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Marisol
Photograph: Carolina Mariana RodriguezMarisol

Your cheat sheet to Chicago Restaurant Week 2018

We found the 10 best menus for every occasion—from brunch to date night and everything in between

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen
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Chicago Restaurant Week means different things to different people. For some, it’s a ripe opportunity to cash in on a discounted four-course dinner. For others, it’s a much needed push to get out and try one of the city’s best new restaurants. Regardless of which camp you fall into, the annual two-week event can be overwhelming to navigate; there are more than 370 brunch, lunch and dinner menus to choose from, after all. To make it easy on you, we looked at all of the options (yes, even Rainforest Café) to pluck the very best for your consideration. From a noteworthy new brunch to a rap-themed dinner to a vegetarian’s dream menu, these are the 10 best offerings for 2018. Chicago Restaurant Week runs from January 26 to February 8, and reservations are available now at eatitupchicago.com.

The best Chicago Restaurant Week deals

Most creative menu: Ada St.
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • River West/West Town
  • price 2 of 4

For years Ada St. has been going above and beyond with its themed menus for Restaurant Week, and 2018 is no exception: Chef Scott Sax presents a three-course, rapper’s delight dinner. Each dish is brilliantly paired with a well-known lyric that will have you freestyling your order. Can you guess which Kanye West lyric goes with the seared cod? $44 dinner

Best new brunch: Regards to Edith
  • Restaurants
  • West Loop

Any brunch that begins with warm cast-iron cinnamon rolls slathered in cream cheese icing is a winner in our book. From there, you’ll choose between a fried chicken biscuit with hot pickles and a sunny-side up egg or the grain bowl filled with grilled sweet potato, spiced pepita, avocado, poached egg and charred scallion. There’s no wrong answer. $22 brunch

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  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Lower West Side
  • price 2 of 4

Looking to try something new, eh? Thai and Danielle Dang’s Vietnamese restaurant in Pilsen landed on just about every dining editor’s 2017 best-of list for good reason. See what all the hype is about by trying some of the most notable dishes on the menu. For Restaurant Week, they’re serving a three- or four-course dinner that includes sweet and sour braised spare ribs, Thai’s signature papaya salad and fresh Vietnamese fruits. $33 or $44 dinner

Leisurely lunch: Marisol
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Streeterville

If you’re playing hooky Tuesday through Friday, pop over to Streeterville newcomer Marisol. Located inside the MCA, the restaurant is serving an inspired three-course menu that’s best followed by a lap around the museum. Before that, nosh on house favorites like squash-studded burrata toast, a veggie cheeseburger and butterscotch pudding. $22 lunch

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • West Loop
  • price 3 of 4

Don’t sleep on Rick Bayless’s unbelievable four-course Restaurant Week lineup, which showcases quality ingredients, several choices for each course and celebrated favorites from the regular menu. Whatever you do, promise us you’ll get the free-form wood-oven apple tart for dessert–it’s topped with tomatillo caramel, melty local honey ice cream and warm walnut streusel. $44 dinner

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Lincoln Square
  • price 2 of 4

For some, Restaurant Week is all about trying the hottest new spots around town; for others, it’s a great excuse to revisit an old favorite. If you’re looking for the latter, grab a seat at Bistro Campagne and treat yourself to a three-course dinner that’s loaded with French favorites like escargot, boeuf bourguignon (braised beef cheeks) and creme brûlée. De rien. $33 dinner

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Logan Square
  • price 2 of 4

If you only have time to make one Restaurant Week reservation, place your bet on Osteria Langhe in Logan Square. The intimate Italian restaurant is offering a three-course dinner that’s brimming with hits. House-made pappardelle, braised chuck rib and the famous panna cotta are all on the menu. You can (and should) upgrade your entree with winter black truffles or seared foie gras for just $11. $33 dinner

  • Restaurants
  • Ukrainian Village

There are plenty of Restaurant Week participants that offer vegetarian- and vegan-friendly dishes, but none go as far as Clever Rabbit’s four-part dinner menu, which presents a vegetarian or vegan option for every course. A few of the most intriguing dishes include supple carrot dumplings, a broccoli and leek rillette and pasta tossed with parsnip, eggplant and herb puree and egg yolk. You can also order a 2011 Sanford chardonnay by the glass ($10) or bottle ($40)—a total steal. $44 dinner

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Edgewater

When’s the last time you went out for an Indian feast? Mango Pickle chef-owner Marisa Paolillo is treating Restaurant Week diners to a delightful three-course meal in Edgewater. Entrees like tandoori spiced salmon and clay pot chicken are served with spiced rice or slow-rise naan. Finish the night with tamarind-infused creme brûlée or chocolate ganache with hung yogurt. $33 dinner

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • River West/West Town
  • price 2 of 4

In addition to their regular Restaurant Week menu, chefs Nelson Vinansaca and Joseph Fontelera have prepared a second menu that’s gluten free and vegan. There are no choices for each course, but you’ll be in good hands with these thoughtful dishes: tofu with seaweed, grilled fennel salad, miso-broiled rice ball and veggies in clear broth and red bean soup with mochi. $44 dinner

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