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15 Tantalizing Dessert Menus in Chicago, 2017 Edition

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The difference between a good and great meal often comes down to the very last bite. No longer relegated to being an afterthought, desserts are having their moments and proving they're an essential part of the dining experience. That's why restaurants around the city are upping their sweets game and continuing to push the envelope beyond the main courses. The following 15 restaurants offer some of the best dessert menus that are definitely not be skipped, no matter how full you are.

From build-your-own ice cream sundaes to decadent chocolate trolleys, these treats are the cherry on top of every meal. But that's not all. Pastry virtuosos, including Mindy Segal and Dana Cree, are showing off their talents and creating beautiful stunners that taste as good as they look. Whatever you crave, though, rest assured knowing those calories are well worth it. Listed in alphabetical order.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Blackbird

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619 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 715-0708
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Few places in Chicago have consistently executed at the high level that Blackbird has since opening nearly two decades ago. The Michelin-starred restaurant continues to innovate and pastry chef Nicole Guini's current dessert offerings include chocolate a sourdough pot de crème and a chocolate-passionfruit ice cream bar.

2. Bombobar

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832 W Randolph Street Chicago, IL, 60607
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 492-7775
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Bomboloni, gelato, and Italian ice, oh my. Satiate the sweet tooth while on the go at this walk-up dessert stand next to Bar Siena. It’s convenient, too, since patrons can take a nice stroll as they eat to burn off the calories.

3. Davanti Enoteca

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1359 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 226-5550
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When in Little Italy, carbo-load on pastas and pizzas before finishing with an irresistible selection of desserts. This Taylor Street standout makes a killer brown butter blondie, topping the whole thing with caramel sauce, almonds, and maple gelato. Other highlights include a cannoli cheesecake and doughnut affogato.

4. Dusek's

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1227 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 526-3851
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Grab dinner and catch a show at one of Pilsen’s hottest venues. Thalia Hall’s beer hall-inspired restaurant has burst onto the scene and earned a Michelin star the past two years. Stop into Dusek’s before a concert for drinks and sweets such as a chocolate pecan tart and tres leches panna cotta.

5. Elske

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1350 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-1314
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Anna and David Posey have been rocking Restaurant Row since their highly-anticipated project arrived at the end of 2016. The couple is turning heads with a hygge-fueled experience that blends fine dining cuisine with an approachable atmosphere. Anna, who was previously the pastry chef at The Publican, keeps her dessert menu short but oh-so-sweet. The constantly-changing creations have included a frozen raspberry meringue with vanilla and brown Norwegian cheese.

6. Formento's

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925 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 690-7295
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The West Loop Italian restaurant does a splendid job of recreating red sauce favorites from grandma’s kitchen. It’s probably safe to say, though, that nonna never made a chocolate cake this rich and decadent. The multi-layered beauty is a cocoa lover’s dream: Chocolate pudding and hazelnut praline interweave to form the base of the dessert and it’s topped with a chocolate ganache coating. It’s a can’t-miss but don’t sleep on the other Italian twists, including salted caramel panna cotta and tiramisu cheesecake.

Kailley Lindman

7. Hot Chocolate

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1747 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 489-1747
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James Beard Award winner Mindy Segal has long reigned as the pastry queen of the city and desserts are the obvious stars of the show at her popular Bucktown restaurant. The rich hot chocolates served with housemade marshmallows are always a treat, but Segal really puts her talent on display on composed dishes like salted caramel and banana frozen nougat pie. Her brioche doughnuts have also been wowing Chicagoans since before the fried dough trend swept across the country.

8. La Sardine

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111 N Carpenter St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 421-2800
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French cuisine is a timeless pleasure and this stalwart bistro has been faithfully cooking the classics for almost two decades. Its soufflés are the crème de la crème—fluffy desserts that are baked to perfection and available in flavors such as chocolate with crème anglaise or Grand Marnier with raspberry sauce. They’re backed by equally solid lineup of creme brûlée, ice creams, and sorbets.

9. Little Goat

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820 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 888-3455
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Stephanie Izard’s West Loop diner encourages guests to embrace their inner children. Dessert for breakfast? Sure thing. Indulge in a smoked pork and toffee crunch milkshake or try a Choco Taco sundae that blows away the grocery store variety. The Top Chef’s ingenuity also shines through on a Cheez-It sundae, made with Cheez-It and strawberry gelato, chocolate-covered Cheez-Its, milk chocolate, strawberry sauce, and whipped cream.

10. Maple & Ash

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8 W Maple St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 944-8888
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No steakhouse experience would be complete without a lavish sundae service. At this stylish meat haven, diners take dessert to the next level by building the whimsical sundaes of their dreams, teeming with hot fudge, salted caramel, whipped cream, sprinkles, nuts, fruits, and much more. If ice cream isn’t enough, savor pastries such as coconut cream pie and raspberry peach puff.

Maple & Ash

11. Nico Osteria

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1015 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 994-7100
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It’s hard to improve upon a classic but Leigh Omilinsky has managed to do so time and time again. The 2013 Jean Blanchet award winner for best pastry chef takes tiramisu to new heights by creating elegant, ever-evolving versions of the popular Italian dessert. Her current one boasts white coffee mousse, frozen sabayon, and hot fudge. Guests will also find cheeses and housemade gelatos and sorbettos for a dazzling finale.

12. RPM Steak

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66 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 284-4990
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It’s only fitting that Lettuce Entertain You’s extravagant chophouse would have equally exquisite dessert service. Enjoy over-the-top sundaes, such as the cookies and cream (ganache ripple, sweet cream ice cream, magic chocolate shell), or baked Alaska that’s flambéed tableside. Even an otherwise ordinary chocolate cake gets the royal treatment, coming covered in “14K” gold flakes.

13. Swift & Sons

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1000 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-9420
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The Boka Group’s ambitious steakhouse offers all kinds of delights and the fun doesn’t stop at dessert. Pastry Chef Lauren Terrill prepares a chocolate trolley full of mini candy bars, cakes, macarons, éclairs and other treats for guests to choose from. Inspired by Parisian pastry shops and dessert carts from the days of yesteryear, it’s a real throwback. Of course, traditional sweets like berry pound cake and cherry cheesecake are available as well.

14. The Bristol

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2152 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 862-5555
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If any restaurant could make this list based off the efforts of one dessert, it would be The Bristol. That’s because the signature basque cake might be the pièce de résistance of the entire menu. The buttery last course features moist, pillowy cake topped with blueberries, candied almonds, and vanilla Chantilly cream. It’s not the only sweet, though, as there are other options available like homemade Nutter Butters served with chocolate crémeux.

15. The Publican

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837 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-9555
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Acclaimed pastry chef Dana Cree heads the dessert program for One Off Hospitality Group’s Publican brand. Folks dining at the beloved European-inspired beer hall can try her down-home sweets, which range from a simple-yet-delicious waffle with honey butter and fruit preserves to housemade ice creams and sorbets.

1. Blackbird

619 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661

Few places in Chicago have consistently executed at the high level that Blackbird has since opening nearly two decades ago. The Michelin-starred restaurant continues to innovate and pastry chef Nicole Guini's current dessert offerings include chocolate a sourdough pot de crème and a chocolate-passionfruit ice cream bar.

619 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661

2. Bombobar

832 W Randolph Street Chicago, IL, 60607, Chicago, IL 60607

Bomboloni, gelato, and Italian ice, oh my. Satiate the sweet tooth while on the go at this walk-up dessert stand next to Bar Siena. It’s convenient, too, since patrons can take a nice stroll as they eat to burn off the calories.

832 W Randolph Street Chicago, IL, 60607
Chicago, IL 60607

3. Davanti Enoteca

1359 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607

When in Little Italy, carbo-load on pastas and pizzas before finishing with an irresistible selection of desserts. This Taylor Street standout makes a killer brown butter blondie, topping the whole thing with caramel sauce, almonds, and maple gelato. Other highlights include a cannoli cheesecake and doughnut affogato.

1359 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607

4. Dusek's

1227 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Grab dinner and catch a show at one of Pilsen’s hottest venues. Thalia Hall’s beer hall-inspired restaurant has burst onto the scene and earned a Michelin star the past two years. Stop into Dusek’s before a concert for drinks and sweets such as a chocolate pecan tart and tres leches panna cotta.

1227 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

5. Elske

1350 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

Anna and David Posey have been rocking Restaurant Row since their highly-anticipated project arrived at the end of 2016. The couple is turning heads with a hygge-fueled experience that blends fine dining cuisine with an approachable atmosphere. Anna, who was previously the pastry chef at The Publican, keeps her dessert menu short but oh-so-sweet. The constantly-changing creations have included a frozen raspberry meringue with vanilla and brown Norwegian cheese.

1350 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

6. Formento's

925 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Kailley Lindman

The West Loop Italian restaurant does a splendid job of recreating red sauce favorites from grandma’s kitchen. It’s probably safe to say, though, that nonna never made a chocolate cake this rich and decadent. The multi-layered beauty is a cocoa lover’s dream: Chocolate pudding and hazelnut praline interweave to form the base of the dessert and it’s topped with a chocolate ganache coating. It’s a can’t-miss but don’t sleep on the other Italian twists, including salted caramel panna cotta and tiramisu cheesecake.

925 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

7. Hot Chocolate

1747 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

James Beard Award winner Mindy Segal has long reigned as the pastry queen of the city and desserts are the obvious stars of the show at her popular Bucktown restaurant. The rich hot chocolates served with housemade marshmallows are always a treat, but Segal really puts her talent on display on composed dishes like salted caramel and banana frozen nougat pie. Her brioche doughnuts have also been wowing Chicagoans since before the fried dough trend swept across the country.

1747 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

8. La Sardine

111 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607

French cuisine is a timeless pleasure and this stalwart bistro has been faithfully cooking the classics for almost two decades. Its soufflés are the crème de la crème—fluffy desserts that are baked to perfection and available in flavors such as chocolate with crème anglaise or Grand Marnier with raspberry sauce. They’re backed by equally solid lineup of creme brûlée, ice creams, and sorbets.

111 N Carpenter St
Chicago, IL 60607

9. Little Goat

820 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

Stephanie Izard’s West Loop diner encourages guests to embrace their inner children. Dessert for breakfast? Sure thing. Indulge in a smoked pork and toffee crunch milkshake or try a Choco Taco sundae that blows away the grocery store variety. The Top Chef’s ingenuity also shines through on a Cheez-It sundae, made with Cheez-It and strawberry gelato, chocolate-covered Cheez-Its, milk chocolate, strawberry sauce, and whipped cream.

820 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

10. Maple & Ash

8 W Maple St, Chicago, IL 60610
Maple & Ash

No steakhouse experience would be complete without a lavish sundae service. At this stylish meat haven, diners take dessert to the next level by building the whimsical sundaes of their dreams, teeming with hot fudge, salted caramel, whipped cream, sprinkles, nuts, fruits, and much more. If ice cream isn’t enough, savor pastries such as coconut cream pie and raspberry peach puff.

8 W Maple St
Chicago, IL 60610

11. Nico Osteria

1015 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611

It’s hard to improve upon a classic but Leigh Omilinsky has managed to do so time and time again. The 2013 Jean Blanchet award winner for best pastry chef takes tiramisu to new heights by creating elegant, ever-evolving versions of the popular Italian dessert. Her current one boasts white coffee mousse, frozen sabayon, and hot fudge. Guests will also find cheeses and housemade gelatos and sorbettos for a dazzling finale.

1015 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611

12. RPM Steak

66 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654

It’s only fitting that Lettuce Entertain You’s extravagant chophouse would have equally exquisite dessert service. Enjoy over-the-top sundaes, such as the cookies and cream (ganache ripple, sweet cream ice cream, magic chocolate shell), or baked Alaska that’s flambéed tableside. Even an otherwise ordinary chocolate cake gets the royal treatment, coming covered in “14K” gold flakes.

66 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654

13. Swift & Sons

1000 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607

The Boka Group’s ambitious steakhouse offers all kinds of delights and the fun doesn’t stop at dessert. Pastry Chef Lauren Terrill prepares a chocolate trolley full of mini candy bars, cakes, macarons, éclairs and other treats for guests to choose from. Inspired by Parisian pastry shops and dessert carts from the days of yesteryear, it’s a real throwback. Of course, traditional sweets like berry pound cake and cherry cheesecake are available as well.

1000 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607

14. The Bristol

2152 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

If any restaurant could make this list based off the efforts of one dessert, it would be The Bristol. That’s because the signature basque cake might be the pièce de résistance of the entire menu. The buttery last course features moist, pillowy cake topped with blueberries, candied almonds, and vanilla Chantilly cream. It’s not the only sweet, though, as there are other options available like homemade Nutter Butters served with chocolate crémeux.

2152 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

15. The Publican

837 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607

Acclaimed pastry chef Dana Cree heads the dessert program for One Off Hospitality Group’s Publican brand. Folks dining at the beloved European-inspired beer hall can try her down-home sweets, which range from a simple-yet-delicious waffle with honey butter and fruit preserves to housemade ice creams and sorbets.

837 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607

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