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The best restaurants to try for Chicago Restaurant Week 2017

The best restaurants to try for Chicago Restaurant Week 2017
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Reservations are now available for Chicago Restaurant Week, which runs this year (its 10th) from January 27 to February 9 with dining deals for two weeks. This year, there’s a new category of prix fixe menus, brunch ($22 for the meal). And the regular specials are back—$22 for lunch and $33 or $44 for dinner, depending on the size of the meal. The catch? Not all Chicago Restaurant Week menus are created alike, so we picked out the ones we think will get you the most bang for your buck (and the tastiest meals). Don't forget to make your reservations now, because these meals won't be around for long.

Balena: Dinner at Balena is always a treat, but we always want everything on the menu and can't quite afford it. So treat yourself and try a bunch of different dishes at Balena this year, with their $44 four-course dinner special. This one's perfect for picky eaters, too, with a few options for every course. Our picks? Start with the chicken liver mousse, then the tagliolini nero. Follow it up with your choice of meat for the hearth dish and finish with a tiramisu.

Cindy's: Even for lunch, dining in (or simply a glass of wine) at Cindy's is a special occasion . Take your whole lunch break to enjoy an unhurried meal during Restaurant Week. Cindy's has soup (tomato with a grilled cheese) or salad, a braised pork sandwich and rigatoni with a gingerbread cake for dessert.

Dos Urban Cantina: We've yet to find a dish we don't love on Dos's menu, making this dinner a shoo-in. Pair it with their happy hour specials (hello, tamal tots) and we're happy campers. They're serving up shaved Brussels sprouts, sweet corn tamales and ceviche tostadas to start, followed by roasted vegetables or carnitas. Finish with your choice of dessert—we're pretty sure you can't go wrong.

El Che Bar: El Che Bar is one of our newest loves, where we try so hard not to look at the prices until the meal is over (that works, right?). But try as we might, coughing up the cash for dinner can be tricky. Try it now, while you can grab dinner for $44 per person with two choices in almost every course (go with a friend and get a little of everything—I mean, what's not to love?).

Nico Osteria: Four courses for $33 will win us over. Pastas, solid meat choices and roasted beet salad finished with gelati and tiramisu are up for grabs at Nico Osteria, so pull your fancy digs out of the closet and head over to the Gold Coast spot for an upscale dinner that won't have your wallet crying for help.

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