Phil Vettel, a graduate of Eastern Illinois University, joined Tribune Company (at Suburban Trib) in 1979, and has been The Tribune’’s restaurant critic since 1989. He has a wife and two sons, one or more of whom often accompany Phil on his culinary adventures. He also makes a mean egg-salad sandwich.

Recent Articles
  • Vettel: Virtue offers sophisticated take on Southern staples, grounded in history ★★★

    Boasting Southern country charm and urban sophistication, Virtue, which opened in November in Hyde Park, is a new restaurant that belongs on your to-visit list, according to food critic Phil Vettel. Chef and owner Erick Williams, last seen as executive chef at the highly regarded MK restaurant, applies his fine-dining skill set to Southern staples, which is not at all contradictory. “Through my career — Italian and French predominantly — ingredients overlap. Kale is very close to collard greens, as […]

  • Phil Vettel reviews Amerikas

  • Phil Vettel reviews Twain

  • Phil Vettel reviews Two Lights

    CHICAGO, Ill. — A new Old Town restaurant aims to brings the tastes of the Maine coast to Chicago. Dining Critic Phil Vettel shares his thoughts on Two Lights.

  • Phil Vettel reviews Le Sud

  • Phil Vettel reviews Funkenhausen

  • Phil Vettel reviews Free Rein

    CHICAGO, Ill. — Free Rein is the Where’s Waldo of Chicago restaurants, hiding in plain sight behind a reflective-glass facade right on Michigan Avenue. It’s actually easier to see out of the restaurant than it is to see in. The front room is a sort of quick-bite and carryout area overlooking the Michigan Avenue bustle; past the host stand, there’s a two-tiered dining room, a long bar, and gentle lighting from what everybody calls the light-saber chandeliers. One of the star […]

  • Phil Vettel reviews Dutch & Doc’s

    CHICAGO — Dutch & Doc’s is located in Lakeview at 3600 N. Clark St. It’s a new concept by BOKA Restaurant Group and Chef Chris Pandel.

  • Phil Vettel reviews Etta

    CHICAGO, Ill. — Chef Danny Grant snagged two Michelin stars for the restaurant RIA, now closed, and he also runs the acclaimed steakhouse Maple & Ash. His latest project, Etta, is more casual, and, he says, more fun. The fun approach is evident in the dish known as the Pig Picnic, an entree big enough for two or more. In the main pan are sliced pork shoulder and shredded pork belly, surrounded by lettuce, hearth-baked bread and condiments such as vivid-green […]

  • Phil Vettel reviews Monnie Burke’s

    CHICAGO, Ill. — The newest restaurant addition to the Pilsen neighborhood is Monnie Burke’s, a four-month-old charmer with a sedate, dark-wood and green dining room and a long, polished-wood bar.  This summer, however, all the action is outside, as Monnie Burke’s has one of the most appealing outdoor courtyards in the city, replete with umbrella-topped tables, string lights, a sheltered outdoor bar and, for chilly nights, a gas-powered fire pit.   Michael Shrader, a veteran Chicago chef, runs the kitchen, and […]