Topper's Top List: The Best Things I Ate In 2018

December 31, 2018

Top Restaurants Chicago

I'm back with my fourth annual list of the best foods I ate this year! Keeping track of all of the restaurant openings in Chicago is my side gig, and let me tell you, there were at least 10 openings each month (and a slurry of closings, sadly) making it even harder to pick my favorite dishes. 2018 was also filled with domestic and international travel, so you'll find a few of my favorites are not from Chicago.

In no particular order, here is my list of the best things I ate in 2018!

1) 12 Layer German Chocolate Cake at Moody Tongue. Man was this thing DECADANT. After you try it, you have to try making it (and invite me over).

Pilsen Chicago
12 Layer German Chocolate Cake

2) The Red Devil Pizza at Longacre. Amazing goat cheese and perfectly crispy corners. Added bonus: they deliver.

Longacre Chicago
The Red Devil Pizza

3) Marinated Goat Cheese at Bar Ramone. This was seriously to die for and seriously simple.

Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants
Marinated Goat Cheese
4) Matcha and Yuzu Croissant at Supermoon Bakehouse (New York, NY). This is an incredibly beautiful croissant and I loved the grassy matcha with the bright yuzu citrus flavor.

New York Bakery
Matcha Yuzu Croissant

New York Bakery
Matcha Yuzu Croissant
5) Coffee and Doughnuts French Toast at 3 Squares Diner. This cozy neighborhood diner made the single best piece of French Toast I have ever tasted. They use coffee in the glaze making it the perfect breakfast.

Uptown, Chicago
Coffee and Doughnuts French Toast
6) Green Chile Queso at Torchy's Tacos (Austin, TX). I'm still looking for this type of queso in Chicago - if you've found it, let me know!

Austin, Texas Restaurants
Green Chile Queso & Chips

7) Tsukemen Ramen at Rokunrisha (Tokyo, Japan). This style of ramen involves dipping cold noodles in the hot ramen broth. Those fresh noodles were so incredible and have now ruined stateside ramen for me forever.

Tokyo Ramen Street
Tsukemen Ramen
8) Pub Royale Butter Chicken Pizza at Roots Pizza. One of the best collaborations between two Chicago restaurants. What's better than Roots Pizza? Pub Royale's Butter Chicken on top.

Pub Royale
Pub Royale Butter Chicken Pizza

9) Squash Mochi with Maitakes and Brussels Sprouts at State Bird Provisions (San Francisco, CA). I fell in love with mochi in Japan and this dish was like eating the perfect mochi gnocchi.

Best San Francisco Restaurants
Squash Mochi
10) Roasted Half Chicken Shawarma with Hummus, Pita, and Pomegranate at Avec.  I know what you're thinking -- ordering chicken at a restaurant? Yes, and it was the best decision ever. The combo of juicy chicken, creamy hummus, and charred hearth-baked pita was perfect.

Top Chicago Restaurants
Roasted Half Chicken Shawarma

11) Peanut Butter Pie at Michael Jordan's Restaurant. I know most people know MJ's Restaurant for its 23 Layer Chocolate Cake, but it's the Peanut Butter Pie that blew me away. It was hard not to finish the entire slice from the Oreo crust and chiffon filling, to the creamy housemade whipped cream topping.

Oakbrook, IL Restaurant

12) Black Truffle Croquetes at S.K.Y.  There are so many excellent dishes at S.K.Y. but one item that stood out to me was the crispy and creamy Black Truffle Croquettes with aged white cheddar and jalapeno.

Pilsen Chicago Restaurants
Black Truffle Croquettes

I hope you have a happy 2019! What were some of the best things you ate or drank in 2018?


  1. I HAVE to have that french toast! And it was equally difficult for me to choose just one standout dish from S.K.Y. for my list!

    1. I think they change the French Toast seasonally too! Happy New Year!

  2. You are well done! I have been reading your blog for a long time, but decided to write for the first time!


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