Valentine’s Day Restaurants that I Love in Chicago

Chocolate Bar at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago

Image by benchilada via Flickr

Oysters and Oatmeal dish from Schwa in Chicago

Oysters and Oatmeal dish from Schwa in Chicago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Chicago River is the south border of ...

English: Chicago River is the south border of the Near North Side and Streeterville and the north border of Chicago Loop, Lakeshore East and Illinois Center (viewed from Lake Shore Drive with Trump International Hotel and Tower at jog in the river in the center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joe's Stone Crab

Joe’s Stone Crab (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Location of Schwa (restaurant) in Chi...

English: Location of Schwa (restaurant) in Chicago in detail south of North Avenue (Chicago), north of Division Street (Chicago), east of Milwaukee Avenue (Chicago) and west of Chicago River and Kennedy Expressway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline (Photo credit: Frank Kehren)

Here’s are some of the restaurants that I love!

1. The impressive Lobby Restaurant of the Peninsula Hotel offered a starter buffet of roasted vegetables, crabmeat ceviche over a medley of fresh fruit and an assortment of cheeses and charcuterie options. I usually order  the salmon.

2.  Sepia is a delightful restaurant in Chicago. The dining room is located in a former 1890’s print studio and it is filled with photography memorabilia. Executive chef Andrew Zimmerman graduated first in his class at the prestigious French Culinary Institute and it is reflected in his Meditterranean influenced cuisine. The urban eatery has exposed brick walls and is located at 123 N. Jefferson Street in Chicago just east of the Kennedy Expressway between Washington and Randolf. I love the porchetta.

Restaurant Week Chicagao 2011

Sepia Restaurant in Chicago

3. NAHA is located at 500 N. Clark St. where executive chef Carrie Nahabedian merges her Armenian roots with Mediterranean influenced flavors that earned her a Michelin star. She was the former executive chef at the Four Seasons Properties in Beverly Hills and Santa Barbara. I love the  braised Mishima Ranch “Kobe” Wagyu Beef Brisket with Beluga lentils, bacon roasted parsnips and carrots. For dessert order bananas with vanilla mousseline and salted caramel.

Restaurant Week Chicago 2011

4. David Burke”s Primehouse is located in the James Hotel at 616 N. Rush. I love the Surf and Turf Dumplings filled with lobster mousse or braised short-ribs. Have a dry-aged classic fillet served with a side of mushrooms and mashed potatoes. For dessert, I enjoy the pinapple upside down cake with rum caramel and sour cherry sorbet.

5. Le Colonial has one of my favorite French-Vietnamese inspired menus. It is located Rush Street and is housed in a two-story vintage townhouse  decorated in the millieu of 1920’s Siagon. I indulge in the Cha Gio for starters; these fried spring rolls are outstanding! Follow up with the “Bun Thit Nuong”;  BBQ pork served over angel-hair noodles. For dessert try, the crispy banana wonton.

Restaurant Week in Chicago

6. Schwa’s Chef Michael Carlson worked under Spiaggia’s chef Paul Bartolotta. He turned down the position of sous-chef at Alinea. Since then he has earned a string of prestigious press:  he graced the cover of Food & Wine magazine as one of the Best New Chefs, won the Jean Banchet Award for rising chef of the year, GQ magazine did a nine-page feature on Schwa and Chef Carlson saying that Schwa was “The Most Revolutionary Restaurant In America” and in 2010 he got a “Best Chef” nomination from the esteemed James Beard Foundation. Schwa is at 1466 N. Ashland in Wicker Park seats 26 people; good luck getting in. There is no liquor license or wine list. Just amazing food! Call 773-252-1466 for reservations.

Famed Quail Egg Ravioli from Schwa in Chicago

Famed Quail Egg Ravioli from Schwa in Chicago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Our Philosophy – A restaurant that is part of a new movement; a community of chefs who work collaboratively and share openly. A house with no front or back; a house where chefs are servers, and serving is about creating dialogue. A menu that moves with the seasons; a menu designed to illustrate the diversity of a dish and highlight how one ingredient can be presented in a variety of ways. Taking the unusual and making it enjoyable. Taking the rustic and making it unforgettable.” http://www.schwa.com

Schwa (restaurant)

Schwa (restaurant) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7. The Atwood Cafe in the loop on State Street is one of my favorite dining rooms and is located in the elegantly-renovated Hotel  Burnham across from Macy’s on Washington. I love the Ahi Tuna appetizer. They serve one of the best pork chops in town. The chocolate dessert is always decadent.

Upper facade

Upper facade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8. Blackbird’s award-winning restaurant at 619 W. Randolph has fabulous seared scallops for a starter with a roasted chicken entree and a choclate ganache dessert.

9. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab at 60 E. Grand is the Chicago outpost of Miami’s legendary Joe’s Stone Crab. For dinner have a cup of chowder of bisque with crab claws, king crab legs or steak and don’t leave without indulging in the famous key lime pie for dessert.

10. I also love Terzo Piano at the Art Institute and Aria on Chicago’s east side at the Fairmont Hotel  http://www.ariachicago.com.

11. You can never go wrong at Piccolo Sogno, one of my all time favorites Italian restaurants in Chicago!

For French Food head over to Les Nomades in a lavish Streeterville townhouse. You will never be disappointed!

.Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

Salute and Buon Appetito 

English: Executive Chef and Owner of the Stant...

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14 Comments

Filed under Attractions in Chicago, Buon Appetito, Chicago, Chicago Architecture, Chicago Hotels, Chicago Restaurant Week 2011, Chicago Restaurants, michelin guide to chicago restaurants, Restaurant Week in Chicago

14 responses to “Valentine’s Day Restaurants that I Love in Chicago

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