Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.




  • pinitbutton Ramps, Morels Usher in Chicago’s Spring
thebristol072209 023 300x178 Ramps, Morels Usher in Chicago’s Spring

The Bristol is one of several Chicago restaurants featuring ramps on its menu. Photo courtesy of Neil Burger.

by Jennifer Olvera


In Chicago, spring has sprung! We’ve had a few warm days, and ramps—among the season’s first edible indicators—are at-the-ready. (Cue the swooning sound.) We just love these wild, potently flavored beauties, which are foraged locally in cool, forested areas. And we’re psyched to share where you can find them around town.


Blackbird’s Mike Sheerin will serve puréed ramps with halibut; upping the ante further, they’ll also be pickled, alongside.

  Continue reading “Ramps, Morels Usher in Chicago’s Spring” »

  • pinitbutton Paolo De Marchi Makes Appearance at Sepia in Chicago
sepia 300x199 Paolo De Marchi Makes Appearance at Sepia in Chicago

Paolo De Marchi will host a wine dinner at Sepia in Chicago on April 26

by Jennifer Olvera


So, you can’t make the trip to Tuscany you long for. It’s a bummer, for sure. On the other hand, you can sip seriously good wine from the region—with Paolo De Marchi, no less—at Sepia on April 26.


The storied (some say visionary) winemaker from small-production Isole e Olena will pour six of his rare vinos, including his complex flagship Sangiovese, Cepparello, and Uvaggio, a blend of Nebbiolo, Vespolina and Croatina from Proprietà Sperino, his Piedmont estate in the shadows of the Alps.


Continue reading “Paolo De Marchi Makes Appearance at Sepia in Chicago” »

  • pinitbutton Chicagos Bin 36 Enters New, Cheese Centric Era
steak tartare 1 300x259 Chicagos Bin 36 Enters New, Cheese Centric Era

Steak tartare is one of many new offerings on the revamped menu at Bin 36.

by Jennifer Olvera


Earning a following that hasn’t waned, Chicago’s decade-old Bin 36 entered a new era. After closing for a few days for a quick face-lift, the menu changed.



Just like its down-to-earth wine program, Bin’s new cheese selection takes a 101 approach. Themed cheese classes will begin in April, and they’ll mimic the approach of Wine Director Brian Duncan’s take on vino education. Expanded and affordable, the cheese program continues to focus on small producers from the world over—including those from lesser-known American farmers.

Continue reading “Chicago’s Bin 36 Enters New, Cheese-Centric Era” »



  • pinitbutton Atypical Easter Brunch in Chicago


maindiningroom5 Atypical Easter Brunch in Chicago

Eve is among the Chicago dining destinations challenging convention this Easter. Photo courtesy of

by Jennifer Olvera
Easter is right around the corner, and we’re mighty excited about the ridiculously tasty-sounding—not to mention, atypical—options out there. Since we like a bit of savory with our sweet, we’ve set eyes on the three-course spread at one sixtyblue. You can choose between items like grilled shrimp with curried cucumber-yogurt sauce and fried chickpeas and slow-cooked pork belly with buttermilk biscuits and spicy sausage gravy. From there, opt for a flat iron steak with braised spring radishes, fiddlehead ferns and spring onion gratin or, perhaps, ricotta-English pea ravioli with Parmesan gratin, followed by sorbet with rosemary shortbread. The cost is $39 per person, and a waffle bar ($12) is available for kids under 12. On the other hand, Eve’s $32, three-course brunch features the likes of Toulouse sausage with caramelized onions and sauerkraut; slow-cooked Swan Creek Farm ham with fennel-poached eggs and caramelized fennel; and eggs Sardou with soft-shell crab, creamed spinach, poached eggs, crispy artichokes and béarnaise. Are you thinking Greek? Then head to Taxim, where the $55, five-course lineup includes items like kokoretsi, charcoal-grilled caul-stuffed offal; magiritsa, hearty lamb offal soup; tsouknidopita, nettle pie with house-made phyllo, sheep’s milk butter and feta; and tsoureki, braided sweet bread baked with a red-dyed egg. For the main course, it’s on to whole charcoal-roasted, milk-fed spring lamb. Seatings are at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Want some more ideas on where to eat? Check out our comprehensive list of the best Easter Brunch restaurants in Chicago

  • pinitbutton Chicago’s Sixteen Launches Week Long Theme Menus
chres080201 02 Chicago’s Sixteen Launches Week Long Theme Menus

Sixteen's dining room will honor beef in many ways during a week-long themed dinner.

by Jennifer Olvera


We love a good, posh meal—especially when it’s based on our favorite ingredients. That’s why we’re excited about Sixteen’s newest promotion, “Feasting at Sixteen with Frank Brunacci.”


The skyline-framed, 16th-floor restaurant in the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago will shift its focus to serve an a la carte menu for a week each month, from March through September, while emphasizing a single, indulgent ingredient.


First up is beef from March 29-April 4. The carnivorous component will be honored in various ways, starting with dishes like Kobe carpaccio with chickpea crunch and cucumber-cilantro salad and Waygu beef cheek ravioli with foie gras-port sauce and chipotle mayo.

Continue reading “Chicago’s Sixteen Launches Week-Long Theme Menus” »

  • pinitbutton Sable Kitchen & Bar Opens in March
heathert1 200x300 Sable Kitchen & Bar Opens in March

Atwood Café's Heather Terhune will craft the seasons-inspired menu at Sable Kitchen & Bar.

by Jennifer Olvera



It’s the time of year when Chicagoans desperately look for a reason to think spring. Showy gastro-lounge Sable Kitchen & Bar offers just that, rolling out on March 24 in Kimpton’s soon-to-open Hotel Palomar.



Chef Heather Terhune—a veteran of Atwood Café in the Burnham Hotel—has developed a seasonally minded opening menu, which relies heavily on local farms and purveyors. Well-versed in both sweets and savories, Terhune expects to serve crisp, fiddlehead-topped flatbreads spun from 00 flour and homemade, boiled soft pretzels with smoked Wisconsin cheese fondue and whole grain mustard butter.




The kitchen will have plenty of Staub cast-iron cookware handy for dishes like steak frites and mussel frites, though Terhune is quick to note she won’t be locked into a single concept.


Continue reading “Sable Kitchen & Bar Opens in March” »



  • pinitbutton Baconfest Fattens Up Chicago

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Big Jones will be one of several Chicago-area restaurants serving up bacon-themed treats.

by Jennifer Olvera


Do you love bacon like we do? Because we really, really love bacon. Fortunately, Chicago chefs do, too, and many of them are gathering for the porcine extravaganza known as Baconfest on April 10, beginning at noon.


The seemingly endless number of participants—from The Bristol and Big Jones to Longman & Eagle, Chalkboard, Province and Eve—will fashion dishes (some of them quite edgy) to elevate one of life’s greatest eats.


Bacon-makers and bacon-entrepreneurs will hawk wares, plus there will be oodles of bacon-inspired activities, spirits and culinary and cultural events revolving around… well, you know.

Continue reading “Baconfest Fattens Up Chicago” »

  • pinitbutton Chicago Chef Week Ushers in Spring
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The Publican is among more than two-dozen participating restaurants. (Photo courtesy of Bob Briskey Photography)

by Jennifer Olvera


The second annual Chicago Chef Week is on the horizon—make note to clear your schedule for March 22-28—bringing with it an endless array of affordable prix fixe menus at top tables all over town.


More than two-dozen restaurants will be dishing up special menus. Among them is The Publican, which will usher in a $30 three-course meal of Little Gem salad with crispy pig ears, followed by grilled country ribs. As for dessert, look for a tweaked version of its famed waffle.


Admittedly, though, you may be lured to the ’burbs for Paul Virant’s menu at Vie, which happens to be one of our Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. He’ll kick things off with a salad of La Quercia prosciutto, scarlet turnips, caramel apple jam, Werp Farms arugula and Spanish olive oil. Next up, it’s Milanese-style Gunthorp Farms chicken with organic polenta, fried Tuscan kale and garlic-herb vinaigrette and warm, gooey butter cake with Tahitian vanilla ice cream, brittled peanuts and chocolate sauce.

  Continue reading “Chicago Chef Week Ushers in Spring” »

  • pinitbutton Chicagos Chaise Lounge becomes The Southern
jlasky 300x200 Chicagos Chaise Lounge becomes The Southern

Johnny cakes with Gunthorp Farm pork and chow chow are on the menu at The Southern. Photo courtesy of J. Lasky.

by Jennifer Olvera


Chaise Lounge has officially become The Southern, a Chicago drinking den where comfort food gets a sometimes-irreverent spin. The cocktails? Classic. The tunes? Southern rock. As for the food, chef Cary Taylor kicks off the edited menu with aged cheddar cheese straws with truffle mayo, hush puppies with smoked trout and Johnny cakes with Gunthorp Farm pork and chow chow.

  Continue reading “Chicago’s Chaise Lounge becomes The Southern” »



  • pinitbutton Prairie Fire Opens Its Doors
sarah rohit george1 Prairie Fire Opens Its Doors

Chef-owners of Prairie Fire: Sarah Stegner, Rohit Nambiar, and George Bumbaris.

by Jennifer Olvera


Chef-owners Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris earned a loyal following at their North Shore restaurant, Prairie Grass Café. (One bite of that sirloin burger, and you know why.)



Fortunately, city dwellers no longer have to make the haul since Prairie Fire opened in the West Loop. Located in a historic railroad generator station (most recently the site of Powerhouse), its menu includes its predecessor’s greatest hits—moussaka and ancho-marinated skirt steak on a bed of local beans, for example—as well as dishes that are sure to become favorites, such as spicy goat sausage with leeks, Tallgrass brisket with root vegetable mirepoix and purple potato mash and duck ballotine with cognac-marinated prunes.


Continue reading “Prairie Fire Opens Its Doors” »

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