Nick's Best New Chicago Restaurants of 2013

[Photograph: Chelsea Ross]

Picking the best new Chicago restaurants of 2013 is kind of arbitrary, no? I mean, not only did a number of great restaurants open this year, but they were all so different from each other. Do you prefer impeccably grilled Japanese food, extra-crunchy fried chicken, or freshly grilled carne asada? If you're like me, you want all of it, which made it such a thrill to dine out this year.

If you read my A Day in the Life post, you know that my schedule changed dramatically this year, and there were a few months where I wasn't able to get out and try as many new restaurants as I would have liked. I'm going to go ahead and apologize for not including Juno, Dusek's, and Tanta. I can't wait to catch up with them in 2014.

I'm also tossing in a few restaurants that officially opened in late 2012, but I think I have a fair excuse for this one, too. I like give new places a few weeks to a month before checking them out, so if a restaurant opens in December, it usually takes until the new year for me to get in.

Okay, now that I've qualified all of my picks, let's actually get to the food.