Day of the Dead Dining Guide

Halloween gets all the attention in October, but let's not forget that other macabre delight: Day of the Dead. Appropriately, restaurants and bars in Chicago are breathing life into this quasi-morbid holiday with a slew of peppy specials, events, and more. Here's where to eat and drink on the Day of the Dead, aka Dia de los Muertos.

(Photo via Nana)
On Dia de Los Muertos, November 1, Nana is the place to be. The familial, Latin-tinged Bridgeport staple is bringing back its much adored Dia de los Muertos dinner with a four-course spree of seasonally inspired holiday dishes. Beginning at 7:00 p.m., the cocktail-paired meal starts with smoky pumpkin soup with cacao, salsa murrieta, and an Apple-rita to drink. Next is braised lamb tostada with roasted pepper salsa, spinach, feta, and an accompanying 5 Rabbits Vida y Muerte, followed by duck confit flautas with poblano avocado sauce, radish, cream, cojita, and Tepache to sip. Orange rice pudding with dates is on deck for dessert, paired with pumpkin atole. The cost for the meal is just $40 per person. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 312-929-2486 or emailing 
At Mercadito, guests can celebrate Day of the Dead two ways: one that skews educational and another that treads in more traditional festivities. First, the modern taqueria offers a Day of the Dead cooking demo on October 28 at 6:30 p.m., featuring a five-course holiday-inspired feast for $65 per person. Chef Patricio Sandoval demonstrates while preparing the meal a la minute. The menu includes roasted butternut squash soup with chile morita powder; gorditas de frijoles; pork rind battered shrimp tacos; braised short rib enchiladas; and "day of the dead" bread traditionally dubbed pan de muerto. Later in the week, the restaurant hosts a Mexican-accented Halloween event on October 31, complete with face painting, food and drink specials, and more. 
Ravenswood's quintessential whiskey and beer bar is getting into the Day of the Dead spirit with festivities on November 2. Expect Day of the Dead beers from 5 Rabbit, Stone, Founders, and New Holland, along with holiday specials cooked up by executive chef Cleetus Friedman. Running from noon until closing, the event also includes complimentary face painting and a special tapping of Revolution Brewing Eugene Porter infused with chili and vanilla. Guests are encouraged to come in costume and bring pictures and mementos of lost loved ones to place on a shrine. 
It's Day of the Dead all weekend long at Takito Kitchen, where specials fill up the menus and holiday decor enhances the ambience. Special Milagro punch will be on hand all weekend, along with a special Day of the Dead taco plate, which includes grilled veal hear on hibiscus tortillas with pickled squash, arugula, purple cayenne hot sauce, and chapulines. Special decorations include sugar skulls, decorative craft paper, and an altar bedecked with candles and marigolds.                                                                                                      
Eat, drink, and be scary at Taco Joint in River North this Day of the Dead. The downtown locale will be hosting festivities on October 31 and November 1, featuring a special food and drink package that includes unlimited margaritas, unlimited tacos, and bottomless Mexican brews. All for $28 per person for one hour or $38 for two hours (for groups of two or more). If that doesn't give you life on the Day of the Dead, nothing will. Guests are encouraged to come clad in costume, and a DJ will be spinning Latin jams from 8:00 p.m. until midnight. A costume contest will take place at 10:00 p.m. on bothn nights. Reservations for the food and drink package are required and can be made by calling 312-337-8226. 
- Matt Kirouac