Turns out, there are a lot of chefs and staff working the holidays…which means – good news – you don’t have to! So, leave the mess in the living room, the sink full of dishes, the drunken uncle on the sofa, and head out to one of these Chicago restaurants, open during Christmastime, and ready to serve you something more extravagant than you’d probably ever care to make at home.
Prime & Provisions. At Prime & Provisions, Chef Joseph Rizza gives you the holiday gift of an all-natural meat program as well as his House-Flared Thick-Cut Bacon, Oven-Roasted Black Bass and Fried Chicken for the Table appetizers. You honestly believe you might make something that cool at home? Um, we don’t think so. Let the professionals handle Christmas dinner. And if you live closer to Siena Tavern, Chef Fabio Viviani is serving pretty much the same stuff, with a few twists of his own.
The Florentine. Chicago’s Italian kitchen, The Florentine serves up a delicious tavola of classics, authentically-curated Italian dishes by Executive Chef Zachary Walrath. You can get prime rib or a 32 oz. grass-fed ribeye or go more traditional with porcini mushroom risotto and whole roasted red snapper. There’s even a panettone bread pudding. Atsa’ nice, no? Yes!
Commonwealth Tavern. Okay, so maybe you don’t feel like getting all dressed up on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but you’d like to get out of the house and grab a bite. We get it. Stay in your comfy clothes (but do NOT wear your pajama bottoms outside) and chow down in comfort at Commonwealth Tavern, where on both days there’s a brunch featuring gingerbread French toast topped with a whipped cream Christmas tree. Oh yeah, also build-your-own mimosas and Bloody Mary’s. Merry, hiccup, Xmas.
Francesca’s on Chestnut. At many Francesca’s locations, they’re doing an Italian-American classic: The Feast of Seven Fishes. This feast includes creamy lobster bisque with crab, sautéed sea scallops and shrimp, Maine lobster, and zuppa de pesce with lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari and scallops. Believe it or not, Italians consider this a way to fast: this stupendous meal sacrifices the pleasures of meat, but there’s so much fish here, we guarantee that for just this one time of year, you will not miss your beef. But if you must have a steak, that’s on the menu, too. Abbondanza!
Acanto. At Acanto on Michigan Avenue, across the street from the Art Institute, Chef Chris Gawronski is also doing a Feast of the Seven Fishes, but he’s spreading it out over seven days. Starting on December 16 and going through December 22, in order of appearance, is grilled Spanish sardines, then bacalo (that’s cod), Venus clams and mussels ravioli, Swordfish puttanesca, Sicilian octopus, grill lobster, and finally on December 21-24, there’s Zuppa del sette pesce, and chef explains “The beauty of the feast is that all the different fishes featured during the week neatly come together on the final day in a hearty stew that offers an authentic taste of this Italian tradition”.
Restaurant Michael. Michael Lachowicz, winner of the 2019 Jean Banchet Award for Restaurant of the Year, is going to town in style with featured dishes including roasted filet of venison and stuffed quail with Grand Veneur and gingerbread souffle. Restaurant Michael is a beautiful old school restaurant, reminiscent of Le Francais in the day, and serving that same high level of finely French-inspired food. You get the idea. It’s fancy, but it’s a fancy worth getting dressed up for.