As many of you Chicagoans know, Restaurant Week swept the city a few weeks ago. For those who didn’t partake, Chicago restaurants offer 3-course lunches for $22, and 3-4 course dinners from $33 or $44. Now I’m not saying $44 dinners/person is cheap – but, considering you’re getting 3-4 courses from fancy schmancy restaurants – it’s a pretty good deal. At least that’s what I told my husband. 😉
I go out for lunches & dinners frequently for my job (and, well, for fun with the hubs & family), so I was able to soak up all that is Restaurant Week. The restaurants I went to that offered the “deal” include the following: Tortoise Club, Quartino’s, One North, Francesca’s and Sapori Trattoria. After looking at the regular menu & the Restaurant Week menu, I decided to go the RW route for the following – Quartino’s, Francesca’s, and Sapori Trattoria. All were great – but, of course I have to compare/contrast!
Francesca’s – home sweet home. I’ve gone here for RW the past two years. I adore Francesca’s – great food and it brings back great memories. While in high school, my parents, brother and I would go to Francesca’s about every other Friday night. What a treat. Francesca’s menu was $33/person (if my memory serves me correctly) for a four course meal. I went with a caesar salad (not on the RW menu, but I convinced them to let me substitute 😉 ), pasta with eggplant and smoked mozzarella, and a pork chop for dinner. To finish? Lemon cake with a mascarpone sauce. Lots of food – and all of it was delicious. I basically had to waddle away. Woops…
Sapori Trattoria – delicious, but pricey. There were two choices $33/person for a three course meal (appetizer, pasta, and dessert – plus a drink) or $44/person. The drink choices were either (a) prosecco or (b) mixed drink of the bartender’s choice. It was basically a sangria with some harder alcohol mixed in. I didn’t drink it, but Joe said it was VERY sweet. The salad was good – nothing to write “blog” about (bah dum chhhh). The pasta was what nailed it for me – linguine with shrimp & broccoli. So so good. It felt so fresh and flavorful. I ate so much pasta that I ended up bringing my tiramisu home. (So nice of them to let me take it to go!) It was a delicious treat to have the next night. Joe got the meat lasagna and absolutely loved it. All in all, it was great food but even with the RW discount, we ended up spending $100 for two people based on my getting the $33 dinner, Joe getting the $44, plus drinks. Totally fine, but we didn’t expect to spend that much since it was “RW”.
Quartino’s – best bang for your buck. Their RW menu offered a $33 four-course menu that is meant to be SHARED amongst 2 people. That’s right – amazing food for roughly $16.50/person. I went with my parents and brother and boy did we EAT. Favorite things included – Sicilian Caponata (amazing eggplant spread), Artichokes Campobasso (roasted baby artichokes), Polpette Al Sugo Di Pomodoro (meatballs in traditional red sauce), Penne alla Vodka, and Tuscan Sausage Risotto (total food hug). We can’t forget about dessert – which I definitely devoured – Zeppole (donuts with a chocolate dipping sauce) and Panino al Gelato Limon (basically lemon gelato sandwiched between two soft donuts). The zeppole was probably my favorite dessert. Although fried, they were SO light and airy! Delish!
Unfortunately, RW week is now over. I gotta say, my wallet (and waistline) are happy about that, but I can’t wait for next year!