Take fine-dining-style attention to food, mix it with sophisticated playfulness—like a moss- and greenery-filled wall punctuated with portraits of regally dressed cats—and you’ve got Boka. Though there's an 8-course tasting menu for $135, this Lincoln Park restaurant, located two doors down from the much more serious Alinea, breaks its à la carte menu into four sections: cold, hot, entrees, dessert. I have to say that everything Chef Lee Wolen touches turns to culinary gold. Light, fresh flavors dominate (the fluke with ginger, grapefruit, and cilantro goes on my list of top bites, ever, and the loup de mer with blood orange, olives, artichokes, and calamari wasn’t far behind), and while you won’t find molecular gastronomy or organ meats that push you too far out of your comfort zone, you will find a meal that borders on perfection, with simple, honest flavors from start to finish. It all swirls together in an atmosphere that feels celebratory and energetic, rather than the museum-like feel of many fine-dining establishments in Chicago. Reservations strongly recommended.