The following is an updated 2017 version of our annual Chicago Restaurant Week Guide.
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.” – Your Ultimate Guide to Chicago Restaurant Week 2015
Each year we publish a Chicago Restaurant Week Guide, including 5 tips on how to avoid being duped by the hoopla.
Getting the Most Out of Chicago Restaurant Week: 5 Tips
- Avoid “new” items not typically offered by the restaurant. For some eateries, the new items are more down-to-earth versions of menu staples thought too intimidating for the average diner. 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 advice is to skip them altogether.
- Do the math. Compare the prix fixe menu to the regular and decide if you’re actually saving any coins. If no savings is truly being offered, skip the prix fixe and just order from the regular menu at another time.
- Check the reviews. 350 restaurants are a lot, even for Chicago. Some who made the list, frankly, shouldn’t be there. A few are dives with good bar food and a few are mediocre at best. Google and Yelp are still your friend here.
- Promptly make reservations.
- If you can’t decide, choose from our list of favorites below.
TOP 28 PICKS FOR CHICAGO RESTAURANT WEEK 2016
BG = Bib Gourmand; 1 Star = 1 Michelin Star; * = Kari’s Fav
- avec – Mediterranean, West Loop, Suggested Items: Lentil Soup, Avec Burger, Cremeux, Lunch MenuBG
- * bellyQ – Asian Barbecue, West Town, Suggested Items: Goat Cheese Salad, Chicken Pho, Mini Bao, Dinner Menu BG
- * Blackbird Restaurant American, West Loop, Suggested Items: Fennel Custard, Grilled Sturgeon, Pecan PieLunch Menu 1 Star
- Café Des Architectes and the Cigale Private Dining Room, French, Near North Side, Suggested Items: Butternut Squash Soup, Trout, Chocolate Spiral Lunch Menu
- * Café Spiaggia Italian, Magnificent Mile, Suggested Items: Tomato Soup, Pappardelle, Tart Lunch | Dinner Menu 1 Star
- * Cherry Circle Room American Contemporary, Loop, Suggested Items: French Onion Soup, Risotto, Apples & CaramelLunch Menu
- * Chez Moi, French, Lincoln Park, Suggested Items: Chestnut Soup, Pan Seared Salmon, Chocolate CakeDinner Menu
- * Cindy’s, American, Loop, Suggested Items: Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese, Rigatoni, Citrus, Tea & Honey Lunch Menu
- * Dove’s Luncheonette, Southern-inspired Mexican, Wicker Park, Suggested items: Back to Life Cocktail, Chile Verde, Fried Chicken Dinner Menu BG
- * Dusek’s Board & Beer, American, Pilsen, Suggested Items: Duck Paté, Broccoli Steak, Spiced Brown Butter Pound Cake Lunch | Dinner Menu 1 Star
- * Fig & Olive, French Inspired, Gold Coast, Suggested Item: Squash & Chestnut Soup, Truffle Risotto, Chocolate Pot de Crème, Lunch | Dinner Menu
- Frontera Grill, Mexican, River North, Suggested Items: Tamales, Fish and Green Peanut Mole Lunch | Dinner Menu BG
- * Fulton Market Kitchen, Global, Fulton Market, Suggested Items: Salmon Tartare, Linguine with Clams, Coffee & Doughnuts Dinner Menu
- * GT Fish & Oyster, Coastal, River North, Suggested Items: Monkey Bread, Crab Benedict, Shrimp & Grits Brunch | Lunch Menu BG
- Joy District, Modern American, River North, Suggested Items: Squash Soup, Quail Saltimbocca, Lobster Pot Pie Dinner Menu
- Le Colonial, French Vietnamese, Gold Coast, Suggested Items: Cha Gio, Bo Luc Lac, Coffee and Sorbets Lunch | Dinner Menu
- The Lobby, Contemporary American, Mag Mile, Suggested Items: Chestnut Bisque, Champagne Risotto, Cream Puffs Lunch | Dinner Menu
- McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks, American, Various Locations, Suggested Items: Clam Chowder, Prawns, Chocolate Pot de Créme Lunch | Dinner Menu
- National 27, Modern Latin, River North, Suggested Item: Short Rib Empanada, Mahi-Mahi Tacos, Tres Leches Dinner Menu
- * New Rebozo, Mexican, River North, Suggested Items: Tamales, Mole, Bola de Cajeta Dinner Menu
- The Promontory, Modern American, Hyde Park, Suggested Items: Squash Soup, Beef Sandwhich, Butterscotch Budino Lunch | Dinner Menu
- * Rockit Bar & Grill, American, River North, Suggested Items: Salmn Tartare, Mini Burger, Sticky Date Pudding Lunch | Dinner Menu
- Seven Lions, American, Loop, Suggested Items: Squash and Brussels Sprout Panzanella, Strozzapretti Pasta, Chocolate Espresso Dinner Menu
- Smack Shack, Coastal, West Loop/Fulton Market, Suggested Items: Fritto Misto, Salmon or Fried Chicken, Chocolate Cake Dinner Menu
- * Sunda, New Asian, River North, Suggested Items: Kimchi Soup, Duck, Salmon topped with Spicy Shrimp, Afritada-braised Chicken Lunch | Brunch Menu
- Topolobampo, Mexican, River North, Suggested Items: Azteca Soup, Carne Asada, Sopa de Frutas Lunch Menu 1 Star
- * Tortoise Supper Club, Coastal, River North, Suggested Items: Shrimp Cocktail, Cedar Planked Salmon, Tortoise Pie Lunch |Dinner Menu
- * XOCO, Mexican, River North, Suggested Items: Chicarron, Sikil Pak, Mole Torta, Churro All Day Menu
Restaurant Week Kick-Off: First Bites Bash
Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
Happy eating, Chicago!
Featured Image: Chance the Rapper, Family (Video)