In the Raw: the Top 5 Raw Bars in Chicago

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Even though Chicago resides in a landlocked state, our seafood remains on par with the best in the nation. Some foods are better simple. plain. unembellished. Raw bars are one of those items, the cleaner, crisper the taste, the more delicate the shellfish. So shucks, go all out at these picks.

1 The Publican

Featuring pork and seafood preparations, the menu is best described by chefs Paul Kahan and Brian Huston as “pristine product, simply prepared,” an approach to food Kahan has long espoused in all of his kitchens. The Publican boasts the simplest cuisine of all three properties, each dish stripped of adornment and containing only essential ingredients. Pristinely fresh oysters, hand-selected for the restaurant from purveyors with whom the culinary team has formed partnerships over the past year, anchor the fish portion of the American contemporary offerings.

837 W. Fulton Market. 312.733.9555.

2 C-House

A New American Seafood and Chophouse featuring an open kitchen and east/west raw bar in a stunning rootop setting. Also offering selections of artisan cheeses, cured meats and fishes, and a candy bar.

116 E. Superior St. 312.523.0923.

3 Balsan

Balsan in the Elysian is a neighborhood restaurant if your neighborhood happened to be tucked onto a lively cobblestone Parisian street in 1920. Seasonal ingredients from 65 local farms drive the ever-changing menu and “hand-crafted” is actually a process, not a buzzword.

11 E. Walton St. 312.646.1400.

4 Shaw’s Crab House

Shaw's is two restaurants in one – a jazzy, sophisticated, seafood restaurant and a carefree, lively oyster bar. Both serve top-grade fish and shellfish, varieties of oysters, sushi and sashimi.

1 E. Hubbard St. 312.527.2722.

5 Catch 35

A Catch-22 at Catch 35. The dilemma is the menu. The range of seafood choices is so interesting it's hard to choose. Variety, appeal, flavor - Catch 35 has quietly and steadfastly fashioned itself into one of the top seafood restaurants in Chicago.

35 W. Wacker Dr. 312.346.3500.

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