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Photograph: Martha WilliamsMeatball pizza at Balena

The best restaurants to try during Chicago Chef Week 2016

Written by
Elizabeth Atkinson
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Every year, Chicago Chef Week highlights prix fixe menus from chef-driven restaurants at discounted prices (lunch is $22 and dinner is $44). This year, Chicago Chef Week takes place April 17–22, but reservations have already gone live. There are nearly 80 restaurants to choose from, so we narrowed down the list to make choosing your mid-April meal a little easier.

Balena's offering a four course meal with grilled asparagus, potato gnocchi with an herb pesto, a main of branzino with shrimp and mussels and ending the meal with a rhubarb puff pastry with blood orange gelato. 

Grab lunch or dinner at Carnivale, a colorful Latin-fusion restaurant. The menu includes lobster empanadas as an appetizer and a short rib entree (or a choice of short rib or mariscada with saffron scented rice and uni butter for dinner). A rhubarb tart will cap off the meal.

If you haven't made it out to Dos Urban Cantina yet, try a dinner featuring lots of menu mainstays. Pick the street style corn with cotija, mayo and hominy—one of our favorites—and the beautifully plated raw scallops.

To get some bang for your buck, head to Lula Cafe's dinner. Choices include fried quail with kumquat and cauliflower with brown butter hollandaise, hanger steak with hearts of palm and an heirloom bean ragout with celery root and a chocolate pot de crème for dessert.

It's a rare occasion to head out to North Pond, so take the opportunity to try a sampling of chef Bruce Sherman's always fresh menu in one of the most romantic spots in the city.

The menu at Perennial Virant is always filled with locally sourced dishes, which always includes boards of cheeses, meats, pickles and soul-satisfying entrees, so we're trusting that chef Paul Virant will provide a solid meal for Chef Week diners.

Yusho's special dinners typically include new menu items, and this one is no different. The four course meal features seared ahi tuna with lemongrass caramel, a kabocha and mushroom croquette with shiso, smoked salmon soba and a soft serve cone.

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