As of this month, I have been the Tribune's restaurant critic for 25 years. A quarter-century.
When I filed my first Tribune review, the best restaurant in the area was Le Francais, although a 2-year-old restaurant called Charlie Trotter's was gathering a lot of attention. Topolobampo, Rick Bayless' fine-dining Mexican restaurant, was a few weeks away from opening.
Top-rated (three stars or more) restaurants then, that are no longer around now, included Alouette, Ambria, Cafe Provencal, The Cottage, Jimmy's Place, La Boheme, La Tour, Le Titi de Paris, Les Plumes, Printer's Row, the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room, Terczak's and 302 West. And I got to eat at them all.