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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

First Taste of Spring in Chicago

It seemed like it would never come, but spring is here. After the endless winter we endured, I thought I'd have to resign myself to butternut squash soup and pumpkin lattes for the rest of my life. But at long last, winter ebbed and in its place: rhubarb, peas, morel mushrooms, asparagus, and a sense of joy. Spring menus are sprouting all over Chicago, laden with vibrant, life-affirming ingredients that make arduous winters worth the strife. Almost. Here's your bucket list for preeminent spring dining in Chicago right now. 

Mussels at Bread & Wine
(Spring-y mussels at Bread & Wine)


Watercress soup with creme fraiche, caviar, and rhubarb is a nice departure from the heavy chowders and stews we've been plying our bodies with the past several months. Morel mushrooms, the funnest of the funghi, pops up in a ricotta gnudi dish along with peas, mint, and Grana Padano, as well as an arctic char dish with asparagus, almonds, and sauce vin jaune. And sometimes you just want straight-up, full-force vegetation. Case in point, grilled asparagus with miso hollandaise, a nice riff on the steakhouse staple. 


Spring preserves and pickles are resplendent at Vie, offering a nice, tangy alternative to typical spring dining. Expect braised Burgundy snails with pickled ramps, steak frites with pickled asparagus, and blue cheese fritters with strawberry jam and pickled fennel. 

Perennial Virant

At Vie's sister restaurant, Perennial Virant, the multi-tasking chef Paul Virant serves spring on a plate in the form of grilled Caveny Farm lamb merguez with buttered peas and pickled asparagus, crispy Carnaroli rice cake with pea shoots and spring onion vinaigrette, and a housemade herb ricotta tart with pea puree and shoots. 

Shaw's Crab House

Not all of spring's cultishly adored ingredients come from soil. Soft-shell crab, smelts, and Alaskan halibut are as indicative of spring as the most bulbous stalk of asparagus. Get your fix at Shaw's Crab House, where Alaskan halibut in a lentil crust is now available through November, along with cracker meal-crusted smelt available through mid-May, and of course soft-shell crabs, on deck May through October, available as a sandwich or platter. 

Bread & Wine

Baby artichokes and ramps ramp up the spring menu at Bread & Wine as part of a seasonal steamed mussels preparation. P.E.I. mussels are adjoined by the spring sensations, along with giardiniera and toast. 

The Drawing Room

While most folks sensationalize The Drawing Room for its venerable cocktails, and rightfully so, the food program by chef Thomas Sheean should not be overlooked. Especially now, what with his new spring prelude menu laden with items such as chilled pea soup with lavender biscuit crumble, ricotta gnocchi with creamed English peas, and Coulotte steak with asparagus Milanese. 

Cafe des Architectes

From appetizers to desserts, Cafe des Architectes does it all. Start with a spring risotto brimming with morels and English peas. Move on to venison with creamed morels, English peas, and huckleberry gastrique. Finish with a rhubarb and raspberry tart or strawberry mousse. Or both. 

Asparagus-poblano soup at Ada Street
(Ada Street's asparagus-poblano soup)

Ada Street

Crispy lamb scrumpets with minted pea puree. Scallops with grilled ramps and chimichurri. Asparagus-poblano soup. Eat all of this at Ada Street immediately. 'Nuff said. 

Tavern on Rush

No better way to kickstart a spring morning than with strawberry rhubarb French toast. Eat it for brunch, then come back for the spring bibb salad at lunch or dinner, a pea-tastic medley of sweet peas, pea shoots, sugar snap peas, Boston bibb lettuce, bacon, mushrooms, and green goddess dressing. 

The Bristol

You can always count on The Bristol to up the ante on fascinating seasonal eats. For example: flash-cooked halibut with minted peas and charred spring onions; New York strip steak with green garlic-miso butter and green garlic bulbs; and braised pork shank with glazed knob onions and mustard-scented lentils. 

Tortoise Club

The special April risotto at Tortoise Club embodies spring to the core. Likely one of the springiest dishes in town right now, this decadent creation includes spring peas, fresh fava beans, asparagus, and ramps. 

Del Frisco's

Steakhouse-style vegetable preparations are always a fun way to experience seasonal cookery. Get thee to Del Frisco's to partake in their lamb with fava bean puree and roasted green garlic chimichurri, their Parmesan truffle spring pea and corn risotto, and the rhubarb sorbet topped with spiked whipped cream. 


Pinstripes rolls a strike with some pretty stellar spring plates. Pappardelle ragu alla Bolognese is made with slow-braised lamb, beef, pork, and morel mushrooms, topped with mascarpone cheese and basil. Then there's the pan-seared scallops with sweet pea puree, watercress, and saffron-caper sauce. 

Paris Club Bistro & Bar

It's a taste of spring in Paris right in the heart of River North thanks to Paris Club Bistro & Bar. Dig into the blanquette de veau with roasted veal loin, veal sweetbreads, morel mushrooms, and sweet peas. 

Matt Kirouac

Tags: spring

A destination spot in Western Springs for finely crafted American cuisine with an emphasis on locally grown ingredients.

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"Now Called Il Porcellino" Rich Melman's sons R.J. and Jerrod had an instant hit with their first restaurant, HUB 51, and they repeat their success at this French-themed bar and...

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The Sofitel's red-hued, lobby-level restaurant serves American contemporary cuisine with French accents. The menu is seasonal and Executive Chef Greg Biggers works with many local farmers and purveyors to insure...

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Owned by Three Headed Productions (Cans, EvilOlive, Salud,) the award-winning cocktail lounge stays open late night and caters to the area's trendy crowd as well as tourists. A well-thought out...

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These unique bowling, bocce and bistro concepts in Northbrook and South Barrington feature 18 bowling lanes, indoor/outdoor bocce courts and Italian/American food and wine. Each also offers an outdoor patio,...

These unique bowling, bocce and bistro concepts in Northbrook and South Barrington feature 18 bowling lanes, indoor/outdoor bocce courts and Italian/American food and wine. Each also offers an outdoor patio,...

Timeless cocktails and cuisine are the focus at this private club-styled restaurant harking back to a gilded era. Setting the atmosphere are classic Chicago paintings, sketches and artifacts, including Mahogany...

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Bread & Wine’s duck confit pierogi, with pickled red onion and herb crème fraiche. (Photo: Bread & Wine) The owners have transformed a former laundromat into a neighborhood American bistro,...

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David Morton and Michael Kornick (DMK Burger Bar, Fish Bar) have collaborated once again. This time the location is in a remote part of Bucktown, and it offers Mediterranean-inspired small...

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