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15 legit deals for Chicago Restaurant Week 2020

We sifted through hundreds of Chicago Restaurant Week menus to find these dining steals

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Photograph: Barry Brecheisen

There's a good reason why Chicago Restaurant Week is hosted in the dead of winter. It's the perfect excuse to give your favorite delivery app a rest, bust out of hibernation and hunt down an amazing meal. This year, the annual event runs from January 24 through February 9 with more than 400 of the best restaurants in Chicago participating. The city's most talented chefs are challenged to dream up destination-worthy multi-course menus for brunch ($24), lunch ($24) and dinner ($36 or $48), while diners hope to score a tasty deal. Of course, not all Chicago Restaurant Week menus are created equal—in fact, some are downright lackluster. We reviewed hundreds of them, crunched the numbers and found the most promising options for every need—from boozy brunching and leisurely lunching to a smart splurge and a gluten-free dinner worth singing about. Check out the 15 best Chicago Restaurant Week deals for 2020 and make your reservations accordingly.

Our picks for Chicago Restaurant Week 2020

Photograph: Sandy Noto
Restaurants, Israeli

Hot new spot: Galit

Sheffield & DePaul

If you're one of those people who uses Chicago Restaurant Week as an opportunity to finally check out that new spot that everyone's been raving about, Israeli eatery Galit won't disappoint—just be sure to snag a reservation ASAP. The five-course dinner menu is priced at $48 per person and highlights chef Zach Engel's greatest hits, including your choice of hummus, a smattering of dips and sides served with pita, a mezze course, a shareable entrée and dessert.

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Photograph: Jill Paider
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Editor’s choice: The Bristol

Bucktown

There are a few things I love about the Bristol's $48 dinner menu. Diners have the option to add on wine pairings for $20, and considering the restaurant's roster of food-loving vinos, it's a worthy investment. But even if you don't spring for the pairings, the four-course menu offers a taste of what the Bristol does best for an absolute steal. Here's what I'd order: endive salad, cacio e pepe, Amish half chicken and Basque cake. On an ordinary night, that exact order would cost you $70. I suspect that the Bristol sizes down it's portions, but this is still an extraordinary deal.

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parsonschickenfish01.jpg
Photograph: Clayton Hauck
Restaurants, Soul and southern American

Date-night deal: Parson's Chicken & Fish

Logan Square

Parson's is offering lunch and dinner this year, but dinner is where you'll get the most bang for your buck. For $36 total, a hungry duo can split an appetizer (hush puppies or fried cauliflower), a shareable main (nine-piece fried catfish or whole chicken), a side (coleslaw or mashed potatoes) and two slices of pie from Bang Bang. You and your dining companion will save about $14—so go ahead and order a round of Negroni slushies.

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Photograph: Jason Little
Restaurants, French

Fancy find: Brindille

River North

Award-winning chef Carrie Nahabedian's River North restaurant Brindille specializes in luxurious French eats, making it a fine choice for deal-seekers, especially when you consider her five-course tasting menu typically goes for $125 a head. For Restaurant Week, $48 will get you three courses, each packed with plenty of solid options. First-timers shouldn't miss the chilled oysters dressed with thyme liqueur sorbet, smoked roe and pink grapefruit. There are five main courses to choose from, but the steak frites here are always pristine.

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Avec brunch
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Chicago icon: avec

West Loop

The bad news: You don't get to choose your own dining adventure with this set four-course dinner menu that rings up at $48. The good news: The folks at avec know what they're doing, and yes, the famous chorizo-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates are on the menu. The meal also includes house-marinated olives, Brussels sprout panzanella, wood-oven paella packed with meaty goodies and hazelnut chocolate cremeux. No complaints here.

Izakaya at Momotaro
Photograph: Huge Galdones
Restaurants, Japanese

Smart splurge: Izakaya at Momotaro

West Loop

Not all Restaurant Week deals are created equal, but Momotaro's subterranean izakaya is pulling out the stops with a worthwhile five-course dinner lineup priced at $48 per person. The first three courses comprise cold and hot bites as well as a selection from the robata grill. Diners then choose from three meaty entrées—a pork belly rice bowl, chicken-pork ramen or panko-crusted pork with curry—before digging into dessert.

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Photograph: Barry Brecheisen
Restaurants, Indian

Vegetarian’s delight: ROOH

West Loop

Whether you're a strict vegetarian or you just love your greens, modern Indian restaurant ROOH has you covered with its three-course $48 dinner menu, which offers two vegetarian options per course. They're not holding back on creativity either, with options like potato tikka with yogurt mousse and raspberry or the jackfruit kofta, served with tempered spinach sauce and lotus stem crisps. For dessert, diners choose between carrot halwa cake and baked semolina cake.

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Photograph: Courtesy Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
Restaurants, Ethiopian

Leisurely lunch: Demera Ethiopian

Uptown

If you've never taken the Red Line to Uptown to dine at Ethiopian restaurant Demera, you're in for a real treat. For Restaurant Week, you and a friend can go in on the $24 lunch menu together, which includes an appetizer (sambusas or beet salad) and messob, with your choice of six meats or veggies from the main menu. Dinner's the same deal with a dessert included, but your money stretches further in the daytime.

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Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago
Photograph: Matthew Glac
Restaurants, Coffee shops

Booziest bet: Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Streeterville

Starbucks's ginormous roastery (the largest of its kind in the world) is getting in on Restaurant Week this year with a unique offering hosted in its Arriviamo Cocktail Bar. For $48 per person, you'll get to pick two Chicago-exclusive cocktails, a meat and cheese board, fresh breads from the in-house bakery and handmade chocolates from Chocolat Uzma.

Saffron rice on the Topolobampo Mexico City 1671 menu.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Mexican

Michelin-approved lunch: Topolobampo

River North

If you want to ball out over the lunch hour, Rick Bayless has you covered at his Michelin-starred River North restaurant Topolobampo. The three-course lunch lineup is priced at $24 per person and includes highlights like albacore ceviche, wood-grilled carne asada with mole negro and a cajeta brownie sundae served with vanilla-milk chocolate ice cream. Don't plan on going back to the office after this one.

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Ella Elli
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, Contemporary European

Gluten-free goodness: Ella Elli

Lake View

Ella Elli's four-part $48 dinner menu offers plenty of choices for vegetarians and gluten-free eaters, but the latter is best represented across every course. Start with the tuna crudo with pickled chilis before digging into the winter greens, which is dressed with poached pears, walnuts and gorgonzola. All three mains are grain-free, so take your pick of filet au poivre, lamb scottadito or the scallops with winter citrus. You won't have to pass on dessert, with the CBD-infused Hazy Pink Squirrel or a hibiscus pavlova.

Photograph: Grant Kessler
Restaurants, Soul and southern American

Hidden gem: Big Jones

Andersonville

If you're looking for a more affordable dinner option, Big Jones offers a beautiful $36 menu that includes three courses and bread service. And not just any bread service—jalapeño-cheese cornbread bread service. Round out the meal with an appetizer, entrée and dessert; choices include a jumbo shrimp cocktail with spicy peanut sauce, gumbo-fat–fried chicken and winter bread pudding with spiced apple butter.

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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants

Most creative: Split-Rail

Ukrainian Village

For years, chef Zoe Schor has used Chicago Restaurant Week as a platform to debut off-the-wall themed menus, like her ode to serial killers' last meals at Ada Street and her Queer Eye tribute at Split-Rail. This year, she's tapping into the astrology trend with two five-course dinner menus—Earth & Air and Fire & Water—both priced at $48 per person. We've got our eyes on the latter, which features Nashville hot lamb ribs, spicy clam bucatini and chocolate cake with chile-spiked ganache and caramel.

Photograph: Courtesy Royal Grocer
Restaurants, American

Best brunch: The Royal Grocer & Co.

Bucktown

For $24 per person, you and your crew can enjoy bottomless mimosas or bloodies, a starter and a main—with hearty choices like shrimp and grits, sourdough waffles, short rib hash and a stacked breakfast sandwich. Just be mindful of the two-hour limit so that other diners can enjoy this boozy breakfast deal.

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Michael Navarro
Restaurants, French

Suburban stretch: Aboyer

Suburbs

If you're willing to travel outside of city limits for your Restaurant Week experience, consider trekking to Winnetka for chef Michael Lachowicz's French-American brasserie Aboyer. Every table is greeted with warm cheese puffs and bread service (off to a good start), and the $48 dinner menu includes a starter, main and dessert. The math works in your favor if you order the charcuterie duo, hanger steak with pomme frites and the dark chocolate gateau.

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