Easily lost midst mountains of Italian cheese, sausage and pasta, Le Verdure—Eataly’s vegetarian restaurant—stands forth as an oasis of simpler chow. Though obviously leaning heavily on the vegetable world, the chefs are not doctrinaire, and they show they can play loose with the definition of “vegetable” by not being shy about using anchovies in their bagna cauda (because, really, how else could you make it?). Still, this place astounds with simplicity, and mostly devout vegans and militant meat eaters will dig the lightly fried seasonal vegetables and many marvelous salads.
43 E. Ohio, 312.521.8700, eataly.com
Audience Choice: Il Formaggi/I Salumi
Best of Chicago 2014