With so few Moroccan spots in Chicago, winning this award feels like being dubbed the tallest man in the Smurf village. But, were there 100 Moroccan spots in town, we’re pretty confident the orange flower water-perfumed sweet-and-savory chicken bastilla and melting lamb-on-the-bone tagine would still hold its own.
Shokran, 4027 West Irving Park, (773)427-9130, shokranchicago.com
Best of Chicago 2012
With walls full of washboards, this dry cleaners has its own “Antique Fabricare Museum.” It’s chock full of soaps and ironing boards and steaming machines that document the history of getting clothes clean. Look for the pink neon sign inside the cleaners’ plate-glass window. Rumor has it even Mr. Bubble and the Snuggle Teddy Bear once toured the joint.
4213 West Irving Park
Best of Chicago 2011
After going to Memphis last year and chowing down at seven of their best BBQ spots, all we really wanted to do was get back to Chicago for Smoque’s sliced brisket and beans infused with the brisket’s molasses-like crispy burnt ends.
3800 North Pulaski
One of the great off-the-beaten-path pubs, the Northwest Side’s Sidekicks houses a supreme darts room (yeah, a whole room) with as high-quality equipment as you could expect, at least from a place where the waiters weave through the crowd offering test-tube-shots of buttery nipples. Sidekicks takes it a step farther and even sells dart supplies, so feel free to show up empty-handed. Of note: the karaoke is
4424 W. Montrose
Best of Chicago 2008