This year has been good to Chicago.

A spate of recent restaurant openings means there has never been a better time to eat your way through the culinary capital of the Midwest. Here, our whirlwind eating tour of the Windy City:

Publican Quality Meats: Packed with house-made sausages, charcuterie and nearly every cut known to man, the butcher case at this new Fulton Market shop is a stunner. But chef Paul Kahan’s newest is no one-trick pony: Go for a lunch of green-garlic soup and a loaded yellowtail-escabeche sandwich with roasted-tomato-lime aioli.

Yusho: What do you do after 14 years at the helm of Charlie Trotter? If you’re Matthias Merges, you turn your passion for Japanese cuisine into a small, stylish and relaxed restaurant. Here you’ll find skin tastings (salmon, chicken and pork), grilled maitake mushrooms with dashi gelée and a slew of yakitori--with smart cocktails to match. 

Au Cheval: The latest from local chef-turned-restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff of Maude’s Liquor Bar and Gilt Bar draws inspiration from American diners and French bistros. Slide into a leather-backed booth for blue-cheese-and-caramelized-onion omelets, potato hash with duck-heart gravy and chopped chicken liver with toast.

Balena: This newcomer, helmed by chef Chris Pandel of the Bristol, is home to some of the city’s most exciting Italian cooking. Its cocktail list is packed with amaro-based drinks; pair them with pasta studded with crab and sea urchin. End the night with a sundae of pistachio gelato, burnt-orange caramel and pistachio nougat.