It’s that time of year again. All you want to do is order take out, watch Netflix, and wear those sweat pants from a bar mitzvah in middle school. Yet, Chicago Restaurant Week beckons you out to polite society, at least from January 26 to February 8.
In its 11th year, Restaurant Week 2018 has 367 restaurants signed up with special prix fixe menus made for the event: $22 for brunch/lunch or $33/$44 for dinner. With more than 100 new participants in 2018, there’s a lot to comb through. Not all the prix fixe menus are great deals (i.e. Blackbird and Topolobampo discounted their regular prix fixe weekday lunches by $3; there are other places to explore to give you more bang for your buck). Below are our best bets for an inexpensive, quality meal during Chicago’s 2018 Restaurant Week. Our method? We’ve compared restaurant week menus with regular menus to check prices, while also keeping an eye on the quality of offerings and prestige of each place.
We’ve also created categories based on who you would bring along on your eating ventures, because the more people you bring, the more food you can swipe off their plates.
Your Hipster Roommate
Type of Restaurant: Gastro-pub, eclectic, European/Midwestern bites and beers
Location: 2728 W. Armitage Ave., Logan Square
The Deal: $33 dinner where you get to pick one house charcuterie/cheese, an appetizer, and main entrée
You might be more than annoyed that the meal isn’t going to end in something sweet, but trust us, the savory creations coming out of the kitchen will keep your belly occupied. Also, you’re easily get more than $40 in food for $33; with all those saved bucks, grab a drink—they have a careful selection of beers and wine that any hipster can nerd out about. We have our eyes on the raw sheep’s milk, roasted cauliflower panisse, and duck ballotine. Just a note—some dishes are an extra $1 or $2, but it’s still a deal with the tack-on.
Your Beyond Basic Friends
Type of Restaurant: Elegant with gorgeous lighting, well-executed dishes, classic American
Location: 108 E. Superior St., Magnificent Mile
Rest Deal: $22 3-course lunch, $33 3-course dinner (appetizer, entrée, dessert)
The Lobby garnered a Michelin star in 2013, lost it in 2016, but still has all the grandeur in 2018. Seriously, have you ever stepped into the Peninsula? The lighting, the décor, the class of the whole place is overwhelming. We recommend going during lunch, when the sun streams through the giant windows—perfect lighting for an Instagram Live. The food is refined, even if you may not be. For lunch, we’re especially excited about the wintery grain salad and striped sea bass. We can’t decide on dessert—yam cheesecake or chocolate peanut tart—so it looks like we’ll have to order both.
Your Significant Other
Type of Restaurant: Solid American, Classic Midwestern
Location: 1132 W. Grand Ave, West Town
The Deal: $33 4-course meal
Has date night devolved into watching two different shows while on the same couch and fighting for the last slice of Papa John’s in between commercial breaks? Two is the perfect restaurant to get you out of your rut. It’s a nice place that makes you want to change out of your college crew, while still making you comfortable by providing refined comfort food. Two is nice, without being overwhelmingly nice; kind of like your S.O. Each course has only two options, so if you divide and conquer with your partner, you’ll be able to taste the whole menu.
Type of Restaurant: Classic Italian
Location: 925 W. Randolph St., West Loop
The Deal: $44 4-course dinner with an option of $25 wine pairing
Parents have given us a lot: life itself, unconditional love, and unsolicited advice. They humor our strange appetites, like your high school gluten-free, plant-based diet. It’s time to repay them by finally humoring their appetites by eating the conservative, saturated-fat focused dishes they love. Of course, you won’t hear any complaining from us when we order the Nonna’s meatballs, the rigatoni, branzino, and chocolate cake.