Best Picks for Chicago Restaurant Week

It's the best time of the year: Chicago Restaurant Week 2018!

This event is hosted annually by Choose Chicago, and this year, it takes place from January 26 - February 8.

There are hundreds of spots to choose from -- 364, to be exact -- and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. To help with that, I've spent the past 2 days scouring the Restaurant Week menus on Choose Chicago's website.

Best Chicago Restaurant Week 2018 by 312food

 

 

I hope you find this list helpful -- and if you do, please pin and share it. Enjoy! <3Erin

Best of Chicago Restaurant Week 2018

First, some background -- I've grouped my 2018 Chicago Restaurant Week picks into 6 categories, based on what you want to do:

  1. 🎵 Order by rap lyrics 
  2. 🥇 Try their BEST dishes
  3. ↔ Try a LOT of the menu
  4. 💃 Get $$$$ for $$
  5. 🤵 Lunch like an exec
  6. 🍳 Brunch like a champion

For each spot, I'll also tell you what I personally would order from the menu. 

A few other notes:

  • Make reservations quickly -- the best spots / best value spots fill up super fast
  • Bring friends. You each have to order, but if you pick different options from each section, you'll get to try almost everything!
  • At most spots, the cost ($22 / $33 / $44) does NOT include drinks, taxes, or gratuity. Some spots do have wine pairings for an additional fee, and most spots will let you order extras a la carte from their standard menus
  • For the full list of spots, all menus, and all meal offerings, head directly to the source: Choose Chicago

Enjoy!

Order by Rap Lyrics

1. Ada Street

I loved this concept so much that I gave it its own category. 

Ada Street's 3-course dinner menu ($44) is called "Rapper's Delight," and each dish is named after song lyrics. I think it's cool that they've created something so distinct from their regular menu just for Restaurant Week.

Here's what I'd order:

  1. "All she want to do is smoke that broccoli" -Dram | charred broccoli
  2. "What she order... fish filet?" -Kanye | seared cod
  3. “Then there was pebbles, times was rough. She was turnin’ trix to get her coco puff!” -LL Cool J | cereal bars with boozy dunking sauce

NEIGHBORHOOD: West Town-ish
FULL MENU: Ada St Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: for parties of 8+ (call)


NOTE: Ada Street also appears on my list of 14 Hidden Restaurants in Chicago!

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TRY THEIR BEST DISHES

No skimping on the favorites, here. These restaurants feature some of their very best dishes on their Restaurant Week menus (and at Restaurant Week prices).

2. Formento's

Formento's has included several of my favorites on their 4-course dinner menu ($44), including their epic bucatini and my 2 favorite desserts on their menu.

This means you definitely have to bring a friend, so you can order both.

Here's what I'd order:

  1. Nonna's meatballs
  2. Bucatini (carbonara, panchetta, egg yolk, black pepper)
  3. Brick chicken with roasted mushrooms
  4. Tiramisu cheesecake (by a very small margin over the chocolate cake)

And if you want to splurge, I would strongly consider adding the wine pairings for an additional $40. 

NEIGHBORHOOD: West Loop
FULL MENU:
 Formento's Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Formento's

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3. Naoki Sushi

Naoki Sushi is offering a 5-course dinner menu + a drink ($44) that includes a bunch of my favorite items on their menu, so I've placed it in this section. It's also REALLY great pricing for Naoki, so it just as easily go in my "$$$$ for $$" section.

It's a set menu of some of their best dishes -- and here's what you get:

  1. yoshima sake cocktail
  2. tuna tacos
  3. salmon sashimi naoki-style (my fav dish on their menu)
  4. chef-selected maki & nigiri
  5. udon noodle with shrimp tempura
  6. sorbet

NEIGHBORHOOD: Lincoln Park
FULL MENU:
 Naoki Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: Naoki Sushi

Note: Naoki also appears on my list of 14 hidden restaurants in Chicago!

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4. Bernie's Lunch & Supper

Bernie's 4-course dinner menu ($44) has their epic lamb hawashi on it, which earns its place on this "try their best dishes" list. That said, it's a close call because their sweet potato falafel (in the same section) is also delicious.

Guess you've gotta bring a friend. 😛

Here's what I'd order:

  1. Greek salad
  2. Lamb hawashi
  3. 36-hour short rib
  4. butterscotch pudding

NEIGHBORHOOD: River North
FULL MENU:
 Bernie's Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Bernie's

P.S. They have a lunch menu ($22) for restaurant week, too, which has extra value -- but the dinner menu has many more of my favorites on it!

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5. a tavola

a tavola is a hidden spot, located on the first floor of a residential two-flat, and they're offering a 4-course dinner menu for $44.

One of their best dishes is their gnocchi with browned sage butter and parmesan -- and it's on the RW menu!!!

Here's what I'd order:

  1. fresh arugula with walnuts, grape tomatoes, and shaved parmesan
  2. [pictured] gnocchi with browned sage butter and parmesan (no-brainer!)
  3. sangiovese-braised beef short rib
  4. panna cotta 

NEIGHBORHOOD: Ukranian Village
FULL MENU:
 a tavola Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - a tavola

Note: a tavola is also on my list of 14 hidden restaurants in Chicago!

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6. Cafe Spiaggia

I love the pastas and the fish dishes at Cafe Spiaggia, and their dinner menu ($44; see page 2) for Restaurant Week features both. (While I think their lunch menu is a fantastic deal at only $22, the dinner menu has more of my favorites).

They always offer seasonal variations of their pastas, and while I haven't had this particular one, they're always quite delicious.

Here's what I'd order:

  1. fluke crudo
  2. pappardelle 
  3. mussels with 'nduja
  4. affogato

NEIGHBORHOOD: Michigan Ave
FULL MENU:
 Cafe Spiaggia Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: Cafe Spiaggia (click "reservation")

NOTE: Cafe Spiaggia is also on my list of Favorite Foodie Moments of 2017!

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7. Baptiste & Bottle

I've included Baptiste & Bottle's 4-course dinner menu ($44; page 2) in this section for 2 reasons: the squid ink capellini with uni, and their scallop dish. YUM!!!

They also offer a lunch menu, which is a great deal at $22 (and includes their yummy squash salad), but I was more excited overall by their dinner options.

Here's what I'd order at dinner:

  1. beet salad
  2. squid ink capellini with uni, king crab, and mint
  3. scallops with blood orange
  4. yuzu curd

NEIGHBORHOOD: River North
FULL MENU:
 Baptiste & Bottle Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Baptiste & Bottle

NOTE: Baptiste & Bottle is on 2 other lists of mine: Chicago Brunch Checklist + Holiday Cocktails in Chicago (2017).

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Try a lot of the menu

At all of these spots, the Restaurant Week menus offer such breadth that you get to sample a LOT of what each spot has to offer.

This is especially true if you bring a friend or two, so you can each order different dishes in each section.

8. Demera Ethiopian Restaurant

If you've never tried Ethiopian food, now would be a great time for it!

Demera is offering 3-course lunch and dinner menus ($22 and $33) for Restaurant Week. It's pretty far north, so I'm going to provide dinner options below -- but if you can make it for lunch, go for it!

With Ethiopian food, your main course is served on a super thin flatbread called injera, with your various courses placed upon it -- and there is a technique to scooping and eating it with your hands. If you've never done it before, just ask!

Here's what I'd order on the dinner menu:

  1. Vegetable sambussas (lightly fried dumplings)
  2. Ye-Wot & Vegetable Messob for two (pick 3 stews & 3 veggie items from their menu)
  3. Basil lime sorbet

I really like this menu structure since you get to try about 8 different things in one visit.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Uptown
FULL MENU:
 Demera Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Demera

9. Monteverde

Monteverde is one of the only family-style Restaurant Week menus I've seen. In their 3-course family-style dinner menu ($33) for Restaurant Week, you order as many dishes in each section as you have people.

So, if you show up with 3+ people, you'll get to try EVERYTHING. But book this one fast, because the value is surely there -- especially at $33! -- and the food is delicious.

I would bring 3+ people and order the entire menu:

  1. oma's green mountain salad + roasted squash crostino + marinated olives
  2. meat sugo + acqua pazza + slow roasted cabbage and mushrooms
  3. chocolate budino + coconut sundae
  4. optional wine pairings for $15 more per person

NEIGHBORHOOD: West Loop
FULL MENU:
 Monteverde Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: Monteverde's site (click "Reserve")

NOTE: Monteverde also appears on my list of Chicago Wait List Hacks - how & when to go to the busiest spots in Chicago!

10. CH Distillery

If you haven't tried the yummy food at CH Distillery's Bar & Table, Restaurant Week is a great time to try ALL of it.

You get to choose any 4 of the 10 options on their Restaurant Week dinner menu ($33) -- so if you bring a friend and order opposite dishes, you could basically try the whole thing! 

Here's what I'd order:

  1. grilled cheese (a must!)
  2. sage CH vodka & mushroom risotto
  3. braised short rib
  4. CH burger
  5. and I would plan to order their delicious cocktails (not included) 

NEIGHBORHOOD: West Loop
FULL MENU:
 CH Distillery Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: CH Distillery (click "book a table")

NOTE: CH Distillery is on my list of the best holiday cocktails in Chicago!

11. El Che Bar

El Che Bar's restaurant week 4-course dinner menu ($44) has several great options in every category.

It's another spot where I'd recommend bringing an adventurous friend and sharing a bunch of your dishes with each other. There are so many yummy sounding dishes on this menu that I had a hard time choosing -- better to just get it all. 🙂

Here's what I'd order:

  1. french onion empanada
  2. grilled chorizo
  3. salmon filet with horseradish cream
  4. dulce du leche with coconut whipped cream

NEIGHBORHOOD: West Loop
FULL MENU:
 El Che Bar Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - El Che Bar

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12. HaiSous

If you haven't made your way to the new HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen, it's a good time to go. It's one of my friend Karen's favorite spots in the city!

They're offering a 3- or 4-course dinner menu ($33 or $44) for Restaurant Week with a variety of awesome dishes in each section. It's tough to choose, so I did my best!

Here's what I'd order from the 4-course menu:

  1. papaya + beef jerky
  2. mussels in coconut broth
  3. sweet & sour braised spare ribs
  4. Vietnamese coffee cream puff

NEIGHBORHOOD: Pilsen
FULL MENU:
 HaiSous Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: HaiSous's site (click "book")

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Get $$$$ for $$

This is it! Your chance to try yummy food at some of the fancier spots in this city.

There are a LOT of these on Choose Chicago's list of 364 -- so I've hand-picked a few with the best deals and yummiest menus.

13. BOKA

What are you waiting for on this one? BOKA is always awesome, and this year's 4-course dinner menu ($44) with optional wine pairings ($33) looks delicious. Pick a cold dish, a hot dish, an entree, and a dessert. 

This is another menu where it's tough to order bc there are are so many good options. Bring a date, order different dishes for each course, and share some bites!

Here's what I'd order:

  1. heirloom carrots
  2. slow poached egg
  3. slow roasted pork neck
  4. dark chocolate
  5. and I would 100% splurge on the wine pairings here

NEIGHBORHOOD: Lincoln Park
FULL MENU:
 BOKA Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - BOKA

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14. Fleming's Steakhouse

Fleming's 4-course dinner menu is a STEAL at $44.

You'll get a slightly smaller cut of meat than their typical menu (like a petit filet mignon). It's huge savings over their regular menu.

Keep in mind you'll likely want some wine in addition to this menu, as their wine list is excellent and would be hard to skip. 🙂

Here's what I'd order:

  1. lobster bisque
  2. petite filet mignon
  3. Fleming's potatoes
  4. cheesecake
  5. (and would likely buy wine)

NEIGHBORHOOD: River North
FULL MENU:
 Fleming's Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Fleming's

15. Lawry's

Lawry's 3-course dinner menu ($44) sounds SO delicious. 

Lawry's is super expensive normally, and their presentation is epic -- they bring your food across main dining floor in these giant silver carts.

In addition to the petite cuts of meat they're offering for Restaurant Week, you can also "upgrade" to a bigger cut for an additional fee.

Here's what I'd order:

  1. Lawry's famous spinning bowl salad
  2. 6oz California cut of beef with whipped horseradish
  3. side of creamed corn
  4. sticky toffee pudding

NEIGHBORHOOD: River North
FULL MENU:
 Lawry's Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Lawry's

16. Morton's Steakhouse

And the list of steakhouses continues with Morton's. Most of the steakhouses seem to be following a pattern of app + small entree + side + dessert, and Morton's 4-course dinner menu ($44) fits right into that same offering.

As someone who's pretty satisfied with a 6oz cut of filet mignon, this menu looks just great to me.

Here's what I'd order:

  1. Morton's salad
  2. 6oz center-cut filet mignon (note: you can upgrade to 8oz for an additional $10)
  3. horseradish mashed potatoes
  4. creme brûlée

NEIGHBORHOOD: Gold Coast
FULL MENU:
 Morton's (Original Location) Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: Morton's (under "make a reservation")

17. Ella Elli

This is more of a $$$ for $$. Their 3-course dinner menu is only $33!

Ella Elli is on my personal list of spots to try during Restaurant Week, as every single one of my foodie friends has raved over it since it opened. I'd definitely go with a few friends as all of the options look GREAT. 

Here's what I'd order:

  1. salt-roasted carrots with za'atar
  2. burger au poivre
  3. profiteroles with ice cream

NEIGHBORHOOD: Lakeview
FULL MENU:
 Ella Elli Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: Ella Elli (click "reservations")

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18. TWO

One more $$$ for $$, also coming in at $33.

I really like TWO, and their Chicago Restaurant Week 4-course dinner menu is an absolute steal at this price. Yum yum yum.

Here's what I'd order:

  1. shrimp & crab bisque
  2. gulf prawns + grits
  3. Wagyu brisket
  4. Nutella s'mores

NEIGHBORHOOD: West Town
FULL MENU:
 TWO Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - TWO

Lunch Like an Exec

Work can wait. These daytime deals are too good to pass up!

At a lot of these spots, the lunch menu is similar to the dinner menu -- but for only $22.

19. Cherry Circle Room

Cherry Circle Room in the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is ONLY offering lunch during Restaurant Week -- with a 3-course lunch menu ($22). Be sure to book for lunch time when making your reservation!

Note that you can also add wine pairings to the lunch menu for an additional $20 (...and good luck going back to work after THAT).

Here's what I'd order:

  1. french onion soup
  2. fish n chips
  3. chocolate and mint dessert
  4. wine pairings ($20 extra)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Loop
FULL MENU:
 Cherry Circle Room Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Cherry Circle Room (book for lunchtime!)

20. Freds at Barneys

Freds at Barneys is offering a 3-course lunch menu ($22) during Restaurant Week.

I love how light and airy their space is during the day, so I've put it on my lunch list. They do have a 4-course dinner option as well, if you can't make lunch.

Here's what I'd order at lunch:

  1. winter vegetable salad
  2. Freds spaghetti with shiitake mushrooms
  3. budino with butterscotch custard

NEIGHBORHOOD: Gold Coast
FULL MENU:
 Freds at Barneys Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Freds at Barneys Chicago

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21. Prime & Provisions

Prime & Provisions has a 2-course lunch offering for only $22. I don't always want dessert at lunchtime (it makes it sooo hard to get back to work) -- so I actually like the idea of 2 bigger lunch courses instead of 3 that include dessert.

Here's what I'd order at lunch:

  1. wedge salad
  2. fried chicken with chili bourbon maple drizzle OR dry aged prime burger (I've made a lot of ordering decisions today, but I'm really stuck on this one) 🙂

NEIGHBORHOOD: Loop
FULL MENU:
Prime & Provisions Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Prime & Provisions

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22. Topolobampo

Topolobampo always has a great Restaurant Week menu, and this year is no exception. They only have a lunch offering for Restaurant Week, a 3-course menu at $22 (with optional wine pairings for an additional $20).

Here's what I'd order at lunch:

  1. classic ceviche
  2. cochinita pibil (a delicious pork dish; one of my favorites from when I was in Yucatan, Mexico!)
  3. crepas con cajeta (crepes with plaintains and goats milk caramel)

NEIGHBORHOOD: River North
FULL MENU:
Topolobampo Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Topolobampo (be sure to book at lunch!)

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23. Joe's Seafood

Joe's Seafood is SUCH a good deal at lunch. Shoutout to Seth from chicityfoodie for calling my attention to this one!

You can get stone crabs, 2 sides, and dessert on their lunch menu for only $22, which is basically unheard of. They have a dinner menu too, but it's $44 for the same menu. Better book this one fast!

Here's what I'd order at lunch:

  1. Florida stone crab claws with hasbrowns and creamed spinach
  2. Banana cream pie

NEIGHBORHOOD: River North
FULL MENU:
Joe's Seafood Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Joe's Seafood

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Brunch Like a Champion

And, the moment you've been waiting for (or, perhaps the one you skipped down to...!) -- the best brunches!

Most of these menus come in at $22, which is awesome. Some include a cocktail, some don't -- so be sure to read the menus I've linked for each spot. Enjoy! 🙂

24. Bad Hunter

I reeeeeeally like Bad Hunter, a veggie-forward restaurant in the West Loop. 

Bad Hunter is offering a 3-course brunch menu ($22) for restaurant week, which looks absolutely EPIC. They have a lunch menu, as well, for the same price -- but I liked the brunch options better.

Here's what I'd order at brunch:

  1. mocha-spiced kougin-amann
  2. smoked salmon spread
  3. cheesy white corn grits

NEIGHBORHOOD: West Loop
FULL MENU:
Bad Hunter Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: Bad Hunter (click "reservations")

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25. Bar Siena

Bar Siena is offering lunch, dinner, and a 3-course brunch ($22) for Restaurant Week.

I love their brunch, and included it in this section because you get to try a variety of their brunch offerings for a really good price. The RW price does include 1 non-alcoholic beverage (coffee, soda, or juice) -- but cocktails would be additional $.

Here's what I'd order at brunch:

  1. coffee
  2. avocado toast
  3. bombo breakfast sandwich
  4. bomboloni

NEIGHBORHOOD: West Loop
FULL MENU:
Bar Siena Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Bar Siena

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26. Siena Tavern

Bar Siena's sister spot, Siena Tavern, also falls into my brunch category. What can I say, these guys know how to do brunch.

Siena Tavern is a little bit fancier than Bar Siena, so this is a 2-course brunch menu for the same price ($22), and still includes coffee or juice.

My advice for this menu is to go with a friend and order different selections because it is IMPOSSIBLE to choose between their smoked salmon with crispy dough and their monkey bread.

Here's what I'd order at brunch:

  1. coffee
  2. smoked salmon with crispy dough
  3. tiramisu french toast

NEIGHBORHOOD: River North
FULL MENU:
Siena Tavern Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Siena Tavern

Note: Siena Tavern also appears on these lists: My Favorite Foodie Moments of 2017 + Fancy Smoked Salmon Dishes in Chicago

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27. Cafe Ba Ba Reeba

Cafe Ba Ba Reeba has a 4-course tapas brunch menu ($22) that sounds delicious. 

Any menu with iberico ham is going to be HIGH on my list. Always!

Here's what I'd order at brunch:

  1. choice of 2 pintxos (bite-sized apps that vary daily)
  2. iberico jamon hash
  3. jamon serrano eggs benedict 
  4. chocolate truffle cake

NEIGHBORHOOD: Lincoln Park
FULL MENU:
Cafe Ba Ba Reeba Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Cafe Ba Ba Reeba

28. Revival Social Club

This 2-course brunch menu ($22) at Revival Social Club TOTALLY won me over between the banana bread bites, the waffle sliders, and the Cuban monte cristo.

How's a gal supposed to pick only 2? Oh, right. Bring a friend and order EVERYTHING.

Pssst! Revival Social Club, which I'm talking about here, is a different spot than Revival Food Hall in the Loop (and, was around first 😜).

Here's what I'd order at brunch:

  1. banana bread bites
  2. waffle sliders with chicken, sausage, and tomato jam

NEIGHBORHOOD: Edgewater
FULL MENU:
Revival Social Club Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Revival Social Club

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29. Mon Ami Gabi

I like this brunch menu because you get to choose between a cocktail or an hors d'oeuvre, and I think that's a clever way to add optionality (and booze!) into an inexpensive prix fixe menu.

The 3-course menu includes an entree, a dessert, and your choice of a cocktail or an hors d'oeuvre. And I think we all know what direction I'm going with that. 😛

Here's what I'd order at brunch:

  1. Gabi bloody mary
  2. classic eggs benedict
  3. dessert trio 

NEIGHBORHOOD: Lincoln Park
FULL MENU:
Mon Ami Gabi Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Mon Ami Gabi

30. Coda Di Volpe

And, finally - I'm rounding out this list with the 3-course brunch offering ($22) at the Southern Italian neighborhood spot Coda di Volpe. Full disclosure, I've only been here for dinner before -- but the eggs in purgatory caught my eye.

If you haven't yet made it here, RW brunch is a great way to check it out! If you do go off the RW menu, they have great pizzas, too.

Here's what I'd order at brunch:

  1. imported Italian yogurt
  2. eggs in purgatory
  3. artisanal cheese

NEIGHBORHOOD: Lakeview
FULL MENU:
Coda Di Volpe Restaurant Week
MAKE RESERVATIONS: OpenTable - Coda Di Volpe

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Best Chicago Restaurant Week by 312food

Whew! I hope you found this helpful in narrowing down a list of 364 spots to a more manageable list of 30.

Of course, I've only covered 10% of the options here -- so if you have any suggestions for really great options I've missed, please note them in the comments below so others can see.

Thanks for reading! As always, if you enjoyed this list, I'd appreciate a pin or share! <3Erin

Best picks for Chicago Restaurant Week 2018!

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