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Fall 2011

Chicago Restaurant Week

After speaking with many top chefs of rave-reviewed restaurants, Davidman reports that chefs hate the question “What’s good here?” If it’s on the menu, it’s good. Otherwise why would they be cooking it?

As a self-proclaimed foodie, Davidman has sampled plenty of Chicago’s finest cuisine in the quest for the best. During Chicago Restaurant Week, the flavors on the menu are delicious to both stomach and wallet at more than 200 of the city’s finest restaurants.

Organized by the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, Chicago Restaurant Week is a 10-day event where fine cuisine gets a special price tag. It began in 2008 with just 35 participating restaurants and has grown every year. In 2012, the discounted fine dining will take place from February 17 to 26 at more than 200 restaurants. Some restaurants may possibly extend the deal by popular demand.

For any and all wishing to upgrade the sophistication of their palate, this event means a discounted ticket to satisfied taste buds. Chefs select the menu—usually a three-course meal—and customers enjoy it for a fraction of the price: $22 for lunch and $33 or $44 for dinner. Since one entrée typically costs $30 at most participating restaurants, Restaurant Week prices are a bargain. For foodies like Davidman, Chicago Restaurant Week is paradise.

Last year during Restaurant Week, Davidman dined at Boka Restaurant and Bar, an upscale contemporary restaurant in Lincoln Park. In 2011, the Michelin Guide (restaurant review) awarded Boka a star, the fine food equivalent of the Olympic bronze medal. Only 81 restaurants worldwide have received three stars (the highest possible rating); earning even one is an honor.

Boka’s menu met all of Davidman’s expectations: “I am a sucker for foie gras and scallops, and everything was perfect,” he said. While dining, Davidman even spoke with Executive Chef Giuseppe Tentori, a jovial Italian whose recipes have earned glowing reviews from Chicago’s most respected food critics.

Restaurant Week includes everything from steakhouses to sushi bars. With so many options, what not to sample becomes the real question. Planning ahead can make or break the event since many restaurants fill up. Making online reservations at ensures happy taste buds. 

Since every item on the menu comes highly recommended, what question do waiters and chefs want to hear? Davidman recommends “What’s most popular?” Asking for facts rather than opinions marks a customer as an experienced eater. 

Experienced or not, Restaurant Week guests in winter 2012 will experience the best dining Chicago’s chefs have to offer. The only question remaining is where to eat first.

—Whitney Sorensen

 Need to brush up on your fancy food terms? Check out our food lingo article.