Best of 417 2008—Food
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(page 1 of 4)To find out how to contact each and every one of these winners, check out our Best of 417 Resource Guide
Top 5 Restaurants
1. Ocean Zen
It was already extremely popular, but when the Tan familyâs Asian/fusion place moved from cramped Glenstone Avenue quarters to a revamped former Tony Romaâs on Sunshine Street last year, it suddenly became the It Restaurant of All 417-land. Audible oohs and aahs can be heard near its glass-and-metal wine cave near the restaurantâs entrance. As food goes, the Asian/ Western mix is consistently wonderful and inventive.
2. Flame Steakhouse & Wine Bar
This year, the Jalili familyâs steakhouse has outclassed its original Springfield restaurant, Bijanâs, in readersâ rankings. Finely done beef is paired with an extensive wine listâalso showcased in glass and metalâand ancillary dishes such as the Garbage Salad or the Boursin-topped appetizer cheeseburgers add fun fillips to classic steakhouse fare.
3. Bijanâs Sea & Grille
If youâre a newcomer to town wondering if this restaurant is somehow connected to the Bijanâs Bistro in Chicago, the answer is no: Our Bijanâs, which signaled a new era in Springfield when it opened in 1997âis both indie and serves higher-end cuisine than its Windy City sound-alike. Owned by the Jalili family, Bijanâs embodies the notion of âwhimsical gourmet bistroâ in Springfieldâs imagination.
Young Junâs Japanese restaurant stands out for the quality of its fish, which is flown in from the West Coast on a six-hour turnaround. The restaurant expanded in 2003, adding a slick bar/dining area that prefigured the atmospherics of Kai, its new downtown outpost.
5. Metropolitan Grill
Could you eat flash-fried spinach all day long? For certain members of our editorial department, the answer is yes, please. When chef-owner Pat Duran took over the reins from former owner Fred Coco in 2005, Metro Grill began a journey toward updating itself with new dishes like pumpkin manicotti. This year, it became the social restaurant for the MillwoodâHighland Springs set.