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Always a premiere dining destination, the Windy City has seen an unusually large number of new restaurant openings in the past year, reflecting a robust economy and pent-up demand. Italian and seafood concepts seem to dominate, with some Asian and American comfort food thrown in the mix. Here are the latest openings in or near downtown.
43 E. Ohio St.
Power partners Oscar Farinetti, Mario Batali and Lidia and Joe Bastianich have opened a Chicago outpost of their gigantic collection of 23 Italian-inspired eateries and two-story gourmet market. It boasts 63,000 square feet of fresh pastas, pizzas, fish, bread, wine and gelato, along with the massively popular Nutella bar. Baffo, the white-tablecloth flagship and the only eatery that takes reservations, offers a multicourse sampling of Italy’s best and brightest.