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Fat Rice’s Arroz Gordo is made for sharing
Nick Fochtman

Seven Killer Dishes for Two to Share in Chicago

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Fat Rice’s Arroz Gordo is made for sharing
| Nick Fochtman

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.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Fat Rice (Arroz Gordo)

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2957 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-9170
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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.

Fat Rice’s Arroz Gordo
Nick Fochtman

2. Punch House (Fondue)

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1227 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 526-3851
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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.

Punch House’s fondue
Courtesy of Punch House

3. Benny's Chop House (Shellfish Tower)

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444 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 626-2444
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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.

Benny’s Chop House’s shellfish tower
Tim Turner

4. El Che Bar (Asado Dinner)

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845 W Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 265-1130
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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.

El Che Bar’s Asado Dinner
Courtesy of El Che Bar

5. Cindy's (Shellfish Boil)

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12 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 792-3502
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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).

Cindy’s shellfish boil
A.J. Trela

6. Torali Italian-Steak (Bistecca Florentina Beef Porterhouse)

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160 EAST PEARSON STREET, 12th Floor, WATER TOWER PLACE
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 573-5160
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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.

Torali Italian-Steak’s Bisteca Florentina Porterhouse
Kailley Lindman

7. Somerset (Roasted Chicken)

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1112 N State St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 586-2150
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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.

Somerset’s whole-roasted chicken
Galdones Photography

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1. Fat Rice (Arroz Gordo)

2957 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Fat Rice’s Arroz Gordo
Nick Fochtman

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.

2957 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

2. Punch House (Fondue)

1227 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608
Punch House’s fondue
Courtesy of Punch House

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.

1227 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

3. Benny's Chop House (Shellfish Tower)

444 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Benny’s Chop House’s shellfish tower
Tim Turner

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.

444 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

4. El Che Bar (Asado Dinner)

845 W Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL 60607
El Che Bar’s Asado Dinner
Courtesy of El Che Bar

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.

845 W Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60607

5. Cindy's (Shellfish Boil)

12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Cindy’s shellfish boil
A.J. Trela

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).

12 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603

6. Torali Italian-Steak (Bistecca Florentina Beef Porterhouse)

160 EAST PEARSON STREET, 12th Floor, WATER TOWER PLACE, Chicago, IL 60611
Torali Italian-Steak’s Bisteca Florentina Porterhouse
Kailley Lindman

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.

160 EAST PEARSON STREET, 12th Floor, WATER TOWER PLACE
Chicago, IL 60611

7. Somerset (Roasted Chicken)

1112 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610
Somerset’s whole-roasted chicken
Galdones Photography

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.

1112 N State St
Chicago, IL 60610

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