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Chicago Restaurant Week 2014

Lunch Entree at Naha
Lunch Entree at Naha
D. Boehm

It is once again time for one of my favorite Chicago events, Restaurant Week. There is not much to look forward to in January in Chicago, other than the lack of tourists so I am happy to have anything on my calendar. Chicago Restaurant Week involves over 280 Chicago and Chicago area restaurants, all of which will be offering 3 course lunches for $22 and 3 course dinners for $33. A few upscale restaurants will be charging $44 for dinner.

Restaurant Week Chicago is a great opportunity to try a new place. Yes $22 dollars is not exactly a cheap lunch but it can be a real bargain. There are some Michelin starred restaurants on the list. Restaurant Week offers you the opportunity to eat at a Michelin 1 star restaurant for $22. For example a non restaurant week lunch entrée at Naha, one of Chicago’s best fine dining restaurants, can well be over $22 and yet, during this yearly event, you are able to enjoy an appetizer and a dessert as well as the entrée for this extremely reasonable event lunch price. Many restaurants, including Naha, offer specially priced drinks to accompany these value-priced menus.

The restaurants included in this winter event create a special menu just for Chicago Restaurant Week. Many offer 2-4 choices per course limiting your dining options. It pays to research these special menus as what appears to be a great deal is not really a great deal if you are stuck eating something you do not like. It also pays to compare the Chicago Restaurant Week menus with each restaurant’s regular menu as some places may put less expensive items on this special menu greatly reducing the bargain factor. Luckily the Choose Chicago site makes it easy to plan where you want to eat. You can narrow your search down by type of food or by neighborhood. This site also provides links to each restaurant’s special Chicago Restaurant Week menus.

Chicago Restaurant Week runs from January 24 – February 6, 2014. Yes, it is more than a week but its popularity has caused the event to expand its length. There are no special reservations required but reservations are suggested for the more popular restaurants. You can dine at any of the participating restaurants and just order off of the regular menu.