Margeaux Brasserie | Neil Burger
Food & Drink

The Chicago Restaurants You'll Actually Want to Eat at on Christmas

Updated On 12/24/2017 at 07:58AM EST
Chicago's Pizza

Chicago's Pizza

Lakeview

One of Lakeview’s top pizza makers is open until midnight on Christmas Day for a Christmas miracle of delivery, dine-in, and takeout options, with the Ravenswood location open for delivery and the Old Irving location closed. Just be sure to tip the delivery guy well.
Price/reservations: Check out their holiday schedule; walk-ins welcome

Phoenix

Chinatown

This no-frills Chinatown mainstay will be serving up its delicious dim sum and the rest of its packed menu of authentic Chinese delights from roving dining room trays for both dine-in and carryout until 11pm on Christmas Day. You’re welcome.
Price/reservations: Regular menu prices; walk-ins welcome

Slippery Slope

Slippery Slope

Logan Square

Grab Chinese grub from the takeout buffet and pound drinks till 2am at this notorious late-night Logan Square party bar during their third annual "Slippery Slope Orphans Party." It sure as hell beats sitting through midnight mass.
Price/reservations: No cover; walk-ins welcome

Fogo de Chão

Fogo de Chão

Various locations

The fancy-pants Brazilian steakhouse chain will be offering a carnivorous stocking stuffer with a special holiday menu (Christmas Day & Eve + New Year’s Day + Eve) of bone-in cuts like cowboy rib-eye, lamb chops, and beef ribs plus New York strip and sweet potato casserole.
Price/reservations: $55 per person; reservations recommended

NoMI Chicago

NoMI Kitchen

Mag Mile

This primo rooftop brunch spot will be rolling out all the essentials for your Christmas Day feast with four buffet-style holiday stations featuring hot food (roasted chicken, ham, lamb, beef), seafood and sushi, salad, and desserts, plus a huge assortment of cheeses, breads, mashed potatoes, and more waistline enhancements.
Price/reservations: $145 per person; reservations needed

Neil Burger

Margeaux Brasserie

Gold Coast

Michael Mina’s upscale ‘20s-style spot in the Waldorf-Astoria unfurls an appropriately upscale Christmas Day spread with hard-to-pronounce items like escargots a la bordelaise, duck à l'orange, steak "foie poivre," and wood-roasted leg of lamb. You can also snag a chef’s selection of oysters, lobster, or king crab.
Price/reservations: Holiday menu prices; reservations needed

Bistronomic

Bistronomic

Gold Coast

On Christmas Eve and Day, Bistronomic’s blend of approachable French cuisine with Midwestern ingredients includes a three-course prix fixe menu with main course options such as roasted rack of lamb, winter wild mushroom ravioli, and beef tenderloin au poivre with gnocchi and duck confit apps plus baked Alaska for dessert.
Price/reservations: $70 per person; reservations needed

Christina Slaton

Booth One

Gold Coast

This newly opened Lettuce Entertain You joint taking over the former Pump Room space inside the Ambassador Chicago is looking to start a new Christmas Day tradition in Chicago with dishes from its a la carte menu such as Japanese snapper ceviche, lobster cappuccino, roast chicken frites, and 18-hour prime rib.
Price/reservations: Prices here; reservations recommended

Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection

The Albert

River North

This newish spot in the Hotel EMC2 named after Albert Einstein and lined with 12,000 books is serving up an intellectually ambitious three-course prix-fixe menu of dry-aged Berkshire pork rack with au gratin potatoes plus dessert options that include mint-chocolate ice cream and a sorbet trio.
Price/reservations: $75 per person; reservations needed

Huge Galdones

Travelle

River North

This uber-swanky spot in The Langham not only offers one of the best views in the city, but also two special Christmas Day menus including a wildly diverse brunch menu of made-to-order omelets, sushi, tacos and tamales, ramen, seafood, and holiday favorites like rib-eye steaks and pan-seared duck breast. Dinner is a five-course feast that includes braised wagyu short ribs, seared scallops, and vanilla mousse.
Price/reservations: Brunch $145 per person; dinner $85 per person; reservations needed

Artango

Artango

Ravenswood

This Argentine neighborhood hotspot pairs a flavor-packed Christmas Day prix fixe menu of empanadas, lobster bisque, chorizo beef, and quinoa risotto with chocolate mousse, flan, and a live guitarist playing Christmas songs along with Latin jazz numbers.
Price/reservations: $55 per person; reservations needed

Café de Architectes

Gold Coast

This criminally underrated fine dining spot in the Sofitel keeps things classy this Christmas with a special holiday menu of truffle ricotta gnocchi, filet mignon with foie gras and truffle puree plus various cheese tastings and carrot cake verrine for dessert.
Price/reservations: $79 per person; reservations needed

Filini Chicago

Filini

Loop

This authentic Italian spot in the Radisson Blu Aqua is showcasing a powerhouse four-course prix fixe menu on Christmas Day with entrees including braised short ribs, smoked duck, and sablefish, with buche de noel (a European sponge cake shaped into a Yule log) for dessert along with optional wine pairings.
Price/reservations: $65 per person (plus $30 for wine pairings); reservations needed

Grassroots

Lakeview

This longtime Lakeview neighborhood favorite formerly known as Deleece is slinging a more health-conscious three-course holiday dinner with your choice of organic free-range turkey, herbed beef, walleye, or a vegan option paired with family-style sides.
Price/reservations: $42 per person; reservations needed

Kurah

Kurah Mediterranean

South Loop

If you’re looking for a break from all the prix fixe menus in fancy hotels this Christmas, stop by this cool and colorful South Loop Mediterranean joint and dive into their regular menu that includes everything from grilled kabobs and lamb burgers to rack of lamb and seafood paella. Don’t skimp on the baba ganoush.
Price/reservations: Prices here; reservations recommended

Andies

Andersonville

If you can’t decide between brunch and dinner, this Andersonville Mediterranean mainstay has got you covered with both brunch and dinner buffets going all Christmas Day long, with one side of the restaurant offering dinner items like ham, chicken, salmon, kabobs, and beef, with the other side serving up brunch favorites like pancakes and eggs.
Price/reservations: $28 per person; reservations needed

Allium

Allium

Streeterville

While they sadly will not be serving their $19 Chicago-style hot dog that flies under the radar as one of the best in Chicago, this contemporary fireplace-equipped spot in the Four Seasons is throwing down a massive Christmas Day buffet menu with everything from Peking duck and BBQ pork to whole roasted turkey and crispy chicken thighs, paired with an expansive assortment of sweets and holiday cookies.
Price/reservations: $170 per person; reservations needed

Ann Sather

Lakeview

For a more low-key Christmas dining experience, head to the Belmont location of this popular North Side hang for Christmas Day specials like baked ham, prime rib with au jus and mashed potatoes, broiled salmon, roast turkey, and a “Swedish sampler” of duck breast, meatballs, potato sausage and spatzle.
Price/reservations: $22 per person; no reservations for parties under 6

The Florentine

The Florentine

Loop

This swanky contemporary Italian outpost in the JW Marriott is offering an adventurous Christmas Day and Eve special menu of prime rib and an Italian seafood stew with mussels, clams, and rock shrimp alongside sweet offerings like Italian bread pudding and pumpkin cheesecake with cranberry jam.

Price/reservations: Holiday menu prices here; reservations needed

Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse

Mag Mile

The downtown steak emporium named after the GOAT isn’t putting on any airs with any special menus this Christmas, but they are open Christmas Day with their usual menu of His Airness-approved delights like 16-oz Delmonico steaks and 34-oz dry-aged porterhouse in addition to pan roasted halibut, Slagel Farm’s pork chops, and miso-glazed Faroe Island salmon.
Price/reservations: Regular prices here; reservations needed

Café con Leche

Logan Square

For a Latin-flavored take on the holidays, head to this Logan Square favorite for chilaquiles and breakfast burritos, Cubano sandwiches, and huevos rancheros. Or go boring gringo style with French toast, pancakes, and bacon char burgers. Hey, it’s Christmas. You do you.
Price/reservations: Regular prices here; reservations recommended

Carmine’s

Gold Coast

Impress out-of-towners with a Christmas Day excursion to this classic Chicago steakhouse in the Viagra Triangle, where they’ll be serving their usual menu of expertly cooked steaks and filet mignon paired with a deep selection of pastas including shrimp risotto and fettuccine crab with lobster and shrimp.
Price/reservations: Regular prices here; reservations needed

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Chicago's Best New Restaurants That Opened in 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
A s 2017 winds down, it's time to take stock of the myriad restaurants that opened (and closed: rest in peace, Charlatan, Katsu, Ruxbin, et al.) this year. We saw West Town's food scene shift from under-the-radar to culinary hotbed, highbrow Mexican restaurants flourish, Michelin-starred chefs go casual, and the demand for -- and commitment to -- local produce and meats rage on. No group of restaurants better exemplify these trends than the following 10 stunners. From a 20-seat fine dining destination in (you guessed it) West Town, to a pasta spot with a penchant for all things Midwestern, these are the best restaurants that opened in 2017.

Mi Tocaya Antojeria

Logan Square

Elevated Mexican food in a space filled with art and kaleidoscopic tilework
This springtime arrival has garnered tremendous praise since its opening -- earning a spot amongst Thrillist's Prime 13 best new restaurants of the year -- and for good reason: chef and owner Diana Davila's elevated Mexican cuisine is the stuff that open-minded food enthusiasts' dreams are made of. If you're looking for free, bottomless chips and basic margaritas, look elsewhere. Here, the margs are infused with ingredients like serrano chilis and bitters or elderflower and citrus, and the wildly popular peanut butter y lengua starter sets the tone for the rest of the meal. Charred butternut squash tacos with chile, beans, and corn crema make for an outstanding vegetarian option, while pork albondiga en nogada will satisfy those with a carnivorous habit.

Bonci Pizzeria

West Loop

Pizza literally straight from Rome, with the flavors to prove it
This Roman import brazenly defied the "when in Rome..." adage upon its arrival to Chicago, because another deep-dish joint, it is not; instead, it's serving its iconic al taglio (sliced to order and sold by weight) pizza, which boasts a signature, focaccia-like crust that is at once substantive and airy. This outpost is the brand's first in the United States, and promises topping combinations ranging from prosciutto cotto and mozzarella to potato and mozzarella and meatballs and Parmesan. Pro tip: due to popular demand and inevitable lines, try to plan your visit at off-hours.

Paul strabbing

BLVD

West Loop

Amazing seafood served in Sunset Boulevard style
The 1950s Hollywood glamour and modern Chicago dining culture collide in stylish fashion at this debut concept from Sancerre Hospitality. The space is unapologetically luxurious, with cozy booths, twinkling chandeliers, and some of the poshest restrooms in the game (continuity of design matters, folks), while the menu serves luxury in the form of champagne, spendy caviar service, a seafood tower, and filet mignon served with foie gras, truffles, and brioche. Punctuate a meal with mini malt milkshakes or a "Holiday" hot fudge brownie sundae topped with bourbon-soaked cherries, caramel pretzels, whipped cream, and sprinkles for the full "treat yo'self" experience.

Paul Strabbing

Proxi

West Loop

Street food from around the world in a vibrantly designed space
It may not brandish the numerous accolades that Sepia has accumulated over the years, but the Michelin-starred restaurant's little sister is no less impressive. A playful, modern design ethos echoes executive chef Andrew Zimmerman's globetrotting menu of street food-inspired eats, complete with black, white, and cerulean geometric tiles in the bar area and an expansive open kitchen. Tempura-fried elotes with dehydrated lime, shaved Parmesan, and Kewpie mayo have become a fan favorites since the restaurant debuted in June; the coal-roasted oysters with ssamjang butter and fried fish collars with Thai garlic-chili sauce are equally can't-miss.

Julia Weeman

Split-Rail

West Town

The most high-end flavorful chicken nuggets you'll find
Executive chef/owner Zoe Schor (of former Ada Street fame) kept 2017's West Town dining renaissance rolling with her quaint, neighborhood-y tavern. Familiar and comforting American flavors shine in dishes like baked potato-inspired gnocchi, which comes packed with house bacon, sour cream, Hook's five-year Cheddar, and crispy potato skins, soul-soothing chicken nuggets with tangy honey-mustard for dipping, and like-Grandma's-but-better angel food cake teamed with seasonal fruit and Chantilly cream.

Matt Haas / Thrillist

Kitsune

North Center

Midwest-sourced ingredients meet home-style Japanese cuisine
The latest from Michelin-starred chef and foraging genius Iliana Regan of Elizabeth employs both locally procured ingredients and homestyle Japanese cooking techniques to create a signature cuisine that is traditional in approach and modern in execution. Chawanmushi with wild mushrooms and white fish plays well alongside nori sourdough with salmon poke and egg yolk, house-made nettle ramen with shio mushroom broth and crudité, and Japanese whisky-glazed doughnuts, while brunch offerings like okonomiyaki and "baoscuits" with pork cheek gravy and a fried egg make for a far from average Sunday outing. Read why we picked Kitsune as one of our Prime 13 best new restaurants of the year.

Courtesy of Quiote

Quiote

Logan Square

A mezcaleria-meets-Mexican-small-plates wonderland
Casual yet stylish, Quiote is a lesson in seemingly effortless balance. The bi-level Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient is airy and inviting, and provides a lively atmosphere for imbibing mezcal-based cocktails, like the Hotel Victoria (mezcal, arrack, lemon, aji, and pineapple cordial), alongside shareable bites like decadent bone marrow topped with avocado, cilantro, and salsa macha on supremely crusty toasted sourdough, esquites fundido comprised on sweet corn, cotija, crema, and serrano, and a crab tostada with mustard seed, hot sauce, radish, and punchy black lime for a hit of acidic brightness. No visit is complete without a visit to the subterranean mezcal bar, either pre- or post-meal.

Stephanie Zhao

Temporis

West Town

An ever-changing tasting menu pulled directly from an on-site hydroponic garden
Adventurous eaters with expensive taste, this one is for you: Chicago's small circle of tasting-menu-only fine dining restaurants gained this tiny yet notable addition this year. Sleek, sophisticated, and sustainability-minded, 20-seat Temporis serves just a single, evolving, eight-to-10 course tasting menu each night -- which is flush with hyper-local ingredients grown in the restaurant's on-site hydroponic garden. The menu changes at the seasons' whims, but has recently featured courses like A5 Miyazaki wagyu with kombu, blueberry, and chanterelle, capellini with mushrooms and gooseberries, and peach with cinnamon, brown butter, and lemon verbena.

Jason Little

HaiSous

Pilsen

Husband-and-wife team brings unbeatable Vietnamese food to Pilsen
Perhaps the most feel-good restaurant story of 2017 is that of Thai and Danielle Dang, the resilient husband-and-wife team who overcame tremendous adversity (including a lawsuit against their former boss at Embeya) to bring authentic Vietnamese fare to Pilsen. HaiSous was worth the wait, with a concept that offers both a la carte and prix fixe brunch and dinner services. Both are loaded with traditional items like roasted duck stuffed with kaffir lime leaves, corn with toasted coconut, scallion confit, and fried garlic, and even fried chicken wings with sticky-sweet caramelized fish sauce and crispy garlic.

Neil Burger

Daisies

Logan Square

Midwest-inspired pasta served in an exposed-brick dining room
Pasta is the name of the game at this 52-seater, where traditional Italian preparations are pushed aside in favor of locally grown ingredients and a uniquely Midwestern sensibility. Delve into the region's bounty by way of tortellini with lentils, kale, and pork sausage, tajarin with pole beans, garlic, and chicken cracklin', and stracci tossed with braised lamb, broccoli, and pecorino. Balance all those noodles with starters like carrot rillettes with duck fat and fennel and a glass of tequila-spiked Daisy Sangria, which is rounded out with tea, apple, and white wine.