Katsu, Kuma’s Corner, Topolobampo rated among Chicago’s top restaurants by Zagat

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In a poll of 7,634 diners, who averaged 4.7 meals per week at more than 1,100 eateries across the city, Zagat compiled and has now released its list of Chicago’s best restaurants for 2014.

The winner in the “Top Food” category is not what many foodies might have expected, according to www.zagat.com. “In one of the year’s biggest surprises, Katsu, the Rogers Park hole-in-the-wall sushi spot, takes the win in this category with Grant Achatz’s culinary empire of Next and Alinea trailing closely behind,” the site states.

Here are the winners in the remaining nine key categories along with Zagat’s comments:

“Top Decor: Surveyors were impressed by rooftop restaurant and bar at the Peninsula Hotel’s Shanghai Terrace, which is adorned with scenic Asian imports on the inside and features lush cabanas overlooking the Chicago skyline on the terrace.

“Top Service: As far as standards of excellence go, Next sets the bar very high with its team of staff seamlessly executing a multicourse menu that changes three times per year.

“Most Popular: If given the choice to eat only one meal in Chicago and on an unlimited budget, chances are good that meal would take place at Grant Achatz’s culinary wonderland Alinea.

“Top Italian: The Milanese native who is not only Riccardo Trattoria’s owner but also its namesake serves his family recipes in this comfortable Lincoln Park restaurant.

Smoque was voted Top BBQ restaurant by Zagat. | Sun-Times Photo

“Top BBQ: Between the expertly smoked meats, the handcrafted sauce and a slew of sides, Smoque takes the top BBQ titles with a one-two punch of flavor.

“Top Hot Dogs: From the classic Chicago-style to the exotic alligator sausage, Hot Doug’s serves up a wide array of encased meats to those willing to wait in line.

“Top Burgers: Kuma’s Corner maintained its title as the prince of patties. With the addition of a second location in Lincoln Park, more burger fans can enjoy the best in Chicago with a side of heavy metal.

Rick Bayless’ Topolobampo was rated the top Mexican restaurant in Chicago by Zagat. | Sun-Times Photo

“Top Mexican: Topolobampo maintains its firm grasp on the top spot of the Top Mexican list. Rick Bayless’ upscale Mexican institution seemingly can do no wrong as it continues to attract locals and visitors from around the world.

Spacca Napoli is rated the Top Pizza spot in Chicago by Zagat. | Sun-Times photo

“Top Pizza: Authentic Neapolitan-style pizza has a thin, bubbly crust covered in a tangy tomato sauce and gooey cheese. The pie at Spacca Napoli captures the essence of the simple preparation.”

Crain’s Chicago Business has the results of the most popular restaurants by category at www.chicagobusiness.com.

The complete Zagat list of Chicagos’ best, including runners-up, is available here.

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