My love of food went into overdrive with the Chicago Restaurant Week still running whilst I was in the Windy City. And with more than 430 restaurants from across the city and its surrounding suburbs, it was difficult to try a few. I didn’t need to break the bank to try a selection of them across Brunch, Lunch and 2 types of Dinner pre-fixe menus. For those of us that are common with British restaurants this is the equivalent of a Brunch, Lunch, Pre-Theatre and Market Set Menus.
Now whilst I was unable to visit all 430 plus restaurants, (C’mon I was only there for 5 nights) I have managed to pull together the 7 restaurants tasted and a few others as a ‘best of the rest’
Offshore Rooftop & Bar
Offshore, located on the third floor of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, is the largest rooftop venue in the US and offers panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the city’s skyline courtesy of a 20,000 square foot Terrace area. With a $24 Brunch or $36 Dinner menu on offer, you can get a small but rich flavour of how Chicagoans take one style cuisine and make it its’ own.
Taking the $36 menu this included Pork Carnitas Devilled Eggs, the choice of Marinated Waygu Flatiron Steak or Roasted Organic Faroe Island Salmon for mains, and Warm Sugared Donut Holes. Add in a a Rum Cocktail and you’re sorted for a night out.
Situated within the Park Hyatt and overlooking its namesake, North Michigan Avenue, NoMI serves up modern French cuisine and Sushi with a twist of sophisticated design in either its’ Kitchen, Lounge or Garden. During Chicago Restaurant Week, NoMi Kitchen whips up a mix of Lunch and an option between either the $36 or $48 Dinner. The $24 lunch included Tuna Maki (normally a traditional sushi roll rolled up in seaweed) which I have never tried before. This meant I had to taste it. And it was very tasty indeed.
Located across the City in its Streeterville, Fulton Market, and River North neighbourhoods and in the village of Oak Brook, Beatrix emphasises ‘healthy meets comfort’ cooking. They are also opening a new location in Florida at Disney Springs. On offer was a $24 lunch and the $36 dinner, so for late night dining you’re in for a treat as it also includes either a glass of red or white wine. The one downside was the Oh-so-caramel Pie having run out and a slight delay in between the order and the starter. The fortunate benefit as part of this was a very kind gesture of a free takeaway dessert which may have been the icing on the chocolate cake.
Already a favourite after my last trip to Chicago, Tanta is a restaurant dedicated to sharing the flavours and culture of the Peru with Chicago. Given I just missed the $24 lunch menu, the $48 dinner menu packed a lot of punches. Starting with the Tradito La Punta Callao, then with a free second course of Chicken Empanadas, Estafado de Carne for mains, a Pie de Limon for dessert, it was so good that all I could imagine was that Saturday night back in October last year.
Carson’s Ribs Prime Steaks & Famous Barbecue
If you want to go ‘fat’ with steaks or ribs then then Chicagoan institution of Carson’s is the place to visit. After a late night at Navy Pier watching the DeadMau5 Cube V3 tour, the $48 menu takes it right out of you. Especially, if like me, you love steak and have to have the 16oz butterfly steak. I also learned that the cornbread here tastes awfully similar to a scone here in the UK.
Level Two @ Hyatt Chicago Mag Mile
Specializing in creative American cuisine, Level Two offers a trendy yet welcoming spot to enjoy a full meal, craft beer or a few cocktails. Like most of the restaurants visited lunch and dinner was on offer, and after 2.30pm, like the others, the $48 dinner was available. I had the Tomato Soup, Seared Salmon and the delicious Brandy Cherry Cheesecake Tart so it was a win-win as it felt like a piece of home.
No trip is ever successful until you’ve found an Irish Pub, or a Pub in general. The Emerald Loop is located near Millennium Park and feels very much like the many Irish Pubs in Glasgow. As I’ve had Irish Stew before, I went for the lunch menu. The Guinness Beef Stew however was more like a Guinness Pea Stew with Beef but the Irish Coffee made it all better.
Best of the Rest
Whilst this was a whistle-stop tour of some of the restaurants, we have a ‘Best of the Rest’: FIG & OLIVE, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Monteverde, Revolution Brewing, South Side Social, Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Volare, The Signature Room at the 95th