If you haven’t experienced the joys of cuisine delivered by top chefs being given a chance to shine – and experiment using their highest skills, to the great enjoyment of guests – how about trying it this week? Wednesday, December 28 – Thursday, December 29 reserve your spot at Intro for a modern dim sum pop up. For two days only, three former Intro visiting chefs are taking the entrepreneurial skills that they learned at Intro to take over the restaurant with a menu inspired by their travels – in particular the nine Asian countries Chef Gillanders recently toured.
An a la carte menu and pre-fixe option are available will feature elevated dim sum, noodles and rice and family-style feasts. A limited number of reservations are available from 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. next Wednesday, December 28 and Thursday, December 29 for this special a la carte menu. To make a reservation or view the menu, visit www.introchicago.com or call the restaurant at 773.868.0002.
If you can’t stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve, you can still enjoy libations and good food and even full dinners at any number of restaurants in Chicago this New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day 2017. Below are a few ideas.
The Spanish Square Spanish pre-party for New Year’s Eve, 4-6 p.m. For early-to-bed types the party will start at 4 p.m. ET (11 p.m. in Spain). Party-goers will count down the minutes to the Spanish New Year via a live broadcast from Spain! Adults get a glass of Cava (Spanish bubbly) and kids can have sodas and specialty drinks. At the stroke of midnight (5 p.m. ET), you’ll partake in the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes (one at each stroke of the clock) for a prosperous 2017. $30 for people over 21, $25 for ages 9-20, and children 8 and under are free. Call for tickets (773) 717-7900 or visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2714804.
The Spanish SquareNYE dinner,7-9 p.m. A little later than the family party, consider coming for a sumptuous New Year’s Eve dinner. Executive Chef Rafael’s special menu priced at $49 also offers an optional wine pairing for $20. You’ll finish the celebration by eating 12 grapes with a replaying of Spain’s broadcast of ringing in 2017 – one grape for each stroke of midnight. It’s the perfect way to kick off your celebration. Reservations (773) 717-7900.
Troquet River North, 9 pm – 2am. DJ music, a champagne toast, heavy hors d’oeuvres and party favors. Tickets – $65 before December 12, $80 after and at the door – include an open bar with a wide selection of craft beers, 10 different wines from Troquet’s unique draft wine system and house mixed drinks. 21 and over. Tickets INCLUDE tax and gratuity – get ’em at troquetrivernorth.com. Next day, enjoy New Year’s brunch, 10am-3pm. The $25 deal includes a choice of brunch entree and 1.5 hours of mimosas.
And, of course, don’t forget the many ever-reliable LEYE restaurants. They’ve collected all the happenings for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day at all of their venues – see links below. A few standout occasions for NYE include Studio Paris‘ black tie event, Naoki‘s omakase menu, and Ema‘s prix-fixe menu with Chef CJ Jacobson.
Sepia Chicago offers a festive menu curated by Executive Chef Andrew Zimmerman and wine pairings by beverage director extraordinaire Arthur Hon. Prices exclude tax and gratuity. Reserve for New Year’s Eve at 312.441.1920 (credit card guarantee is required). Menu and more info at www.sepiachicago.com
First Seating | 5:00pm-6:45pm – Four-Course Prix Fixe Menu
$85 | $145 with wine pairing
Second Seating | 8:00pm – 10:30pm – Six-Course Prix Fixe Menu $125 | $215 with wine pairings
Knife Restaurant, now open near Lincoln Square, offers a sophisticated, intimate New Year’s Eve with Chef Tim Cottini’s special tasting menu of three elegant gourmet courses, priced at $90 per person. Appetizer choices: 1) Beef Tartar with Bordeglaze, Apple and Smoked Shiitake Mushrooms and Beef Fried Toasts; 2) Lobster Thermidor; or 3) Celery Root Risotto and Fresh Black Truffles. Entree choices: 1) Winter Vegetables, a study of the winter’s bounty provided by local farmers; 2) Truffle Crusted, Dry Aged Beef Tenderloin; or 3) Dover Sole with Porcini Mushroom Mille Feuille. Dessert: a luscious Chocolate Mousse with Bittersweet Chocolate, White Chocolate and Tart Cherries.
Dovetail Brewery. What better way to celebrate New Year’s Eve than with a beer in your hand AND your dog by your side? Dovetail’s taproom is dog friendly, so you don’t have to worry about leaving your dog home alone. Now, you can celebrate the New Year with the entire family! Get all the details here.
Ixcateco Grill. Wonderful Mexican food and BYOB. Executive Chef/owner Anselmo Ramirez created new menu items to celebrate Feliz Año Nuevo. Everything from appetizers – empanadas with vegetables & goat cheese and unique house-made salsa – to entrees like wood grilled salmon with pumpkin squash mole or wood-grilled shrimp, pork or skirt steak, and the chef’s fabulous Tres Leches Cake, BYOBubbly! Seatings start at 5:30 pm; last seating 10:30 p.m. Call 773-539-5887 for a reservation or make it on-line at http://www.ixcatecogrill.com
Let Delightful Pastries (Jefferson Park, Chicago French Market) accent your holiday meal! Known for their outstanding baked goods and sweets, Delightful Pastries will offer an array of seasonal catering options such as Buche de Noel, a French yule log made out of genoise, filled with chocolate ganache and decorated with marzipan mushrooms and holly berries ($40); Traditional German Stollen, with candied orange peel, raisins, almonds and filled with marzipan ($20); Royal Gingerbread, filled with hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, raisins and candied orange peel and dipped in chocolate ($15); and Butter Cookie Christmas Tree, butter cookies filled with apricot preserves and decorated with royal icing and holiday sugar ornaments ($35).
Savory dishes are an excellent accompaniment to the main course or served as an appetizer. Some of Delightful Pastries’ stand-out dishes include Red Borscht ($8/quart) & Mushroom Turnovers, filled with sautéed mushrooms in a puff pastry ($14/dozen); and Meat Pie, filled with pork and ham and wrapped in bacon ($40).
Additional items include the vegan Holiday Bread ($10), loaded with pecans, cherries, raisins, cranberries, candied orange peel and currants and the vegan Pecan Cranberry Sourdough ($6), a hearty option made with cranberries and chopped pecans. Rum Eggnog($15.99) is sure to be a hit and small or large trays of mini pastries, brownies or assorted cookies are available as well.
To order, call one of the Delightful Pastries locations by Tuesday, December 20 (Chicago French Market, 312.234.9644 or Jefferson Park, 773.545.7215).
Harvest at Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
Located directly on the Magnificent Mile, Harvest at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile (540 N Michigan Ave.) will offer a festive and delicious feast. The all-you-can-eat buffet will feature a carving station of Slow-Roasted Prime Rib and House-Smoked Ham with au jus and smoked apple butter. A cold buffet will include a Kale Caesar Salad, assorted Local Cheeses and Housemade Charcuterie and Shrimp Cocktail. The hot buffet will feature dishes such as Celery Root and Apple Soup, Housemade Sausage and Sage Cornbread Stuffing, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Michigan Apples and Bacon and Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes. The dessert table will include an assortment of Pecan Tarts, Eggnog Mousse Cups, Red Velvet Cake and more.
The menu will be offered on Christmas from noon to 10 p.m. Cost is $40 per adult and $20 per child under 10 years of age (exclusive of tax and gratuity). Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling 312.836.6334.
Smoke Daddy Will Smoke Your Bird Smoke Daddy (1804 W Division St.) in Wicker Park will offer a delicious Christmas catering menu. The BBQ restaurant will offer House-Smoked Whole Turkey (11 lb., $65; 20 lb., $90), Pulled Whole Turkey (1 lb., $16) and Glazed Ham, a partial bone-in, smoked ham with a sweet mojo glaze (9 lb., $69). Sides such as Cornbread Stuffing with sausage and spices ($10 per quart); Brussels Sprouts, oven-roasted with a lemon butter sauce ($10 per quart); and Garlic Mashed Potatoes ($10 per quart) and desserts like Sweet Potato Pie ($22) and Pecan Pie ($24) round out the menu. In addition, guests may pick-up bottles of wine ($12-$15) and the fixings for a Bloody MaryBar ($140 for 20 beverages) and/or Mimosa Bar($100 for 12 beverages).
Pick-up and delivery orders must be made by noon on Monday, December 19. Items will be picked-up cold with re-heating instructions on Thursday, December 22 and Friday, December 23. Guests may place their order online at www.thesmokedaddy.com.
Eden Restaurant, 1748 W. Lake St., opens its doors tonight, bringing refined cooking, impeccable hospitality, and unwavering conviviality to the dining community. Principal Jodi Fyfe, Chef/Partner Devon Quinn, and Chef de Cuisine Miles Schaefer deliver stellar cuisine and a rustic ambiance.
The new 95-seat restaurant draws inspiration from Portugal, Spain, Lebanon, and more and offers a fresh, farm-forward menu that epitomizes clean cooking. A biologist by nature with a passion for hyper-local ingredients, Chef Quinn applies the bounty of his onsite 1800-square foot greenhouse throughout the menu, which means fresh flavors year-round. Think creative options like Umami Doughnuts, Roasted Baby Beets, Braised Duck Lasagna, and Portuguese Spiced Chicken.
Eden’s Pastry Chef Stefano Tulipano, General Manager and Sommelier Arif Rahman, and Mixologist Alex Rydzewski eachoffer distinctive drinks and desserts that work beautifully with Eden’s menu.
The restaurant is designed with careful craftsmanship using local resources and features rustic touches and authentic finishes. Original exposed brick speaks to the neighborhood’s industrial history, while graphic black and white tile highlight the exclusive chef’s counter and expansive bar. Eden is now open for dinner. Preview the menu here, and for reservations visit or call (312) 366-2294.
Super busy? Overworked? Under-assisted? Plain old tired out – or just want to treat yourself? Sometimes cooking for the holidays feels like simply too much. Thank goodness many of our favorite Chicago restaurants choose to offer respite from the cooking, serving and cleaning up along with a warm and comfortable place to enjoy good food with whomever you choose to spend your holidays with. And don’t forget, if you eat out on these special days, be extra generous with your tips for the hard-working industry professionals who are making your day/night out possible and pleasant.
CHRISTMAS EVE, Saturday December 24, 2016
312 Chicago, Theater District/Loop, will be open Christmas Eve for brunch and dinner until 8PM featuring their regular menu. Walk-ins are available and reservations can be made by visiting www.312chicago.com or calling 312-696-2420.
Artango, 3 – 11:45 pm. Order from the regular menu or a three-course prix fixe menu for $55/adult and $24/child aged 4-12. Diners can enjoy classic Argentine dishes along with some holiday specials. An a la carte menu will be also available.
South Water Kitchen – Loop, reservations during regular hours until 7 pm. Chef Roger Waysok will be offering his brunch and dinner regular menu. South Water Kitchen is GREAT certified, which means guests of all dietary restrictions like gluten, can enjoy dishes like Cauliflower Steak, Pork Belly with Sweet Potato Gratin and Carrot Cake Twinkies. Walk-ins are available and reservations can be made by visitingwww.southwaterkitchen.com or calling 312-236-9300.
Big Bowl – Chicago, Lincolnshire, Schaumburg, contact your location for hours. Both locations open Christmas Eve, serving our regular menus as well as daily specials. To view hours by location or to make a reservation, click here.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!, brunch 9 am –3 pm; dinner 3 pm –10 pm.
Our Christmas Eve gift to you: Happy Hour all day! Whether you’re finishing last minute shopping or relaxing with family and friends, join us in the bar area for $16 pitchers of red sangria, $2-4 select tapas and $1 pintxos. View the full selection here. Bar seating is first come, first serve. Our regular brunch and dinner menus will be available in the main dining room.
Everest, Tuesday, December 13 through Saturday, December 24.
Christmas is a magical time in Alsace that holds many memories for Chef/Proprietor J. Joho, who grew up celebrating with family and friends over the dishes specially prepared for the occasion. Join him from Tuesday, December 13 – Thursday, December 29, as he brings these traditional preparations to Everest, serving a multi-course menu of elegant holiday fare, including foie gras, pike and roasted goose. This special menu is $135 per person (not including tax and gratuity). Wine pairings are available for $98 per person more. To make your reservation, call 312-663-8920 or visit www.everestchicago.com.
Intro, 4:30 – 8 pm. Join us on Saturday, December 24 for Executive Chef Stephen Gillanders family-style Chinese Christmas Eve Dinner including Black Truffle Egg Drop Soupwith winter truffle, scallion, white pepper; Foie Gras Fried Ricewith Hudson Valley foie gras, ginger crumbs; Roasted Peking Duckwith traditional & nontraditional garnishes; and for dessert, Egg Tart Brulee. The cost is $98 (not including, beverage, tax and gratuity). Intro’s visiting Chef Osaka’s Japanese Trattoria a la carte menu will also be available. For more information and to make your reservation, visit www.introchicago.com or call 773-868-0002.
This Christmas Eve, enjoy a special holiday meal chosen from their selection of fresh salads, sandwiches, seafood and prime steaks, alongside signature sides, and of course, pie. Highlights include: fresh Florida Stone Crab, Colossal Lump Crab Cakes, Chilean Sea Bass, Bone-In Rib Eye and Filet Mignon. To view the full menus, click here.
Mon Ami Gabi, Lincoln Park: 4 –9 pm; Oak Brook: 11 –10 pm.
This year, celebrate Christmas Eve with French fare. From savory crepes and quiches to bubbly French Onion Soup, and classics from Steak Frites to Beef Bourguignon, satisfy all your holiday cravings. To view the full menus, click here.
Nacional 27, 5 pm -10 pm. Offers a Christmas Eve special Cuban-themed, prix-fixe for $45 per person. Executive Chef Chico Vilchez’s four-course menu includes a tapas sampling, hearts of palm salad, choice of entree and pumpkin flan dessert. Guests may add an optional ceviche course for $9, along with a mojito or margarita for $11.
Osteria Via Stato, 4 pm – 9:30 pm. Join Executive Chef David DiGregorio this Christmas Eve as he prepares a dinner inspired by his family’s traditions, The Feast of Seven Fishes. Reputedly named for the seven hills of Rome, this multi-course, holiday meal captures the spirit of Italy with an abundance of seafood dishes from around the country, dessert and sides. The cost is $59.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity. A la carte menu will be offered, as well as the regular menu in the dining room. For reservations call 312-642-8450.
Oyster Bah, 11 am – 10 pm. Oysters seem to have a rich holiday tradition in the Midwest. With oyster happy hour on Saturdays from 3-6 pm, guests can enjoy $1.50 oysters (one east and one west), a glass of bubbles, clam stuffies, shrimp and grits and more. Enjoy watching the neighborhood traffic from the garage window or make yourself cozy in the back or downstairs in the Low Tide Lounge.
Ramen-san, 11 am – 10 pm. Ramen-san is the perfect place to spend Christmas Eve: There will be bowls of piping hot noodles, perfectly chilled Asahi beer, and holiday classics like Home Alone, Jingle All the Way and The Santa Clause playing all day. Call Ramen-san at 312-377-9950 or visit ramensan.com for reservations.
Reel Club, 11:15 am – 10 pm. Open on Christmas Eve, serving its usual dinner menu. For location information or to make a reservation, click here.
R.J. Grunts, 11 am – 2 pm. Enjoy the famous “All-U-Can-Eat Weekend Brunch”, with items ranging from Pecan Bread Pudding French Toast and Mini Belgian Waffles to Grunts’ Thick-Cut Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, and Yogurt & Granola for just $15.95. As always, the world famous salad bar will be available (and included in the price!). Visit rjgruntschicago.com or call 773-929-5363.
RPM Italian, 3 – 11 pm. Come and enjoyan updated version of the classic Italian celebration, Feast of the Seven Fishes. The festive menu includes an array of antipasti and traditional fare—think Frutti di Mare with artisanal pasta and Roasted Maine Lobster—before coming to a sweet ending. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is $75 per person (plus tax; gratuity not included). In addition to this festive offering, the RPM Italian dinner menu will also be available throughout the evening. Call 312-222-1888 or visit rpmrestaurants.com for reservations.
Shaw’s Crab House – Chicago, IL, brunch 10:00AM – 2:00PM, dinner 4:00PM – 9:00PM, Oyster Bar open all day. Saturday brunch will be in full swing for those who want to enjoy a special treat before cooking for friends and family at home. Full main dining room menu will be available for dinner service which will include surf n’ turf, shellfish towers, many fresh fish selections and more. Oyster Happy hour as usual from 4-6 pm for a little snack and a cocktail before heading over to your celebration.
Shaw’s Crab House – Schaumburg, IL, brunch 10:30AM – 1:30PM / full menu 11:30AM – 9:00PM. This Christmas Eve, be the first to enjoy brunch on Saturday as well! With delectable new offerings and a fantastic new price of $39 per adult, $10 for kids 7-12 and kids 6 and under, consider starting a new tradition for you and your family.
Summer House Santa Monica, Lincoln Park, brunch 8 am – 3 pm; Lunch 11 am – 4 pm; dinner 4 pm – 10 pm. Spend your Christmas Eve surrounded by beach decor and summer vibes and enjoy your favorite California-inspired menu items, including the Wood-Grilled Hamburger with thousand island, Ancho-Marinated Chicken Tacos, and Grilled Faroe Island Salmon. A great place to relax before and on Christmas Eve – handcrafted cocktails and an extensive California wine list. To view the full menus, click here.
Stella Barra Pizzeria, brunch 10 am – 2 pm; dinner 2 pm –10 pm.
Take a break from your holiday hosting by letting us take care of Christmas Eve dinner. Share starters like fresh, handmade Burrata, Italian Chopped Salad or Crispy Brussels Sprouts before trying one (or more!) signature artisanal pizzas. With options including the Smoked Bacon & Goat Cheese Pizza, Bloomsdale Spinach & Kale and Butternut Squash, there’s something for everyone. View full menu online, and call 301-770-8609 for reservations.
Why not try something new for Christmas Eve? Tokio Pub will be offering full menu, including bowls of hot ramen, savory potstickers, delicious sushi and more. Grab a snack while you are wrapping up your last gifts at the Streets of Woodfield or Woodfield Mall with happy hour (items in red on menu) 4-6 pm. Call 847-278-5181
Wildfire – Chicago, Oak Brook, Glenview, Lincolnshire, Schaumburg
Contact your location of interest for hours. All locations will be open on Christmas Eve and serving regular dinner menu plus daily specials. To view hours by location or to make a reservation, click here.
Christmas /Christmas Eve Carryout. L. Woods, orders must be placed by Wednesday, December 21, 2016. Let L. Woods cater your Christmas Eve meal with a special holiday carry-out menu. All items, complete with re-heating instructions, can be picked up at L.Woods on Saturday, December 24. Please call 847-677-3350 for pricing information, to place your order and to schedule a pick-up time. Menu items include Oven-Roasted Turkey, Chopped Salad, House-Made Stuffing, Au Gratin Potatoes, Pecan Pie andButterscotch Bread Pudding. Orders must be placed by Wednesday, December 21.
For all the big-four holidays, you can leave it to Chef Didier of Cyrano’s fame. Fully cooked multi-course goose dinners available for pickup for the holidays. Also, you can order patés & rillettes, breads & morning pastries, vinaigrettes, soups & prepared dinner entrees, cheeses & more. To reserve yours, check out the entire menu here. Chef Didier’s Cyrano’s On-The-Go is located at Polo Cafe, 3322 S. Morgan Street in Bridgeport, Chicago. Email for more info here or call 773-620-3986
CHRISTMAS DAY, Sunday December 25, 2016
312 Chicago, Theater District/Loop. 5 – 8 pm. Chef Luca Corazzina has whipped up a Four-Course Christmas-Inspired Prix Fixe Menu – think antipasti then primi (lasagna or other pasta), secondi (beef stak, branzino, chicken) and dolci (tiramisu, panettone or pot de creme) – for $55 per person. very festively decorated dining room (regular menu not available).
Artango Brazilian Steakhouse, 2 – 8 pm. Enjoy athree-course prix fixe menu for $55/adult and $24/child aged 4-12. Diners can enjoy classic Argentine dishes along with some holiday specials. Live entertainment will be provided by acclaimed cellist Ian Maksin and guitarist Gabriel Datcu playing Christmas songs and other famous covers!
Di Pescara, 12 – 7 pm. Treat yourself to a festive meal, featuring Di Pescara’s cold water Twin Lobster Tail special, served with house-made Mac and Cheese. The dinner is $32.95 plus tax (gratuity not included). The regular menu is also available from noon to 7:00PM. Reserve via OpenTable or by calling 847-498-4321.
Wildfire – Lincolnshire, IL, 11 am to 8 pm. Friends and family can dine all day at Wildfire Lincolnshire on Christmas Day from the regular dinner menu and daily specials. For more information, please click here.
Sardinia is its own island, technically part of but culturally separate from the rest of Italy and Sicily. One of the most picturesque regions of Italy, the island remains a tantalizing secret for most Americans and so, until lately, have its wines. Giovanni Pinna, chief winemaker at Sella & Mosca, came to Cafe Spiaggia in Chicago recently to showcase some of the winery’s special wines ranging from value to luxury in price.
Sella & Mosca was founded in 1899 by two Piemontese businessmen, Erminio Sella and Edgardo Mosca, revered to this day for their prominent roles in the Risorgimento (Italy’s 19th-century unification movement). It was their love of unexplored terrains that led Sella, an engineer, and Mosca, a lawyer, to venture to Sardinia and start a winery on this idyllic island. European vineyards were just starting to recover from a devastating Phylloxera infestation and Sella &Mosca had an ambitious plan to reclaim the vineyards in the area known as I Piani.
Now, as Sardinia’s foremost wine producer, Sella & Mosca is renowned for premium wines made exclusively from estate-grown grapes. In addition to native varieties Torbato, Vermentino, Carignano and Cannonau, the winery has successfully pioneered the introduction of international grape varieties, notably Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. And they entrust their precious winemaking process only to top experts.
Giovanni was born in Sardinia and has devoted his entire career to studying, working and teaching others about the island’s unique viticultural landscape. With a university degree in agrarian science and another in viticulture and oenology, he took it all a step further by learning about innovative new research and cutting-edge technology at the institute for Wine Biotechnology at the University of Stellenbosch.
Not content with all that, he next achieved his master’s degree in oenology and a doctorate in microbic microbiology. Joining Sella & Mosca as oenologist in 2000, he quickly earned chief winemaker status and in this position he focuses on crafting wines of distinctive character with a defined link to terroir while managing an annual production of 7.6 million bottles. He regularly lectures at universities on topics related to oenology and viticulture, and as a researcher, frequently contributes articles to trade journals. Additionally, he has served since 1996 as a member of the Sassari chamber of commerce provincial commission for tastings and evaluation of DOC and DOCG wines.
These 6 beautiful wines all tasted lovely paired with the delicious menu presented by the culinary team at Cafe Spiaggia, and any of them will give you an excellent introduction to Sella & Mosca: