Our picks for where to get a great meal without breaking the bank in the Windy City.
Chicago's restaurant scene is as international and cosmopolitan as the city itself, with no shortage of award-winning chefs and restaurants with coveted Michelin stars. But that doesn't mean a great meal out needs to be a formal or costly affair. Here are our favorite spots for dinners in town, just in time for Valentine's Day.
Southport & Irving
Southport & Irving (SIP) pays homage to cuisines that have influenced American cooking, a bit like how relationships come together and somehow work. This popular Lakeview restaurant is offering a $50 three-course prix fixe menu to share for Valentine's Day. Couples can start by choosing from oysters or beef tartare as an appetizer; roasted half chicken or whole tempura yellow tail as the entrée; and "Thai Iced Coffee" with chile-mint ice cream and coconut coffee chocolate, or flourless Mexican chocolate cake with beet-white chocolate ganach for dessert.
If you want to keep it low key and step up the romance , a $49 option includes a Camille Braun Cremant D'Alsace (bubbles) from France served with half dozen oysters and pomegranates.
Pizza isn't usually what comes to mind as a romantic dish, but it gets elevated when it's enjoyed under chandeliers dripping with crystals. Impress the date at Nellcote's, where Jared Van Camp crafts his Neapolitan-style pies using local heritage wheat from flour milled in this West Loop restaurant's basement—using a custom-made 9- x 11-foot stone mill. For Valentine's Day, couples can enjoy any of Nellcote's signature 10-inch pizzas and a beer of their choice for $10.
Arguably one of the best Argentinian restaurants in Chicago, Folklore in Wicker Park offers wooden features throughout and dim lighting accentuated with flickering tea lights at each table. The restaurant masterfully blends historical influences from the Mediterranean's Spanish and Italian cuisines, especially when it comes to preparing its signature dish: "asado," or grilled steaks. Merge both by sharing the asado de tira, short ribs cooked on the grill, at $20, and pair it with an order of ravioles (which can be filled with either meat or spinach) at $16. Or, just share the asado and splurge on two glasses of mojitos, which never disappoint, at $10 each.