Calling all foodies! Get ready for one of my most favorite – and tastiest – weeks of the year. Chicago Restaurant Week is upon us and the 2016 cycle has over 300 restaurants participating. That’s a lot of reservations waiting to be made!
What is Chicago Restaurant Week? It’s the annual event where Chicago’s best dining locales offer special prix fixe menus starting at $22 for lunch and $33 and/or $44 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity). You get the opportunity to try a fabulous tasting menu showcasing the flavor of the restaurant for a price that may normally be unobtainable. A michelin star dinner for under $50? This may be your only chance all year. For further savings you could check out greateats.com to assess the availability of coupons at local restaurants. It is fair to see we all have great respect for these restaurants. It must be enormously challenging to run them seven days a week. I guess using a platform as a service can help increase efficiency and productivity.
With over 300 restaurants tossing their hat in the ring, it’s difficult to prioritize and make the most of this culinary celebration. I love to pick a few places that I may normally never be able to dine at for the price, and a few newcomers on the scene that I’m eager to try. I’ve assembled my favorite places that made the list in addition to a couple spots on the Her Tasty Wishlist. Hope this helps you navigate your restaurant week decisions! Click on this link to explore ALL of the restaurants participating and their prix fixe menus.
My top choices are…
D O L C E I T A L I A N
Dolce Italian | Dolce was one of my most frequented spots last Summer after their late-May opening. The beautiful atmosphere is chic and inviting with the staff to match. Their hand-tossed pizzas positively stole my heart, and luckily, the Pizza Danielle makes an appearance on both the lunch and dinner restaurant week menus.
B O K A
BOKA | Michelin starred 2011 – 2015, BOKA is easily one of the most revered restaurants on the restaurant week list. I’ve had the pleasure of dining at BOKA many times and it consistently impresses time and time again. Restaurant week is just a convenient excuse to get back there. The Roasted Chicken with Foie Gras on this years prix fixe menu is a no brainer. Not to be missed.
F O R M E N T O ‘ S
Formento’s | Everybody needs a little home cooking like grandma used to make, am I right? Well, Formento’s is grandma’s house if grandma was trendy, modern, stylish and chic. Hence, why I love everything about this place. Their classic Italian favorites are prepared in-house with a touch of family history and a lot of expertise. The Bucatini Cacio e Pepi (pasta with cheese and pepper, YUM) and Chicken Parmesan are made for warm belly winter delight.
G T F I S H & O Y S T E R
GT Fish & Oyster | Hello, Lover! My favorite restaurant in Chicago makes a restaurant week appearance yet again. It must be my lucky day! Some of GT’s most popular favorites, the shrimp bruschetta and clam chowder are both on the dinner prix fixe menu. Pair those two courses with an oyster po’boy roll (exclusive to restaurant week) and dessert for a fabulous sampling of exactly just why I love this restaurant as much as I do.
I N T R O
Intro | What a treat to see Intro on the restaurant week list this year. It’s such a stunning and special experience — just look at that photo! Intro is the place you go to get all dressed up with your honey and be blown away by impeccable food and attentive-beyond-attentive service. Looking at their prix fixe menu has me currently putting black truffle salmon and a banana budino on my “to be eaten very soon” list, thank you very much.
M O N T E V E R D E
Monteverde | Newcomer alert and I’m excited! Monteverde is recently opened by Top Chef alum Sarah Grueneberg and the buzz is absolutely ablaze. If Sarah’s former CDC position at Spiaggia is any indication of what the pasta must be like at Monteverde, I can’t wait to get my hands on her pecan and herb pesto corzetti. The restaurant week menu also features a lasagna bolognese (yes!) and caramel upside down tart (YAASS!).
P R E S I D I O
Presidio | Ah, my beloved Presidio. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve written about them here. So happy to see they’re participating in restaurant week and have some of their most amazing dishes on the menu. I’m looking at you, crispy polenta and burrata with honeycomb and grilled baguette. Both are pure delight on a plate!
And there you have it! If you’ve counted along as you’ve been reading, you already know I gave you exactly seven restaurant week recommendations. One for every night of the week. Coincidence? Absolutely not.
Now go forth and make your reservations here.