December 12, 2014

restaurant guide: river north


One of the most common questions I get asked is where to go to eat in the city, so I thought I would start putting together my favorites, neighborhood by neighborhood!



I figured with the holidays in full swing and tourism is at it's peak in Chicago, that I would share my favorite spots to eat and drink amidst the hustle and bustle of the one of the biggest shopping neighborhoods in the city.

------------- FOOD -------------

With lots of deep leather couch seating, this restaurant is one you can enjoy for hours.  The roasted garlic and balsamic on toast appetizer is stellar, and their ricotta gnocchi is my favorite gnocchi ever!

Shanghai Terrace 
(located in the Peninsula Hotel)
Shanghai Terrace offers fantastic upscale Chinese food in a beautiful setting.  Bonus: they have an awesome rooftop patio for al fresco dining in the summers.  Loved their crab rangoon (and I don't like seafood!) and the beef short ribs (at least what the bf would let me steal off his plate!).
PS this is the boyfriend's favorite restaurant in the entire city.

Quartino offers tapas-style Italian food, which is great because I usually want about eight things on the menu.  My favorites are their tortellini and also the baby spinach salad.  And they have great pizzas, naturally.

 
Located in the heart of shopping, the cozy library-like setting is sure to provide respite amidst the madness outside.  I really love their soups and salads - they're classics - but they have much heartier menu offerings as well.

Although not a restaurant per se, a River North dining guide would not be complete without this on the list.  Hands down the best soup I've ever had.  My favorite is their Signature Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice.  And if you can't decide between two soups, you can do a mix!

Other restaurants on my list but haven't had a chance to try yet (have you been?):
RPM, Vermillion, Bottlefork, Celeste, The Kitchen

------------- DRINKS -------------

Aside from their great champagne and wine selections, they have my favorite French fries in the entire world - they're seasoned with garlic, truffle oil and brown butter and perfectly crispy...so very healthy.

Love their 'Dealers Choice' option where you pick the spirit, flavor profile and glassware, and the bartender makes something tailored to your selections.

Certainly one of the more unique bar settings I've ever been to - the entrance is hidden down an alley, but once you get inside it's like you've found a tropical oasis.  The drinks are unique and also expensive but trust me, you only need one.  And yes, that drink pictured above is on fire.

If you make it to any of these places, I'd love to hear about it!

All photos taken by me or from restaurant websites

xo, Annelise

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