy. Make sure you have two to three napkins to catch the juice that unavoidably runs down your arms as you eat it.”

Art Smith — Executive chef and owner, Table Fifty-Two

Best meal: Pulled Chicken Chilaquiles: Pulled White Chicken Breast, Guajillo sauce, Homemade Tortilla Chips, Chiuahua Cheese, house-made Queso Fresco and Bridgeport Coffee Cappuccino

Restaurant: Indy Cafe, 5654 Indianapolis Blvd., East Chicago, Ind.

The skinny: “You know, I spent my life cooking for billionaires and have eaten in the best restaurants in the world, but there are no better restaurants than Chicago and its surrounding area family-owned restaurants. These lovely people are cooking their hearts out and Chef Hector Guerrero’s dish tasted amazing. A lot of places make chilaquiles but this one was absolutely incredible with the pulled chicken, savory but spicy. Guajillo sauce with just enough Chiuahua cheese, and extra special homemade queso fresco. Don’t miss the homemade croissants (he uses only French butter) and homemade bagels. Every bite is worth the hike!”

Dobra Bielinski — Founding partner, Delightful Pastries

Best meal: Housemade Pate, Filet Mignon with Wild Mushrooms, Skate with Truffled Tater Tots

Restaurant: Longman and Eagle, 2657 N. Kedzie Ave., LongmanAndEagle.com

The skinny: “It was dinner out with friends. The in-house pate was just finger-licking good. We had numerous desserts but the one that stood out had a chocolate custard with cherries and cookies in between. All the plates were licked clean much to our embarrassment.”

Read more here!


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