It is time, once again, for my favorite Chicago winter event, Chicago Restaurant Week. The events’ past success has helped it to grow into a 10 day long food festival with over 250 participating restaurants. Participants offer special 3-course Restaurant Week menus that are $22 for lunch and $33 for dinner. A few upscale places are $44 at night.
There are no special reservations required but you do have to be able to get a table to enjoy these special deals. For most places, this will not be a problem during the week but weekend tables may be more difficult to get. To get the most bang for your buck you should do some research on the extremely helpful choosechicago.com website. This site allows you to narrow down your search by using the many links to the restaurants special menus. It is important to remember that Chicago is a foodie town and Restaurant Week has been around for several years so certain restaurants have built up a reputation as great places to go during this event. There are a few hot places where reservations go fast. To snag one of these you need to plan ahead. This year‘s event is earlier than last year running from February 1-10 and the list of participating restaurants has already been released.
The following restaurants are must visit stops during Restaurant Week and you should make reservations soon:
Naha- The queen of the Restaurant Week participants. Nobody puts more effort into their Restaurant Week menu than Chef Carrie Nahabedian. She not only designs a special menu just for this event, Naha also offers a special discounted wine list and special Restaurant Week cocktail. Chef Nahabedian has earned many awards, including a Michelin star and this is your chance to experience her amazing cooking and Naha’s excellent service for a fraction of the normal price. You will not get many opportunities to experience fine, Michelin star, dinning for only $22. Reservations are already going fast. You need to call or e-mail Naha to make a reservation, opentable.com is not an option.
Sepia- Another Michelin starred restaurant that you can experience for $22 or $33. They have a well-earned reputation for great food. They are only offering two choices per course. I am sure they are all very tasty, but you should check to make sure they have foods you will enjoy. Reservations for dinner are already becoming scarce and will be long gone before February.
Joe’s Stone Crab- The second reservation I make every year, Naha is always my first. Joe’s is almost always a madhouse, Restaurant Week or not, and reservations need to be made early. The real draw is the stone crab claws. You get several along with Cup of Manhattan Clam Chowder or Stone Crab Bisque, a couple of sides and decadent desserts. A 6 oz. filet is also available but there is a long list of steak places that you can go to. Most dinner reservations are already gone.