Top 7 Restaurants You Need to Try During Chicago Restaurant Week

Everyone can agree that Chicago Restaurant Week is delicious and for adventurous foodies, the tastiest week of the year is a great time to splurge on exploring the exciting and unique food right here in our own backyard. We looked through the menus for this year’s Chicago Restaurant Week, and came up with seven of the most unique restaurants we could find. Some popular flavors this year included basil ice cream of two kinds and a ridiculously extravagant junk food dessert. There were also various pates, including a burger topped with pate which sounds so decadent that we have to try it. These menus are making us ravenous and our countdown has now officially begun for this year’s Chicago Restaurant Week.

Blackbird (West Loop)

$22 lunch menu

Blackbird’s lunch menu includes some pretty exciting offerings, and we have to try the Steak Tartare appetizer that is mixed with rye berries, spicy radish, oxalis and lemonwood, followed by the Grilled Sturgeon entree served with roasted leeks, fingerling potatoes, osetra caviar, pear and ham hock jus. For dessert, we’re pretty jazzed about the Winter Coupe with espresso ice cream, almond crumble, licorice cream and fudge. 619 W Randolph Street, Chicago  312.715.0708

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! (Lincoln Park)

$33 dinner menu

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! offers a tapa-lover’s dinner menu that includes a Pintxo (peen-cho), appetizer, which is a bite-sized tapa plus four tapas for your entree (or two tapas plus Seafood Paella with shrimp, bay scallops and monkfish). Our choice of dessert is a the Gala Apple Empanada with a spiked dipping sauce. Who doesn’t love spiked dipping sauces? 2024 N Halsted Street, Chicago  773.935.5000


Chuck’s (Magnificent Mile)

$22 lunch menu

Chuck’s has a modest lunch menu filled with comfort classics that sound delicious when it’s snowy outside. We want to try their Chicago Clam Chowder that’s made with hot Italian sausage, potatoes, clams and tomato cream, as well as the Iron Chef Burger served with red onion jam, sharp cheddar and a “fancy sauce” that’s making us curious. The dessert is what really sold us though. It’s called the Junk Food Platter and it holds a calorie-packed smorgasbord including a hostess-style cupcake, caramel corn, a cookie, a brownie, a Rice Krispie treat and cotton candy. Wow. 224 N Michigan Avenue, Chicago  312.334.6700


The Dawson (West Town)

$44 dinner menu

The Dawson’s dinner menu seems like an adventurous Taste of Chicago sampling idea, and just the thought is making us lick our lips in anticipation. We’re interested in the Rabbit Liver Mousse appetizer served with a Flemish sour gelee (which sounds, er, Flemish, right?) and the Braised Oxtail entree that’s served with chestnut tagliatelle and red kuri squash. The exciting flavor combinations for dinner would be comfortably soothed by our dessert selection, the Chocolate Coffee Pot de Creme served with almond biscotti. 630 W Grand Avenue, Chicago  312.243.8955


Demera Ethiopian Restaurant (Uptown)

$22 lunch menu

Demera Ethiopian Restaurant is a Michelin-starred restaurant that has a lunch menu that looks like it will be as filling as it is fun to pronounce. We’re looking forward to the Kayseer Selata appetizer, which we’re guessing is a salad with chopped beets, potatoes, onion and sliced jalapenos that is served with olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon juice. For an entree, we’d get the Veg/Meat Messob that allows us to mix-and-match two vegetable and two meat entrees off the menu–with a dizzying array of lamb, beef, chicken and vegetarian options sound delicious. For dessert, our curiosity is piqued by the Basil Lime Sorbet. 4801 N Broadway Street, Chicago  773.334.8787


Red Door (Bucktown/Wicker Park)

$33 dinner menu

Red Door’s dinner menu sounds like a fun combination of flavors that we hope are complimentary. We’d try the Jumbo Fluke Crudo appetizer served with pickled persimmons, serrano, and cara cara orange, and the Slagel Farm Burger entree with foie gras mousse, anjou pear mustard, and fromager d’Affinois. Did you catch that? Read that entree again because yes, that was a burger that we have to have. For dessert, we want the Meyer Lemon-Basil Pound Cake served with basil ice cream and creme anglaise. 2118 N Damen Avenue, Chicago  773.697.7221


The Refinery (Old Town)

$33 dinner menu

The Refinery’s dinner menu includes new flavors as well, and we can’t wait to have the Grilled Baby Octopus appetizer served with pork belly, celery root and pickled grapes, followed by the Arctic Char entree served with creamed leeks, roasted sunchokes and a red wine reduction. For dessert, we want the Chocolate Cassava Cake with dark chocolate cremeux, cassava rochers (!) and marshmallow ice cream. 1209 N Wells Street, Chicago  312.854.2970

Are you as hungry as we are yet? Chicago Restaurant Week is right around the corner, so get ready to go wild. We’ll see you there.

Photo licensed for use by Alan Light