Chicagoans are an easily excitable bunch. We’re thrilled when the weather inches above 40 degrees, when the gas creeps below $2 per gallon, when we can eat outside and call it a festival. We’re easily excitable. That’s just us.
Chicago Restaurant Week, however, is an event worth the hoopla that surrounds it. A diverse list of over 300 restaurants, including a few Michelin star winners, offer prix fixe menus priced below $44 ($22 for lunch, $33 for dinner on average). It’s a great thing but there are a few caveats of which you should be aware.
The Great Chicago Restaurant Week Hoax
- A few restaurants are offering items not listed on their regular menu. Why? For some, the new items are more down-to-earth, created so as to not intimidate the non-foodie crowd. For others, these “new” items are simply watered down knock-offs of the restaurant’s typical offerings. Regardless of the reason why they’re on the prix fixe menu, these are not the dishes the restaurant is known for. My suggestion is to skip these “new” items and go for what’s tried and true.
- Before making your reservation, compare the prix fixe menu to the regular and do the math. How much are you actually saving? TimeOut staff writer, Amy Cavanaugh wrote a great article explaining how this happens and listing a few spots offering some not so big deals this week. Check it out here.
- 300 restaurants is a lot, even for a foodie town like Chicago. Some restaurants on the list, frankly, shouldn’t be there. A few are dives with good bar food, a few are just mediocre diners. Yelp is still your friend here. Check the reviews before making the reservations.
How to Get the Most Out of Restaurant Week
- Promptly make reservations.
- Check your choice out on Yelp for reviews and rating.
- Can’t decide? Pick from among our favorites below.
Happy eating, Chicago!
Featured Image: Cod at Sepia (lunch) – shot by Kari