Economical guide to getting a taste of ~super-fancy~ restaurant

1. Blackbird

The $25 Prix-Fixe lunch is a great chance to try the Michelin-starred restaurant where the dinner menu is much less accessible. The natural light that shines through the big windows makes your lunch looks absolutely fantastic (if Chicago weather permits.)

Appetizer: Warm Shrimp Salad (with cashew, kohlrabi, cilantro, and fermented chili oil) – A mind blowing and innovative presentation of a warm salad –  all the ingredients are soaked in a warm coconut milk based soup. The mild texture of coconut milk wraps the spices, the chili oil and the shrimp in a perfect harmony.

Entrée: Grilled Sturgeon (with charred cabbage, chewy sunchoke, pomelo, and dill) – The supple texture and slightly plain flavor of the white-meat sturgeon are balanced by the cabbage slaws that bears a flavorful and slightly salty hint. The addition of pomelo drops a freshness into the pond and instantly makes the taste more sophisticated.

Dessert: Frozen Yogurt Parfait (with coconut granola, mango, mixed berries, and honey) – The frozen yogurt has a rich, dense and smooth texture that almost matches the one of gelato. The slight sourness of the fruits swirled by the jam creates a harmony with the frozen yogurt.
Lunch – Mon-Fri: 11:30am-2pm

Dinner – Sun-Thu: 5pm-10pm | Fri-Sat: 5pm-11pm

Parking: Valet, Street | Wi-Fi: 
Prix-Fixe Price: $25
Reservations | Call (312) 715-0708

2. Travelle Kitchen + Bar

Located on the second floor of The Langham Hotel, you could admire a great river view alongside your lunch. Travelle is also a great choice for people in a rush – the Wabash Express three course lunch comes in a big plate to save your waiting time!

Appetizer: Mixed Greens – Fresh vegetables foiled nicely with the house vinaigrette dressing – a refreshing start to your lunch!

Entrée: Branzino – The extremely fresh black bass is cooked to just the nice degree that the edge is crispy yet the inside remains tender and supple.

Dessert: Lemon Pavlova – The fresh smell of lemon and the sophisticated sourness makes this dessert a delightful end to the three courses!
Breakfast – Mon-Fri: 6:30am-11am
Breakfast Buffet – Sat-Sun: 7am-12pm
Brunch – Sat-Sun: 12pm-3pm
Lunch – Mon-Fri: 11am-3pm

Dinner – Sun-Thu: 5pm-10pm | Fri-Sat: 5pm-11pm
Bar – Mon-Fri: 3pm-12am | Sat-Sun: 11am-12am
Parking: Valet, Garage | Wi-Fi: 
Prix-Fixe Price: Wabash Express $25

3. GT Fish & Oyster

The exterior wall of GT Fish & Oyster is almost entirely made of glass. A perfect spot for a sun-bathed lunch in the River North neighborhood.

First Course: Shrimp Bruschetta – The fresh shrimp sitting on top of the smooth smashed avocado create a gentle duet, yet the addition of cilantro, red pepper and pistachio give the gentle mix a tangy twist.

Second Course: 2 Oyster Po’boy Sliders – A great value combo of two small sliders, a side salad and a cup of clam chowder. In the sliders, the crispy fried coat of the oysters lock up their umami and supple texture, while the innovative addition of kimchi throws a taste of sourness into the bunch and counters the oiliness of the oysters. Refresh with the salad! And the creamy yet lightweight clam chowder awaits you to find out about all the fresh seafood inside. This combo definitely does justice to the name of this restaurant!

Third Course: Key Lime Pie – The light and smooth mousse texture key lime cream,  the crumb infusing sea salt flavor, and the refreshing sorbet on the side – there is really no better way to end a lunch!
Brunch – Sat-Sun: 10am-2:30pm
Lunch – Tue-Fri: 11:30am-2:30pm

Dinner – Sun-Wed: 5pm-10pm | Thu-Sat: 4:30pm-11pm

Parking: Valet | Wi-Fi: 
Prix-Fixe Price: $25

4. Fig & Olive

If you walk down E Oak St without paying close attention, you might miss Fig & Olive since it only has a small entrance. Once you enter and step out of the elevator,  you will be amazed by the cozy and considerate interior. Although Fig&Olive is a mediterranean restaurant, the menu is an interesting one that incorporates European and Contemporary American traits.

Appetizer: Truffle Mushroom Croquette – A small pocket of wonder! The crispy coat foils the creamy cheese and mushrooms inside and create a comforting melody in your mouth.

Entrée: Riviera Salmon – The salmon is just cooked to the right degree where the skin is crispy while the inside is still tender. The baked onions on the side leaves a sweet after taste and supplements the salmon nicely.

Dessert: Dessert “Crostini” – The soft and rich butter cookies are accompanied by the cold cream cheese and blueberries on top – the three create a interesting interplay as you take a bite.
Brunch – Sat-Sun: 10am-3:45pm
Lunch – Mon-Fri: 11am-3:45pm

Dinner – Sun-Thu: 4pm-9:30pm | Fri-Sat: 4pm-11pm
Parking: Valet | Wi-Fi: 
Prix-Fixe Price: $29

5. La Sardine

The cute French bistro sits on the quiet street of N Carpenter. Painted panels on the walls and small fish motifs on the plate bring a playful atmosphere to the restaurant.

Entrée: Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée – The classic French Onion soup is perfect for a cold and windy Chicago day. The thick layer of gruyere cheese is burnt to slightly crisp on top and chewy on the bottom. The sweet onion and bread soaked in the soup make this dish a comforting choice.

Plats Principaux: Special – Grilled Mahi Mahi – The special dish of the day was Mahi Mahi. Two pieces of Mahi Mahi nicely flavored with black pepper sits on top of wild rices and green beans. The essence of the fish soaks deep into the ingredients below and combines to a harmonious flavor.

Dessert: Tarte aux Pommes – Highly recommended by the waitress! The thinly sliced apple pieces sit on top of the extremely airy and crispy puff pastry create a fantastic texture in your mouth. As the vanilla ice-cream melts in your mouth, the intertwining temperature of warm and cold charms you to take the next bite.
Lunch – Mon-Fri: 11:30am-2:30pm

Dinner – Mon-Thu: 5pm-10pm | Fri-Sat: 5pm-11pm
Parking: Street | Wi-Fi: Free
Prix-Fixe Price: $30
Reservations | Call (312) 421-2800

Contributors: Elenore, Eng, Cindy, Coco

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