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It’s OK to celebrate, Chicago.
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18 Chicago Restaurants to Splurge for a Special Occassion

Even during a pandemic, restaurants play key roles in celebrations

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It’s OK to celebrate, Chicago.
| Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Society needs to celebrate milestones — even during a pandemic — to maintain mental health. While indoor dining and large group gatherings pose a risk, Chicago’s restaurants offer ways locals can celebrate special occasions with decadent carryout meals, beverage packages, and patio dining.

Read on for the following 18 restaurants which showcase meals worthy of a celebration. Remember to order days ahead and to make reservations. A special day or accomplishment deserves better than fast food.

As of February 16, Chicago restaurants are permitted to serve customers indoors with a 40 percent maximum capacity per room, or 50 people — whichever is fewer. At the same time, despite winter weather, a number of Chicago restaurants continue to offer outdoor seating. Regardless, the state requires reservations for indoor and outdoor dining. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as an endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Lil Parachute

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3472 N Elston Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(872) 204-7138
Visit Website

This Michelin-starred restaurant from chefs Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark has adapted to the pandemic world with an abbreviated version of its classic menu. Parachute serves modern Korean with a Midwestern heart. There’s an a la carte menu with bing bread, short ribs, and more. Pickup is at sibling restaurant Wherewithall, located down the street from Parachute.

2. Kyōten

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2507 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(312) 678-0800
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Kyoten represents chef Otto Phan’s passion for Japanese food. Like many top-level sushi chefs, Phan is dedicated to the details. He touts the quality of his fish, soy sauce, and rice. Phan brings a touch of eccentric to his to-go offerings. The bento boxes are full of maki and sushi. Each box costs $120 with a portion going to charity.

A piece of nigiri with a slice of raw, red fish on a bed of white rice.
Kyoten serves some of Chicago’s most sought-after sushi.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

3. BoeufHaus

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1012 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 661-2116
Visit Website

BoeufHaus is the antidote to boring Downtown Chicago steakhouse thanks to a great wine list, steaks butchered on premises, and warm service. The restaurant has great sandwiches to make a morose weekday feel like a special occasion. The restaurant also sells fresh meats so home cooks with a cast iron pan, grill, and ambition can smoke up their kitchens. Order online via Toast or Tock.

4. Robert et Fils

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4229 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 687-9179
Visit Website

This French restaurant in North Center opened earlier this year for to-go only. It’s not what chef Robert Shaner was envisioning. The veteran chef had planned a tasting menu restaurant that paid homage to his father. Instead, Shaner will serve a daily special via Tock; special meals cost about $40 per person. Robert et Fils promises “classic French cuisine with a modern touch.”

A hand pours cream over a fruit galette.
Robert et Fils’ galette aux fruits (tarragon puff pastry, seasonal fruits, buttermilk creme anglaise)
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

5. The Violet Hour

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1520 N Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 252-1500
Visit Website

Celebrating is not just about the food. Order a drink from Wicker Park’s Violet Hour, a bar that gained national attention making elite coast-types understand the city’s bartenders can not only enjoy malort, but Chicago’s mixologists can also a mighty tasty fancy cocktail. The Beard-winning bar has an $80 carryout special that includes eight drinks like “the Japanese Cocktail (cognac, orgeat, Angostura) and “the Knickerbocker” (rum, lime, orange curacao, raspberry). Order via Tock.

Violet Hour’s Woolworth Manhattan
One Off Hospitality Group [Official Photo]

6. Frontier

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1072 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(773) 772-4322
Visit Website

Chef Brian Jupiter shows off big game at this Cajun-inspired restaurant and bar near Noble Square. For takeout, Frontier is selling family meals for delivery and carryout. Choose pork shank, smoked or fried chicken, brisket, and blackened salmon with all the fixings.

A large red brick building with a sign that reads “Frontier.”
Frontier specializes in whole-animal butchery.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

7. Vajra

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1329 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 929-4990
Visit Website

Vajra’s dining room now looks like something out of NORAD with office furniture and computers sprawled out throughout as the restaurant focuses on carryout. This Nepalese and Indian restaurant features top-flight cocktails to go, and traditional South Asian staples like butter chicken and momos. The Tuesday special celebrates an ingredient that doesn’t get enough love: goat. A goat burger and tempura-fried goat are among the selections.

A variety of Indian dishes spread out on a table.
Vajra aims to blend modern and traditional Nepalese and Indian dishes.
Neil John Burger/Vajra

8. Smyth

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177 N Ada St #101
Chicago, IL 60607
(773) 913-3773
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Chef John and Karen Shields have maintained patio service at this two-Michelin-starred restaurant in West Loop. The Shields have made changes during the pandemic, including ending their relationship the Farm (a Kankakee farm that they had partnered with), but the restaurant has maintained quality and creativity. Expect a two-hour tasting menu at the restaurant for $215 per person. Reservations and pickup are available on Tock.

9. Herb

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5424 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 944-9050
Visit Website

One of Chicago’s most creative Thai restaurants is in Edgewater. Chef Patty Neumson serves a tasting menu the blends classic and modern tastes. The restaurant is serving both a la carte and tasting menus for carryout and delivery in both plant based and omnivore choices. It’s ideal for when diners are craving more than dependable pad Thai.

A table and chairs inside a dining room, placed beside a large window.
Herb first opened in Edgewater in 2014.
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

10. Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio

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1020 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 888-3041
Visit Website

Top Chef alum Sarah Grueneberg’s first restaurant has been a smash hit in West Loop. Her careful approach to Italian food with unique pastas and other vibrant dishes make Monteverde one of the toughest tables in town. The restaurant has heated tents for patio dining and is offering pickup and delivery. Order pickup and delivery at the link.

Catch our linguine neri special before it's gone! Made with squid ink to give the pasta its black color, we add whole...

Posted by Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio on Thursday, October 15, 2020

11. Yoshi's Cafe

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3257 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 248-6160
Visit Website

One of Chicago’s most beloved restaurants rides in Lakeview where chef Ken Katsumura follows in the footsteps of his father who blended Japanese and French food. The restaurant has a patio, but what’s notable is the Sunday special where the restaurant serves an assortment of smoked meats. Items include wagyu strip loin and brisket.

A bowl of salmon, sushi rice, tamago, shiso, shibazuke, and nori.
Yoshi’s Cafe has served Chicago for nearly 40 years.
Yoshi’s Cafe [Official Photo]

12. Alinea

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1723 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614

Alinea quickly converted its Lincoln Park restaurant into a carryout-only operation early on during the pandemic. It’s provided the restaurant a steady stream of revenue as indoor dining suffers. The menu changes ranging from steak to sushi. Some items require reheating. This is a favorite for Boomers who want to add a little bit of credibility to their Instagram accounts with photos of takeout from a three-Michelin-starred restaurant. Order online.

13. Mako

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731 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 988-0687
Visit Website

Chef and owner B.K. Park built up a following at his Juno, his Lincoln Park restaurant. He’s now amped up that formula in West Loop with an elaborate omakase menu featuring rare fish and A5 wagyu. Dine-in is closed at Mako, but customers can order, via Tock, an eight-course set with several items they would expect to enjoy in the dining room. Cost is $125 per person and same-day orders are accepted until 4 p.m.

A small wooden box holds eight courses of omakase.
Mako features an eight-course omakase carryout meal.
Mako [Official Photo]

14. Yūgen Restaurant

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652 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 265-1008
Visit Website

Yugen has forged a new path along Randolph Street, earning a Michelin star in its first year with a high-end Japanese menu that impressed inspectors. They’ve now pivoted to decadent meal kits with rotating specials like crab rice, a truffle burger with A5 wagyu beef, and truffle gnocchi. There’s also fancy beverage packages. Order online. The patio is closed for the season.

Yugen’s crab rice.
Yugen [Official Photo]

15. Fancy Plants Cafe

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613 W Briar Pl
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 857-1588
Visit Website

This small Lakeview vegan cafe has charming pastries in the morning and sandwiches all day. But chef Kevin Schuder comes from a fine dining background and his vegan feasts are worth waiting for, no matter if customers consume dairy and meat. Check out the rotating specials here.

16. BBQ King House

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2148 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 326-1219
Visit Website

Peking Duck is the specialty of the house at BBQ King House. This special dish comes out with crisp skin with steamed baos. Recreated the dining room experience at home with the Peking Duck Dinner (which comes in large and small portions for $140 and $40). The dinner comes with duck bone soup, lobster with ginger & onion, and beef tenderloin with a house special sauce. Order to-go at the link.

17. Virtue Restaurant

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1462 E 53rd St
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 947-8831
Visit Website

Virtue’s owner and chef, Erick Williams, is a success story. An industry veteran, Williams has been waiting to open his own restaurant, to share his interpretation of American Southern cuisine. For southerners living in Chicago, Virtue transport them back home with an approach that incorporates global flavors, revealing what really influenced Black Americans. Patio dining is available as is takeout.

A blue plate holds a roasted cauliflower
Virtue was Eater Chicago’s 2019 Restaurant of the Year.
Nick Fochtman/Eater

18. Ascione Bistro

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1500 E 55th St
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 363-8161
Visit Website

Find delectable pastas (with gluten-free options), seafood, and Italian entrees at this Hyde Park restaurant. Ascione has a covered and heated patio and reservations are available via Resy. Carryout and delivery are provided by DoorDash and ChowNow.

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1. Lil Parachute

3472 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

This Michelin-starred restaurant from chefs Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark has adapted to the pandemic world with an abbreviated version of its classic menu. Parachute serves modern Korean with a Midwestern heart. There’s an a la carte menu with bing bread, short ribs, and more. Pickup is at sibling restaurant Wherewithall, located down the street from Parachute.

3472 N Elston Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

2. Kyōten

2507 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
A piece of nigiri with a slice of raw, red fish on a bed of white rice.
Kyoten serves some of Chicago’s most sought-after sushi.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Kyoten represents chef Otto Phan’s passion for Japanese food. Like many top-level sushi chefs, Phan is dedicated to the details. He touts the quality of his fish, soy sauce, and rice. Phan brings a touch of eccentric to his to-go offerings. The bento boxes are full of maki and sushi. Each box costs $120 with a portion going to charity.

2507 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

3. BoeufHaus

1012 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

BoeufHaus is the antidote to boring Downtown Chicago steakhouse thanks to a great wine list, steaks butchered on premises, and warm service. The restaurant has great sandwiches to make a morose weekday feel like a special occasion. The restaurant also sells fresh meats so home cooks with a cast iron pan, grill, and ambition can smoke up their kitchens. Order online via Toast or Tock.

1012 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

4. Robert et Fils

4229 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
A hand pours cream over a fruit galette.
Robert et Fils’ galette aux fruits (tarragon puff pastry, seasonal fruits, buttermilk creme anglaise)
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

This French restaurant in North Center opened earlier this year for to-go only. It’s not what chef Robert Shaner was envisioning. The veteran chef had planned a tasting menu restaurant that paid homage to his father. Instead, Shaner will serve a daily special via Tock; special meals cost about $40 per person. Robert et Fils promises “classic French cuisine with a modern touch.”

4229 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

5. The Violet Hour

1520 N Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60622
Violet Hour’s Woolworth Manhattan
One Off Hospitality Group [Official Photo]

Celebrating is not just about the food. Order a drink from Wicker Park’s Violet Hour, a bar that gained national attention making elite coast-types understand the city’s bartenders can not only enjoy malort, but Chicago’s mixologists can also a mighty tasty fancy cocktail. The Beard-winning bar has an $80 carryout special that includes eight drinks like “the Japanese Cocktail (cognac, orgeat, Angostura) and “the Knickerbocker” (rum, lime, orange curacao, raspberry). Order via Tock.

1520 N Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

6. Frontier

1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
A large red brick building with a sign that reads “Frontier.”
Frontier specializes in whole-animal butchery.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Chef Brian Jupiter shows off big game at this Cajun-inspired restaurant and bar near Noble Square. For takeout, Frontier is selling family meals for delivery and carryout. Choose pork shank, smoked or fried chicken, brisket, and blackened salmon with all the fixings.

1072 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

7. Vajra

1329 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
A variety of Indian dishes spread out on a table.
Vajra aims to blend modern and traditional Nepalese and Indian dishes.
Neil John Burger/Vajra

Vajra’s dining room now looks like something out of NORAD with office furniture and computers sprawled out throughout as the restaurant focuses on carryout. This Nepalese and Indian restaurant features top-flight cocktails to go, and traditional South Asian staples like butter chicken and momos. The Tuesday special celebrates an ingredient that doesn’t get enough love: goat. A goat burger and tempura-fried goat are among the selections.

1329 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

8. Smyth

177 N Ada St #101, Chicago, IL 60607

Chef John and Karen Shields have maintained patio service at this two-Michelin-starred restaurant in West Loop. The Shields have made changes during the pandemic, including ending their relationship the Farm (a Kankakee farm that they had partnered with), but the restaurant has maintained quality and creativity. Expect a two-hour tasting menu at the restaurant for $215 per person. Reservations and pickup are available on Tock.

177 N Ada St #101
Chicago, IL 60607

9. Herb

5424 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640
A table and chairs inside a dining room, placed beside a large window.
Herb first opened in Edgewater in 2014.
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

One of Chicago’s most creative Thai restaurants is in Edgewater. Chef Patty Neumson serves a tasting menu the blends classic and modern tastes. The restaurant is serving both a la carte and tasting menus for carryout and delivery in both plant based and omnivore choices. It’s ideal for when diners are craving more than dependable pad Thai.

5424 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640

10. Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio

1020 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607

Top Chef alum Sarah Grueneberg’s first restaurant has been a smash hit in West Loop. Her careful approach to Italian food with unique pastas and other vibrant dishes make Monteverde one of the toughest tables in town. The restaurant has heated tents for patio dining and is offering pickup and delivery. Order pickup and delivery at the link.

1020 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60607

11. Yoshi's Cafe

3257 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657
A bowl of salmon, sushi rice, tamago, shiso, shibazuke, and nori.
Yoshi’s Cafe has served Chicago for nearly 40 years.
Yoshi’s Cafe [Official Photo]

One of Chicago’s most beloved restaurants rides in Lakeview where chef Ken Katsumura follows in the footsteps of his father who blended Japanese and French food. The restaurant has a patio, but what’s notable is the Sunday special where the restaurant serves an assortment of smoked meats. Items include wagyu strip loin and brisket.

3257 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60657

12. Alinea

1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Alinea quickly converted its Lincoln Park restaurant into a carryout-only operation early on during the pandemic. It’s provided the restaurant a steady stream of revenue as indoor dining suffers. The menu changes ranging from steak to sushi. Some items require reheating. This is a favorite for Boomers who want to add a little bit of credibility to their Instagram accounts with photos of takeout from a three-Michelin-starred restaurant. Order online.

1723 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614

13. Mako

731 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661
A small wooden box holds eight courses of omakase.
Mako features an eight-course omakase carryout meal.
Mako [Official Photo]

Chef and owner B.K. Park built up a following at his Juno, his Lincoln Park restaurant. He’s now amped up that formula in West Loop with an elaborate omakase menu featuring rare fish and A5 wagyu. Dine-in is closed at Mako, but customers can order, via Tock, an eight-course set with several items they would expect to enjoy in the dining room. Cost is $125 per person and same-day orders are accepted until 4 p.m.

731 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60661

14. Yūgen Restaurant

652 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661
Yugen’s crab rice.
Yugen [Official Photo]

Yugen has forged a new path along Randolph Street, earning a Michelin star in its first year with a high-end Japanese menu that impressed inspectors. They’ve now pivoted to decadent meal kits with rotating specials like crab rice, a truffle burger with A5 wagyu beef, and truffle gnocchi. There’s also fancy beverage packages. Order online. The patio is closed for the season.

652 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661

15. Fancy Plants Cafe

613 W Briar Pl, Chicago, IL 60657

This small Lakeview vegan cafe has charming pastries in the morning and sandwiches all day. But chef Kevin Schuder comes from a fine dining background and his vegan feasts are worth waiting for, no matter if customers consume dairy and meat. Check out the rotating specials here.

613 W Briar Pl
Chicago, IL 60657

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16. BBQ King House

2148 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Peking Duck is the specialty of the house at BBQ King House. This special dish comes out with crisp skin with steamed baos. Recreated the dining room experience at home with the Peking Duck Dinner (which comes in large and small portions for $140 and $40). The dinner comes with duck bone soup, lobster with ginger & onion, and beef tenderloin with a house special sauce. Order to-go at the link.

2148 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

17. Virtue Restaurant

1462 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615
A blue plate holds a roasted cauliflower
Virtue was Eater Chicago’s 2019 Restaurant of the Year.
Nick Fochtman/Eater

Virtue’s owner and chef, Erick Williams, is a success story. An industry veteran, Williams has been waiting to open his own restaurant, to share his interpretation of American Southern cuisine. For southerners living in Chicago, Virtue transport them back home with an approach that incorporates global flavors, revealing what really influenced Black Americans. Patio dining is available as is takeout.

1462 E 53rd St
Chicago, IL 60615

18. Ascione Bistro

1500 E 55th St, Chicago, IL 60615

Find delectable pastas (with gluten-free options), seafood, and Italian entrees at this Hyde Park restaurant. Ascione has a covered and heated patio and reservations are available via Resy. Carryout and delivery are provided by DoorDash and ChowNow.

1500 E 55th St
Chicago, IL 60615

Related Maps