February 17-26, 2012

Anyone who knows Chicago already knows it’s a major player on the culinary scene. With its unsurpassed quality, variety, and reputation for toothsome cuisine, Chicago is a foodie paradise. And Chicago Restaurant Week is a foodie’s apotheosis.

Created in 2008 to boost restaurant business during a slow time of year, Chicago Restaurant Week was so successful it became an annual event. Now in its fifth year, it has earned the status of a gastronomic Super Bowl. Fare created by some of the city’s—and the world’s—best chefs will be offered at over 200 restaurants, with affordable 3-course prix-fixe meals. Get a taste of Chicago fine dining without breaking the bank.

United Airlines and Stephanie Izard (Top Chef winner and chef/co-owner of Girl & the Goat) will host the Official Kick-Off Event—First Bites Bash—on Thursday, February 2, 2012 6-9 p.m. inside the magnificent Great Hall of Chicago Union Station. Enjoy savory and sweet tastings from over 50 of Chicago’s best chefs and restaurants.

Choosing from 130 excellent restaurants may be daunting, but you’ll doubtless eat superbly wherever you land. Headliners on the docket include,

PERENNIAL VIRANT (1800 N. Lincoln Avenue), awarded three stars by the Chicago Tribune. Executive Chef Paul Virant, one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs: 2007, creates dishes fusing foreign techniques with local domestic products.

BOKA (1729 N. Halsted Street), “the hottest ticket in town,” boasts a star from the Michelin Dining Guide, and three stars awarded by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine. The menu for 2012 features such mains as an herb-crusted whitefish with black truffle, and desserts like a chocolate praline terrine, topped with hazelnut ice cream, coffee foam and candied hazelnuts.

SABLE KITCHEN & BAR (505 N. State Street). Adjacent to the chic Hotel Palomar Chicago, this American gastro lounge offers an eclectic, jazzy menu of good eats. The lounge rivals the kitchen with a complex cocktail program.

You can’t eat in Chicago without trying some meat.

CHICAGO Q (1160 N. Dearborn Street) offers southern home cooking with artisanal house-made rubs and modern ambiance. Try the BBQ flight—Kobe brisket, pulled pork and pulled chicken—for an appetizer. Add a slab of ribs, peach cobbler for dessert, and loosen your belt a notch.

Menus and details at

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