With more than 370 options for Chicago Restaurant Week this year, it’s hard to narrow down exactly where to go. Especially when trying to pick the perfect restaurant. Running from January 26 through February 8, with three- and four-course meals for $33 or $44 for dinner and $22 for lunch or brunch, here’s a list of where to take every kind of friend, from the pickiest eater to the person who’s already been (seemingly) everywhere. Listed from north to south.Read More
Chicago Restaurant Week Deals For Every Kind of Person, Mapped
This list of dining deals has even the pickiest friend covered
1. For the vegetarian: Big Jones
Eating vegetarian at Big Jones may sound odd as the Andersonville restaurant specializes in Southern cooking and fried chicken to die for. But think again, vegetarians — Big Jones has excellent veggie options just for restaurant week. From a sweet potato and barley jambalaya with maitake mushrooms to an herbed gumbo, there are plenty of hearty options.
2. For the friend who appreciates a good glass of wine: Appellation
Head to Appellation in Andersonville for a long list of wines by the glass list, as this spot usually satisfies most wine lovers. Food-wise, it serves up both brunch and dinner options: pick from braised pork shoulder, mussels and gnocchi. There are also vegetarian options and cheese plates available.
3. For the adventurous friend: Demera Restaurant
Wots and messob are on the menu in Uptown for restaurant week. Offering a wide selection of dishes for two people during lunch and dinner, Demera’s Ethiopian cuisine is an excellent place to try food that’s often out of the mainstream while usually delicious. Sambussas start the meal, while basil-lime sorbet rounds out dessert for a tangy finish.
4. For the sweet tooth: Bistro Campagne
For the friend who’s motto is “dessert first,” head to Bistro Campagne. There are plenty of savory options for starting (French Onion soup and salad), and hearty entrees like salmon and Amish chicken. But the desserts are perfect for the sugar fiend: Crème brûlée and chocolate pot-de-crème. While only one is served per course, who says they aren’t for sharing?
5. For the friend who’s already been everywhere: de Quay Restaurant
Head to this gem with Dutch and Indonesian influences, where chef David de Quay creates delicious and interesting dishes to tempt the tongue and churn the brain. Dinner includes an array of choices, like a baked chicken with a coconut gouda croquette and pea soup with rookworst.
6. For the seafood fiend: Oyster Bah
With a meal that can start with oysters on the half shell and follow with mussels, Oyster Bah is the perfect spot to find a fit for the friend who’s always at $1 oyster happy hours. Plus options like calamari and ahi tuna tacos round out the seafood options, while a little gem salad and baby back ribs offer options for the seafood-averse.
7. For the Instagrammer: Boka
Chef Lee Wolen’s dishes are as pretty as they are delicious. Start with heirloom carrots or roasted beets that are bound to be artfully plated. Scallops and a slow poached egg round out course two, followed by options like Wolen’s signature roasted chicken. Just make sure the phone’s charged.
8. For the friend who can’t get through a meal without singing a tune: Ada Street
Specifically, for those who take a certain delight in rap. With every dish on the menu named as a lyric from a famous rapper, like Kanye and Nas, this meal is for sure going to be shared with a few tunes and watching friends try to recreate the beats. Dishes like “What she order, fish fillet?” and “I can fill you with real millionaire sh*t, escargot, my car go,” are at the forefront of the menu, while desserts like house-made Tootsie Rolls and cereal bars round out the menu.
9. For the friend who appreciates a good beer: Pub Royale
Sometimes, beer comes first. At Pub Royale, an ever-changing beer menu is the main event along the back wall to compliment the popular Anglo-Indian food. After grabbing a pint, pick from dishes like the spicy Gobi Manchurian and stake and ale hand pies.
10. For the friend who never eats out: Margeaux Brasserie
Michael Mina’s new restaurant inside the Waldorf Astoria is opulent, offering high-end French fare, perfect for taking the friend who doesn’t get out much but still enjoys a nice meal. Pick from dishes like a salmon tartine, veal ragout and roasted scallops in a plush setting.
11. For a fancy lunch: Marisol
If risotto for lunch is wrong, Marisol, the new restaurant inside the Museum of Contemporary Art is not the place to be right. Choices like a verde risotto with pistachio and pomegranate, a porchetta sandwich, and a veggie cheeseburger are all for lunch at Marisol, along with hearty starters like a winter seafood bisque. If getting over to the MCA hasn’t been at the top of the list, consider this the motivation to head over.
12. For pushing the bounds on the pickiest eater: Homestead On The Roof
For the pickiest of eaters, eating out can be difficult. Homestead on The Roof’s options make it simpler. Choices like Amish chicken, a green tomato salad, and simple risotto stand out as easier choices, while slightly more adventurous eaters may gravitate toward salmon and add foie gras, or roasted lamb.
13. For the friend who can’t get enough of their 90’s sitcoms: Split-Rail
Seinfeld or Friends? Pick your favorite sitcom, or the dishes that appeal more, depending on loyalty. Named for different recipes, from the favorites like “The Soup Nazi” and “The One Where Ross Got High.” Whichever side, the Kenny Rogers chicken and winter squash tartlet are sure bets.
14. For the friend who’s gluten free: Arami
With both vegan and gluten-free options available, Japanese stalwart Arami has adjusted its entire menu. Start the meal with hiyayakko tofu, topped with ginger soy and simmered mushroom. Followed by a grilled fennel salad and a vegetable broth, the dishes for vegan and gluten-free are interesting — even the non-gluten abstainers may join in.
15. For a romantic date: NAHA
NAHA is the spot to impress a date. Choices like sirloin steak, duck breast with preserved cherries, and a Pacific cod filet are on the menu, all decadent in their own way, while NAHA’s elegant space and service will make the dinner extra special.
16. For a large group: Slurping Turtle
Slurping Turtle’s booths are set for four, and the long table down the middle is perfect for even larger groups. Plus, crowd-pleasing ramen. With a choice of maki and snacks like fried chicken, there’s plenty of options for large groups at Slurping Turtle.
17. For the friend who appreciates a good cocktail: The Loyalist
Impeccable cocktails and excellent food are the name of the game at the low-lit basement hang. Drinks are first and foremost, artfully created and presented. Dishes like the well-received burger and a fried chicken sandwich are options for the dinner, but the focus is clearly on the cocktails while the food shines brightly too.
18. For a fun date: Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio
Italian home run-hitter Monteverde feels nice and upscale, with delicious food, but still homey with house-made pasta hanging behind the bar. Meat sugo and acqua pazza are sure to please, but the lively restaurant makes for a fun date night without feeling far too fancy.