While many people associate splitting dishes with Valentine’s Day or romantic dinners, sharing food with one other person — not family-style dining— can be enjoyable anytime. And while caviar, Champagne, and chocolate are good go-tos, there’s ultimately just one dish that is sure to get you a few inches closer to your date: the one that can be shared. From a Florence-inspired porterhouse to a piping hot pot of fondue, here are some of the city’s best dishes built for two.Read More
Seven Killer Dishes for Two to Share in Chicago
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1. Fat Rice (Arroz Gordo)
This dish served as the inspiration for this Logan Square destination from Abe Conlon and Adrienne Lo — and for good reason. Conlon’s riff on the celebratory Macanese dish also showcases much of what there is to love about Portuguese cooking, resulting in a layered pot of jasmine rice, meats, and seafood (think chorizo, salted duck, curried thighs, char siu pork, linguiça sausage, prawns, and steamed clams, to name a few). Topped off with chicken-fat-fried croutons, olives, and pickled chillies, consider it an impressive dining feat for even the most ravenous twosome.
2. Punch House (Fondue)
This maritime-inspired basement bar is best known for catering to groups with its beloved punch bowls, and now the team is featuring another large format favorite: fondue. A platter of accompaniments (tempura-battered vegetables, cured meats, housemade pretzels) is served alongside a pot of Grand Cru gruyere, ensuring a crowd-pleasing experience for nearly every couple. Other fondue favorites, notably Geja’s Cafe in Lincoln Park, are also good bets for the cheesy shareable favorite.
3. Benny's Chop House (Shellfish Tower)
This modern-day steakhouse offers a standout version of one of the best dishes built for sharing: the ubiquitous shellfish tower for two. The seafood-focused centerpiece is as substantial as it is striking, thanks to an array of poached Cape Breton lobster, gulf jumbo prawns, and Alaskan red king crab.
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4. El Che Bar (Asado Dinner)
Bring a plus one and an appetite for this selection of grilled meats and seasonal vegetables, which chef John Manion created as an ode to the day-long backyard barbecue affairs he experienced in Argentina. Expect a feast of mains like grilled beef short ribs and Amish chicken thighs, which Manion accompanies with sides of whipped Japanese sweet potatoes and grilled asparagus.
5. Cindy's (Shellfish Boil)
Large format dishes are the modus operandi at this buzzy rooftop restaurant, where chef de cuisine Keith Potter and executive chef Christian Ragano offer half and full portions of burrata, pasta Bolognese, and crispy pork belly. For seafood lovers it’s all about the shellfish boil — a healthy heaping of shrimp, scallops, and mussels in a savory, smoked chili broth with garlic conserva (and, of course, plenty of grilled bread for dipping).
6. Torali Italian-Steak (Bistecca Florentina Beef Porterhouse)
Chicago, IL 60611
Just like true love, a good steak is worth waiting for — especially one that’s been dry aged for 36 days. It’s just the case at this Italian restaurant, where chef de cuisine Nihad Hajdarhodzic cooks the aged steak on a 900-degree grill top and seasons it with a house “sale” before slicing it for guests to share. Accompanying flavors of housemade steak sauce and black truffle-garlic butter only enhance the experience.
7. Somerset (Roasted Chicken)
When couples aren’t indulging in chef Lee Wolen’s cooking for two at Boka (i.e. the whole-roasted dry-aged duck), they can find it at this recently opened Gold Coast eatery, where Wolen serves up another kind of bird for pairs: whole-roasted chicken. Compelled to create a soulful dish that guests would hurry back for, Wolen stuffs a Crystal Valley chicken with fresh chicken sausage, covers it in herbs and butter, and serves it alongside polenta and delicata squash.