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HaiSous
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas HaiSous

Your Chicago Restaurant Week 2021 cheat sheet

Where to eat during this year's celebration of local cuisine, whether you want to dine indoors, at home or on a boat.

By Zach Long
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This year's edition of Chicago Restaurant Week isn't quite as expansive as usual, but there are still some bargains to be found among the participating spots. Running from March 19 through April 4, this year's edition of the event has adapted to the unique times we're living in, with many restaurants offering takeout and delivery options. The 17-day celebration of local cuisine includes some of the best restaurants in Chicago as well as beloved neighborhood destinations. And with restaurants still restricted to 50 percent indoor capacity, it's a great time to support eateries throughout the city, whether you're comfortable dining in or would prefer to ferry your food home. We've dug through the more than 265 Chicago Restaurant Week participants and picked out 12 places offering delicious dishes and great deals.

Where to eat during Chicago Restaurant Week 2021

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Editor's choice: Table, Donkey and Stick

Restaurants Eclectic Logan Square

The folks at Table, Donkey and Stick have been experimenting with pizza throughout the pandemic, but the Logan Square restaurant's prix fixe menu sticks to their specialties: meats and cheeses. For just $39, you'll nosh on charcuterie, artisan cheeses and miniature latkes before tackling the main course. You can't go wrong with any of the options (fennel and fried head cheese risotto, half an amish chicken, pork jaegerwurst), but we recommend the CDK burger, loaded with bacon jam, swiss cheese and schmaltz dijon mayo.

Offering outdoor dining, takeout and delivery.

 Lizzy J Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Lizzy J Cafe

Best brunch: Lizzy J Cafe

Restaurants Cafés North Center

For just $25, you can grab brunch at this Lincoln Square cafe helmed by Food Network star Tyler Florence. There are plenty of options on the menu, including a decadent lobster and crab Benedict served on a cheddar and scallion biscuit or pan-seared lambchops accompanied by cheese hash browns and scrambled eggs. Plus, every dish comes with a half-order of Lizzy J's signature brioche French toast.

Offering indoor dining, takeout and delivery.

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Pacific Standard Time
Photograph: Brian Willette

Classic eats, new digs: avec River North

Restaurants Mediterranean River North

Taking over the former home of Pacific Standard Time, the River North outpost of Avec brings the Mediterranean menu of the longtime Randolph Street favorite to a new setting. The location's $55 dinner menu sticks to classic dishes like chorizo-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates; spicy Brussels sprouts; and wood-oven paella—but you'll be sampling them in airy new surroundings.

Offering indoor dining.

Virtue beef filet
Photograph: Lindsey Becker

A hearty dinner: Virtue

Restaurants Soul and southern American Hyde Park

Chef Erick Williams's Chicago Restaurant Week dinner menu is packed with signature dishes that we'd recommend trying at Virtue even if they weren't part of a $55 prix fixe menu. You'll start with roasted kale or broccoli, continue with shrimp and grits or Cajun jambalaya, and end the evening with pecan pie or carrot cake. Plus, the meal is accompanied by a creamy rhubarb cocktail or your choice of wine.

Offering indoor dining.

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Cocoa Chili
Photograph: Zachary James Johnston

Delicious delivery: Cocoa Chili

Restaurants Soul and southern American East Garfield Park

Bring home smile-inducing, belly-warming Afro-Caribbean-soul food from this Chicago Restaurant Week newcomer. You can order takeout or delivery from this Garfeild Park spot (located in the Hatchery) Tuesday through Friday, chosing from dishes like spicy Creole gumbo, curry chicken and Carribean salmon—all served with coco bread. 

Offering takeout and delivery.

Plates of food pov
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Family-style meal: HaiSous

Restaurants Vietnamese Lower West Side

Whether you choose the $39 or $55 prix fixe menu at Vietnamese restaurant HaiSous, you'll want to bring at least one other person, because these meals are served family-style. Share lemongrass braised chicken and stewed shrimp or upgrade to grilled ribeye and a whole roasted bass. All dishes can be prepared gluten-free—just give your server a heads up before you dine.

Offering indoor dining, takeout and delivery.

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Odyssey Chicago River
Photograph: Courtesy Entertainment Cruises

Dinner on a boat: Odyssey Chicago River

Restaurants Eclectic Streeterville

There's only one Chicago Restaurant Week option that allows you to enjoy a meal while floating down the Chicago River. The experience is only available on Friday and Saturday evenings, and the menu includes standard fare like broil salmon, oven roasted chicken and shrimp scampi. But if you're looking for a meal with shifting views of the city's architecture, this might be the dinner for you.

Offering indoor dining.

duck inn
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

A meaty feast: The Duck Inn

Restaurants American Bridgeport

There's a mushroom salad, smoked sweet potato and a tofu steak on the Duck Inn's three-course Chicago Restaurant Week menu, but everything else involves some meat or seafood. Thankfully, the folks behind the Pilsen restuarant are skilled at creating protein-heavy dishes, ranging from oxtail bolognese to beef short rib. Vegetarians can join in the fun, but meat-eaters are going to get their money's worth.

Offering indoor dining, outdoor dining, takeout and delivery.

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Mango Pickle
Photograph: Courtesy Mango Pickle/Gregory Bazire

Not-so-hidden gem: Mango Pickle

Restaurants Indian Edgewater

You can't miss Mango Pickle's bright orange Edgewater storefront and if you've never tried the bistro's take on Indian cuisine, now is your chance. For $39 you can get a shrimp curry, braised beef and dark chocolate mousse to-go (complete with re-heating instructions). And if you're comfortable dining out, a $55 three-course meal made up of the same dishes is accompanied by beverage pairings. 

Offering indoor dining, outdoor dining, takeout and delivery.

BEET L.A.T. at Publican Quality Meats We didn’t expect a vegetarian sandwich to be a standout at Publican Quality Meats, but nothing should be a surprise where Paul Kahan is concerned. There are beets, of course, along with lettuce and avocado, but it’s
Photograph: Chloe List

Lunch to-go: Publican Quality Meats

Restaurants Contemporary American West Loop

Need some lunch on the go? Publican Quality Meats isn't offering any seating at the moment, but you can snag a sandwich, a cup of soup and a cookie for $25. Choose from a chicken parm, roast beef with sweet and sour pickles or a falafel sandwich. And if you don't feel like making the trek to the West Loop, PQM also delivers.

Offering takeout and delivery.

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Photograph: Barry Brecheisen

Bargain in the Loop: Wishbone

Restaurants Soul and southern American West Loop

Have you checked out Wishbones relatively new location on Jefferson Street (not far from CTA headquarters) in the West Loop? If not, Chicago Restaurant Week is good excuse to grab a table and dig into a $39 dinner menu made up of three course—plus dessert! Fans of Cajun cuisine will love the crawfish beignets or shrimp and grits before a main course of salmon en papillote or pan seared rainbow trout. Just make sure you save room for a slice of buttermilk pie.

Offering indoor and ourdoor dining.

Antico Posto
Photograph: Courtesy Lettuce Entertain You

Suburban stretch: Antico Posto

Restaurants Italian Suburbs

Housed inside the Oakbrook Center Mall, this Italian-focused Lettuce Entertain You concept hasn't made its way to Chicago just yet. If you're willing to make the trip, the dinner menu is a crab-loaded bargain, offering four courses for just $39. The biggest decision you'll have to make is between gnocchi, spaghetti, eggplant parmesan or chicken limon.

Offering indoor dining, takeout and delivery.

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