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New Dining Destinations

Lucky for us, Chicago’s white-hot restaurant scene is always offering something new, from the perfect fried chicken to Japanese cuisine from a Top Chef master. Here are five hot spots you’ll be sure to find us at this month.

Sophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue

1. Sophie’s
Named after Saks Fifth Avenue’s fashion arbiter Sophie Gimbel, this elegant resto in the luxe retailer’s Michigan Avenue flagship is the perfect spot for a late breakfast, lunch or an après shopping pick-me-up. Standouts on Executive Chef Ron Aleman’s menu include the jumbo lump crab cake ($14 and our personal favorite) and the Wagyu hamburger ($17) served with housemade Sriracha ketchup. Also not to be missed: The inspired cocktail list, especially the bourbon cherry sour and the house martini (both $12). 700 N. Michigan Ave., seventh floor, 312.525.3400

2. Leghorn Chicken
The hit-makers behind Nellcôte, RM Champagne Salon and the recently-opened Kinmont have another winner on their hands, considering the buzz surrounding their newest venture, Leghorn Chicken. A highly customizable menu of fried chicken sandwiches will please any palate, and we’ve been hearing rave reviews about the buttermilk biscuits and green chile hush puppies. 959 N. Western Ave., 773.394.4444

3. Pearl Tavern
The Loop has long been lacking when it comes to stellar dining options, but Pearl Tavern is upping the ante with its oyster and seafood-heavy menu and charming bistro atmosphere. Indulge with a dozen oysters (sourced from everywhere from Vancouver Island to Cape Cod Bay) while enjoying a cocktail or two at the bar. Our favorite? The High Tide ($12), an inventive combo of Ketel One Citron, ginger liqueur, lemon, egg white and simple syrup. 180 N. Wacker Drive, 312.629.1030

4. Japonais by Morimoto
We counted ourselves fortunate to be among the guests at this famed restaurant’s reopening under Morimoto’s banner, and the bites we tasted that night did not disappoint. On our next visit, we fully intend to tuck in to the lamb carpaccio ($17) and calamari and quinoa salad ($17), along with a few maki rolls. On the libations side, we’re still dreaming about the beet-infused vodka cocktail that was inspired as it was refreshing. 600 W. Chicago Ave., 312.822.9600

5. Bottlefork Bar and Kitchen
Rockit Ranch Productions latest culinary endeavor helmed by Four Seasons alum Kevin Hickey is poised to become our new River North go-to, thanks to a bevy of shareable plates (the $14 braised beef cheek poutine certainly caught our eye) and globally inspired mains—think Moroccan pumpkin stew ($19) and buttermilk fried rabbit legs ($29). We’ll take ours with a half carafe of Smith & Hook cabernet sauvignon ($28). 441 N. Clark St., 312.955.1900