Chicago’s fifth annual Restaurant Week comes to town from Feb. 17 to 26. With more than 250 restaurants participating, a deal on a first-rate meal is just a reservation away. (Lunch costs $22 and dinner is $33 or $44, depending on the restaurant.) While some restaurants are already fully booked (Blackbird), others are still taking reservations. Here are three top dining spots:
Topolobampo. Indulge in fresh Mexican food at Rick Bayless’ River North gem. The popular restaurant will serve a three-course menu for lunch that features sopa Azteca — a dark broth with grilled chicken, avocado, pasilla and cheese — slow-cooked, red-chile Duroc pork shoulder and a Oaxacan chocolate steamed cake. It’s a hearty taste of the Top Chef Masters winner’s passion for Mexico.
Naha. James Beard Award-winning chef Carrie Nahabedian will cook up extensive Restaurant Week lunches and dinners, which means you’ll have plenty of options for tasting her contemporary American cuisine. The three-course lunch menu features items like wood-grilled Monterey Bay calamari, Mishima Ranch Kobe Wagyu beef brisket, and a croustade of bananas, cashews and caramel. And for dinner, dig into heirloom squash soup, skate wing and a sampling of Midwestern-crafted artisan cheeses.
Perennial Virant. The Lincoln Park hot spot inside the new Hotel Lincoln will present a four-course prix fixe dinner menu during the 10-day food festival. The farm-to-table meal from chef Paul Virant will feature dishes like crispy herb parisienne gnocchi and wood-grilled local pork belly. Finish it off with your choice of chocolate custard cake with espresso cream and lemon confit or rye flour crêpes with brown butter ice cream and vanilla pears.
Photo courtesy of Lara Kastner Photography