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Le Sud
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas Le Sud

Your Chicago Restaurant Week 2019 cheat sheet

We break down the 14 best Chicago Restaurant Week menus for every occasion

By Morgan Olsen

Winter in Chicago comes with only two guarantees: snow and Chicago Restaurant Week. Make the most of the latter with our guide to the best, most worthwhile menus. This year, nearly 400 restaurants are participating in the 12th annual event, which can quickly overwhelm if you don't know where to start. We analyzed the menus, did the math and selected the top destinations for every situation and dietary need. Whether you're searching for a romantic restaurant for date night, a tried-and-true brunch spot or an unfathomably good deal, we have you covered with our best bets for Chicago Restaurant Week 2019. Browse the 14 best menus we found and make your reservations accordingly. Chicago Restaurant Week deals are available at participating restaurants from January 25 through February 7.

RECOMMENDED: Your complete guide to Chicago Restaurant Week

Hot new spot: Le Sud

Restaurants North Center

Time Out Chicago restaurant critic Maggie Hennessy recently raved about this new French spot in Roscoe Village. Lucky for you, Le Sud is offering a three-course menu for Restaurant Week that's rife with hits. We're eyeing the pan-roasted duck breast, which has a beautiful lavender-honey glaze, and the Basque cake served with Chantilly cream. $36 dinner

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Most creative menu: Split-Rail

Restaurants Ukrainian Village

Chef Zoe Schor has never been one to phone in a Restaurant Week menu. For years, she's dreamed up inventive themes that make the experience feel extra special. This year, Schor created two menus that are Queer Eye-themed: Choose from Antoni or "The Other Guys." The first is inspired by Queer Eye's resident food and drink master, Antoni Porowski, while the second gathers inspiration from Karamo Brown, Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness and Bobby Berk. Each dish includes a quote from one of the guys. Our personal favorite is one called "It's a French Tuck" (inspired by France, of course) that includes chocolate, puff pastry and fresh cream. $48 dinner

Photograph: Anthony Tahlier

Smart splurge: Bellemore

Restaurants American West Loop

The folks at Bellemore are pulling out all the stops for Chicago Restaurant Week, offering great deals on some of their hottest dishes. For lunch, diners choose three courses, which includes the coveted Fire-Bird chicken sandwich. The plentiful four-course dinner menu is an even wiser splurge, with Kona kampachi, venison tartare, icelandic cod and triple chocolate mousse cake on the docket. Bellemore is offering one of the finer Restaurant Week menus we've seen in recent memory, which means reservations will go fast. $24 lunch, $48 dinner

Sepia and octopus is on the menu at Acanto, one of the best restaurants in the Loop.
Photograph: Martha Williams

Editor's choice: Sepia

Restaurants Contemporary American West Loop

If you can choose just one Chicago Restaurant Week experience, make a dinner reservation at Sepia. Chef Andrew Zimmerman offers a three- or four-course menu that highlights market-fresh ingredients like kumquats, Thai basil and Swiss chard. The ocean trout entree gives you the most bang for your buck and is accompanied by Brussels sprouts, northern beans and golden raisins. Toss in a wine flight for $20 or $28 (you earned it), depending on how many courses you choose. $24 lunch, $36 or $48 dinner

Photograph: Leigh Loftus

Hidden gem: Portsmith

Restaurants Seafood River North

Seafood fanatics shouldn't sleep on Portsmith's steal of a dinner menu, which includes three courses packed with oceanic treasures. To get your money's worth, start with the swordfish pastrami before digging into the lemon sole entree (which regularly retails for $29). For dessert, it's a toss-up between the macaron ice cream sandwich and the hazelnut mousse cake with cocoa nib ice cream. $36 dinner

Photograph: Huge Galdones

Chicago classic: Boka

Restaurants American creative Lincoln Park

If you still haven't knocked Boka off your Chicago restaurant bucket list, now's your chance to do it for under $50 per person. The generous four-course menu includes highlights like shaved foie gras with brown butter peanuts, poached shrimp with grilled cucumbers and glazed pork neck with sunchoke and pickled mustard. Psst: Think about tossing in a glass of wine; Boka has excellent selections by the glass, many of which ring up under $15. $48 dinner

Photograph: John Khuu

Vegetarian’s delight: Monteverde

Restaurants Italian West Loop

We don't usually think "vegetarian" when we think "Italian," but chef Sarah Grueneberg is changing our minds with her veg-friendly menu for Restaurant Week. All four courses have at least one meat-free dish, like sunchoke and artichoke crostino, Lillian's stuffed cabbage and a butterscotch budino with whipped mascarpone and pecan toffee. Wine pairings are available for an additional $18, a remarkably good deal. $48 dinner

duck inn
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Meatiest menu: The Duck Inn

Restaurants American Bridgeport

Chef Kevin Hickey is luring carnivores to Bridgeport with a three-course, meat-packed menu that includes plates like the famous Pig Head Candy Bar, beef tartare and pork belly and scallops. Take a break from the carnage with dessert—a delicate black sesame semifreddo with goat's milk cajeta and coriander. $48 dinner


Leisurely lunch: Pacific Standard Time

Restaurants River North

If you're one of those people who uses Chicago Restaurant Week as an excuse to check out the hottest newcomers, consider taking your lunch break at Pacific Standard Time in River North, where chef Erling Wu Bower is cooking breezy, California-inspired fare. Start with the carrot soup or honeycrisp apple salad before choosing an entree: chicken wings, pork or beef gyro, avocado pita or duck confit banh mi. Top it off with two scoops of house-made ice cream. $24 lunch, $48 dinner

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Date night: El Che Bar

Restaurants American West Loop

There's something undeniably sexy about a restaurant that's anchored by an open hearth, as is the case at El Che Bar in the West Loop. Its special four-course menu is packed with Argentinean hits including French onion empanadas and the 10-ounce grilled "bricklayer" ribeye with chimichurri. Save room for the dulce de leche tres leches cake, which is crowned with refreshing coconut whipped cream. $48 dinner

Dusek's Juicy Lucy Burger
Photograph: Ashleigh Dye

Michelin-approved: Dusek’s Board and Beer

Bars Gastropubs Lower West Side

Try a Michelin-starred restaurant for less than $40 a head at Dusek's in Pilsen. The one-star spot will serve a three-course menu that boasts awesome winter flavors. Take the confit duck leg for example: Topped with sauerkraut, caraway-pickled apples, confit potatoes and natural jus, it's a warm hug for your mouth. $36 dinner

duck duck goat
Photograph: Anthony Tahlier

Best brunch: Duck Duck Goat

Restaurants Chinese West Loop

If you don't mind letting the kitchen call the shots, Duck Duck Goat has one hell of a dim sum menu available on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm during Restaurant Week. Sit back and watch as your table is filled with short rib and bone marrow potstickers, crab rangoon, soup dumplings, goat bacon, veggie fried rice and donut holes with sesame whip. $24 brunch

Goat Albondigas at Dos Urban Cantina
Photograph: Courtesy Dos Urban Cantina

For the sweet tooth: Dos Urban Cantina

Restaurants Mexican Logan Square

Unfortunately, Dos Urban Cantina isn't offering a three-course dessert menu (that should be a thing, right?). But if you've got a sweet tooth, the third course will satisfy your every craving. First, pick an appetizer and entree—we'd vote chicken wings and roasted red chile trout—before you make the toughest decision of all: Chocolate cake, coconut tres leches or the mint-chocolate chip sundae? $36 dinner

Duck In A Jar
Photograph: Nick Murway

Best gluten-free menu: Longman & Eagle

Restaurants Contemporary American Logan Square

Just because you don't jive with gluten doesn't mean that you can't enjoy Chicago Restaurant Week. Longman & Eagle offers one of the more inclusive menus, with five gluten-less options across three courses. Enjoy the Scotch egg, heirloom beets, half chicken, short rib or tropical candy bar. The lunch menu isn't as friendly, so stick to dinner. $36 dinner


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