Whether the aim is to boost buzz with sold-out nights or to make fine dining more intimate, tiny restaurants are a big thing.

Buenos Aires

Argentine chef Isidoro Dil- lon and partner Vanessa Bell keep the monthly location of their Bread & Butter supper club a secret – previous pop-ups have included a Palermo warehouse and antique stores – until guests contact them through Instagram. Dillon, who made a name for himself with his Nordic restaurant, Söder, serves his signature Scandinavian-accented cuisine in the 15-seat pop-up, where offerings may include trout with miso carrots, or duck with beets, morels, and truffle milk.

Bread & Butter’s confit artichoke with smoked sorrel hollandaise sauce.


Oriole isn’t just small, it’s well concealed. The 28- seat hideaway is accessed by a freight elevator off an alley-like West Loop lane. Worth the trek, chef Noah Sandoval’s fare spans 16 courses that draw on the flavors of Italy, Latin America, and beyond in dishes such as Alaskan king crab with aguachile and chicharróns, and cu- cumber sorbet with basil, Champagne, and tonka beans. 661 West Walnut Street.

Crab with fresh herbs at Oriole.


In the vineyard-bordering 19th District, German chef Juan Amador promptly earned two Michelin stars within a year of opening the 40-seat Amador’s Wirtshaus & Greisslerei. Seven- and eight-course menus draw on global ingredients from far (Cuban rum, purple curry) and near (local snails). Grinzingerstrasse 86.


Friends Jon Nicolaou and Chris White keep every- thing trim at their 30-seat Brothers Food & Wine, from the space above a Yorkville subway station to the menu. Locavore dishes get spare descriptions (e.g., mackerel, tomato, aioli), and wine pairings from a global list are spot on – all adding up to satisfaction greater than the sum of its parts. 1240 Bay Street.


Pasture, an Auckland newcomer that defines DIY, feeds no more than 20 guests at a time. Chef Ed Verner, together with co-owner and wife Laura Verner, runs a scratch kitchen, brining everything from wild fennel to nasturtium seed pods, making lemon verbena vinegar, and fermenting local raw honey. Items on the tasting menu range from duck cooked over a wood fire to Camembert-like aged butter with house-made sourdough. Beverage options include natural wine or handmade tea and juice pairings. 235 Parnell Road.

Pasture’s dish of potato, kombu seaweed, and black Périgord truffle.