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Dining Chicago Makes The Most of Christkindlmarket

In the thick of the holidays, it’s that time of year for shopping, gifting, family and perhaps most importantly: mulled wine. The latter is where Christkindlmarket comes in. Chicago’s iconic German market/festival is back in action for the season, serving up holiday eats through Christmas Eve in the heart of the Loop. Here’s everything you […]

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Dec 12, 2017 11:36 PM
Weekly Planner: Mezcal Dinner, Feast of the Seven Fishes

Weekly Planner: Mezcal Dinner, Feast of the Seven Fishes Mezcal Dinner at Mi Tocaya Antojeria Wine dinners and beer dinners are a commonplace occurrence around these parts, but mezcal dinners? That’s something pretty new and enticing. At the buzzy Mi Tocaya Antojeria in Logan Square, chef Diana Davila is hosting a series of mezcal dinners this winter, […]

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Dec 12, 2017 02:35 AM
Dining Chicago Christmas Drinking Guide 2017

Where to eat, drink, dance and be merry this Christmas. Petterino’s: Santa’s coming to town a little early this year, and he’s hungry for brunch. Pay a visit to Mr. Claus at Petterino’s, where he’ll be stationed December 16 and 17 from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. both days. The perfect stopover before an afternoon […]

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Dec 09, 2017 07:40 PM

Date Spot: A Study, Top 10 Date Spots

Please go to Dining Chicago on Facebook and let us know your favorite places to date and breakup .

Author: Matt Kirouac:I blame Lady and the Tramp for ruining everyone's perception of how first dates should go down. Spaghetti and meatballs is pretty much the worst idea for a first date. Because when you're squiring someone, you don't need to divulge the sloppy, saucy side of yourself. There's a science to the dating and dining template, one that requires careful analysis of where you should dine and when. What's the ideal restaurant for a first date? What about a seventh date? There's a lot of confusion out there, and a lot of it has to do with those mangy Disney dogs. Here to help navigate the restaurant romance scene is a handy list of best date spots 1-10, plus a little something extra for when you need to sever ties in public. Print this out, post to your refrigerator, and let the dating begin.


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First Date Spot

If you're indulging the risk of going out with someone for the first time, keep it casual and non-committal. Cocktails are paramount here. For one thing, alcohol is the ideal wingman in that it makes any awkward scenario easier to tolerate. It's also low-key and easily malleable, so you have the option to extend the evening into a drawn-out, boozy affair, or you can have one drink and nip it in the bud if it's not working out for you. But for the love of god make it a decent bar with decent drinks. It shouldn't be pretentious, loud, or overwrought, either. Drumbar is the perfect middle ground. It's comfortable, chic, and sophisticated without being gaudy, too sceney, or too cumbersome. Not to mention the drinks are delicious, which could serve either as a nice distraction if your date is a disaster or a nice talking point if you actually give a damn.


Second Date Spot

As you're easing in with your potential partner, it's time to start chewing food together. Don't do too anything too splashy, though. Keep it casual, but show that you're into exciting, thoughtful dining and drinking spots. Rootstock would be the perfect answer. The menu is concise, ensuring your meal doesn't turn into a gigantic, confused cluster. Plates are moderately sized, so you won't get too slovenly. The wine- and beer-focused beverage program is thorough and interesting. And the ambience is chill and hip without being too splashy. You're welcome.


Third Date Spot

It's time to introduce a little pomp and circumstance to your burgeoning relationship. Head to Celeste to make that happen. This River North newcomer is the comic book Two-Face of bar/restaurants, minus any nefarious antics. Rather, the ground floor space offers a cool bar scene with several nifty cocktails and some tasty bar bites. Loosen up with your date downstairs before heading upstairs to the more relaxed dining room. The space toes the line between opulent and leisurely, bedecked with a sort of Liberace-esque color palette and bountiful supper club-style dishes (don't miss the ham plate, the octopus, or the Burrata). It won't cripple your bank account, but it will prove you are serious about the trajectory of your relationship at the same time. Plus the cocktail list upstairs is absolutely biblical and insane, which is always beneficial when you're trying to seal the deal.


Fourth Date

Sharing is caring, and no better time to divulge how much of a considerate, sharing person you are than with dinner at a tapas restaurant. Now is the time to see how in sync you two are. The couple that shares tapas together stays together, at least for the foreseeable future. Cafe Iberico is a surefire bet, considering how traditional and lively it is. Since you're still in the early stages of your relationship, it's wise to show your special someone that you're fun and of the people. Don't get too ahead of yourself; instead, opt to share patatas bravas and sangria at this River North piñata of a restaurant.


Fifth Date

Now is about the time when you're ready to get fancy. You've both made it clear this isn't an unruly one night stand, and you both genuinely enjoy each other's company. So why not spend it together for hours on end over highfalutin food at BOKA? Having recently undergone a substantial facelist both cosmetically and culinarily, the restaurant is hip, exciting, fresh, and stunning. Taste your way through elegant contemporary American plates while throwing back classy cocktails and canoodling. We've reached the canoodling phase of your relationship and no better place than a restaurant that brings the ritz without dessimating your wallet.


Sixth Date

The sixth date is a good time to haul out a brunch date. Why? Because at this point you should be spending the night at each other's apartments and wanting to wake up with one another. Since things are getting legit, it's a nice sign to start going to brunch together. There's something so relationship-y about brunch. You don't just go to brunch with a fling. The ideal setting for a brunch date is someplace relaxed, not too loud, and without too much of a pain-in-the-ass wait. Beatrix is a safe bet. Not only is the restaurant lively, fun, and chill, but the food is exciting, novel, and tasty. It's an expansive enough menu to cater to dieters and diet-haters alike, and the atmosphere is such that you'll want to linger and stare into each other's eyes for hours.


Seventh Date

It's wise to save sushi for several dates in, because you don't really want to gape your jaw that wide early on. The seventh date is the perfect time to show your bf/gf just how wide you can unhinge that mouth of yours. But if you're going to be eating dinner like a python, it may as well be at a classy place. Like Kai Zan. The offbeat Humboldt Park sushi spot has some of the best sushi in town, in one of the most unexpected locations. Show your date just how privy you are to restaurants by taking him/her here. Sample a bunch of sashimi, nigiri, and maki, or throw caution to the wind and partake in an omakase tasting menu.


Eighth Date

Now it is finally safe to partake in the venerable Lady and the Tramp-style supper. We all are smitten with idea of sharing spaghetti with our sweeties, but let's be frank: it's not a good idea until you've secured your relationship. Too early on and your potential mate will be running for the door over your sloppy, saucy self. Once you've established some ground rules and gotten to know one another, it's acceptable to squire one another to a cozy, comforting Italian spot. There's a couple ways you can do this. One is by going old-school at a classic such as La Scarola, or you can class it up a bit with Anteprima. Both are solid Italian locales, each with a very different motif and feel. It just depends how modern you want to feel. Rest assured there will be spaghetti-slurping going on.


Ninth Date

At just about the ninth date, you want to lock things down with the wow factor. Now is the time to bring out the big guns and go for a fine dining masterpiece, one that is glamorous, comfortable, and decadent. One that goes by the name of Grace. No better place to get dolled up to the nines and pretend you're a couple of Disney princes/princesses eating intricate degustations with surgical precision. The whole experience is entirely immersive and fancied, ensuring a memorable dinner for the most gaga of lovebirds. You'll pay an arm and a leg for it, but at this point you've committed to one another pretty solidly and are in it for the long haul, so don't be a cheapskate.


Tenth Date

Now that you've made it to the tenth date mark, you've reached the point where you should be establishing a place that is "yours," a place that feels special to you both and is consistently reliable for your needs and cravings. Telegraph fits the mold perfectly, unless you're dating a monster who doesn't drink wine. For the wine-happy couple, Telegraph is Nirvana, complete with cozy neighborhood environs, an interesting food menu, and an accessible, dynamic wine list. As long as things continue down the right path, Telegraph has what it takes to be your new go-to dinner and drinks spot.


BONUS: Where to Break Up

Let's face it. In this day and age of OKCupid and Tinder, many people don't make it to the tenth date. So it's handy to have a break up spot in your back pocket, just in case. This can be tricky, but if you have to tear the romantic bandaid off, do it at Margie's Candies. Because nothing says "I'm over you" quite like a gigantic Americana ice cream sundae. Plus it takes the sting out of crushing loneliness.


- Matt Kirouac


Since 1921, Margie's chocolatiers and confectioners have been producing luscious house-made candies, including hand-dipped chocolates, fudge, toffee and mints, as well as 18-percent-butterfat ice cream, famous fudge sauce and sundaes...


Classic Italian eatery serving up hefty portions of pastas, hand-made meatballs and more. Even though it's small, it's a hot spot where you're certain to spot a celebrity or two,...


Bustling eatery specializing in tapas and the regional foods of Spain. Housed inside, Delii-Berico, offers Spanish-style cold cuts and cheeses by the pound. Cafe Iberico accepts eservations for groups of...


Anteprima serves Italian home-style cooking with an emphasis on local and organic producers. What's super cool is that diners may order the popular house-made pasta dishes in half-size portions. Tagliatelle,...


Rootstock is a project from three former Webster Wine Bar employees with a focus on small-batch wine and beer. The food menu supports local farmers, hormone-free meats and seasonal produce...

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Former avec chef John Anderes has landed at the third wine-focused resto from the folks behind Webster's Wine Bar. You'll find inventive small plates as well as an impressive wine...

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Expect seasonal cocktails as well as lively music spun by some of the area's hottest deejays. The small-plates menu is ideal for those looking for a quick bite on the...

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Melvin and Carlo Vizconde, also known as the sushi twins, use modern and traditional cooking techniques to create omakase dinners at this contemporary Japanese spot.

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