Can You Get a Good Deal at Chicago Restaurant Week?

A sampling of eight specials shows you can get a bargain. But it depends on where—and what—you want to eat.

This wild boar ragu with Parmigiano Reggiano is a deal at Cafe Spiaggia during Restaurant Week.   Photo: Galdones Photography

Starting Friday, January 24, and running through February 6, nearly 300 restaurants will be running fixed priced menu specials, with lunch menus for $22 and dinners for $33 or $44 before tax, tips, or drinks. It’s called Restaurant Week. (Even though it’s really more like Restaurant Two Weeks.)

It sounds so perfect in theory. Every restaurant you’ve been meaning to try—since forever—slashes its prices! Three courses at the best tables in town! But you have to check the math to be sure it’s really that good of a deal by comparing the Restaurant Week menus to the places’ à la carte pricing.

A few caveats: This is clearly an abbreviated list, and our recommendations are purely economic. Some places just didn’t have enough overlap between their Restaurant Week menu and regular menu for there to be a fair price comparison (Naha, Frontera Grill, and Stella Barra are examples). Then, others either didn’t have their Restaurant Week menus posted at press time or didn’t list menu prices online to begin with (like Balena and Nightwood.)

But based on the information available, it seems Restaurant Week is obviously a good time to try some places, and at others, it’s just business as usual. Take a look:

Blackbird

Restaurant Week price: $22 for three-course lunch
Regular price: $22 for three-course lunch
Should I go? No. It’s not that we don’t love Blackbird, it’s just that this deal’s always happening—pick a special menu somewhere instead.

Boarding House

RW price: $44 for three-course dinner
Regular price: $38-$53
Should I go? No, unless you love fish (the spendiest entrée option at $31.) Otherwise, it’s hard to spend more than the fixed price ordering each course individually.

The Bristol

RW price: $44 for three-course dinner
Regular price: $36-$45
Should I go? No, especially if you’re a vegetarian whose gnocchi main would only clock in around $15 (the average price for a pasta dish here.)

Cafe Spiaggia

RW price: $22 for three-course lunch, $33 for three-course dinner 
Regular price: $34-$37 for lunch, $39-$49 for dinner
Should I go? Yes—no matter what you order, it’s one of the best values at either meal.

Embeya

RW price: $33 for three courses or $44 for four courses at dinner 
Regular price: $49-$52 for three, $63-$68 for four
Should I go? Yes. Though only one of the entrées (garlic chicken) is listed on the regular menu, it’s $22 by itself, and the main course includes $10 worth of sides. Just be warned it’s carnivores only.

iNG

RW price: $44 for four courses
Regular price: $50 for three courses
Should I go? Yes. All the dishes come from their Salvador Dali-themed tasting menu, and the abbreviated version is usually only available a few days a week.

Mon Ami Gabi (Lincoln Park)

RW price: $33 for dinner
Regular price: $33-$47
Should I go? Yes, but only if you’ll order steak frites or beef bourguignon. Otherwise, it’s going to be roughly the same price to order what you want à la carte.

Slurping Turtle

RW price: $22 for lunch, $33 for dinner
Regular price: $25-$26 for lunch, $35-$38 for dinner
Should I go? Probably not. You’re only saving a couple of dollars at either meal.

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comments
6 months ago
Posted by TonyP

Restaurant week Wow

6 months ago
Posted by TonyP

Restaurant Week the best time to go to the upscale restaurants

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