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Celebrate Your Special Occasions at These 15 Top Chicago Restaurants

Chicagoans have long awaited the reopening of dining in. After braving a season of dining outdoors in winter, the city moves into full reopening this Friday — with restaurants back in full swing, this warrants a reason to celebrate. This list has you covered for all sorts of occasions; whether it’s an anniversary, graduation, birthday, or just a good time with friends, there’s something for everyone. These are the 15 best restaurants in Chicago for special occasions.

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OpenTable
14 Restaurants
Updated July 13, 2021
Restaurants:Boka, North Pond, Q Sushi Bar and Omakase
Price Range:$$$ - $$$$
Cuisines:Contemporary American, American, Sushi
Neighborhoods:Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square
A photo of Boka restaurant

Boka

$$$$
Contemporary American
Lincoln Park
4.8
5885 reviews
The contemporary American restaurant helmed by chef Lee Wolen has landed a spot on the Michelin-star list consecutively for 10 years. Not one to rest on its accolades, Boka keeps you on your toes with a dinner tasting menu that changes daily, alongside a seasonal à la carte selection driven by locally farmed ingredients. Notable menu mentions include the whole-roasted, dry-aged duck, and slow-cooked beef short ribs. Round off the night with the hazelnut whipped praline tonka bean dessert, and for drinks, sip on the “lost in time” made with Glenmorangie 10-year scotch, Cap Corse Blanc, génépy, and lemon thyme.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of North Pond restaurant

North Pond

$$$$
American
Lincoln Park
4.9
4010 reviews
Nestled among nature in Lincoln Park sits North Pond, a quaint restaurant showcasing Michelin-starred contemporary American in a five-course tasting menu. Dishes come with exciting and unusual embellishments, such as asparagus with uni hollandaise and yuzu gel or pork belly lechon (suckling pig) finished with a vanilla pork jus, mint gel, roasted fennel, and caramelized cheese purée. Don’t skip dessert; the chocolate joconde sponge is topped with bergamot mousse, black currant caramel, sorbet, and cocoa nibs. After dinner, a relaxing stroll around the eponymous lake is highly suggested.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Q Sushi Bar and Omakase restaurant

Q Sushi Bar and Omakase

$$$$
Sushi
Lincoln Square
4.9
159 reviews
Chefs Noppon “Oni” Aeton and Stephen Park prepare traditional Japanese omakase in 15-courses of premium nigiri and sashimi that they unveil one after another before your eyes. Savor pieces of melt-in-your-mouth chutoro, uni temaki, unagi, and scallops served in the shell. The intimate yet casual dining atmosphere has all the makings of a quiet celebratory dinner, minus the flashiness, but all the lavishness.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


Experiences available
View Experiences
A photo of Elske restaurant

Elske

$$$$
American
West Loop
4.8
611 reviews
Sophisticated Scandinavian is streamlined through Elske’s menu and interior, exuding Nordic simplicity and coziness with an outdoor fireplace and drop lights that make you feel like you’re dining in Copenhagen — where chefs David and Anna Posey were engaged. (Elske translates to “love,” a nod to David Posey’s Danish roots.) On the menu, you’ll find fine dining versions of æbleskiver, a sweet spherical dough snack typically served as street fare, paired with white fish and pickles. Anna Posey’s seasonal desserts include caramelized milk with rhubarb and frozen spiced cream. It all makes for an experience Michelin lauds as “culinary magic” along with a coveted star.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Cabra - Chicago restaurant

Cabra - Chicago

$$$$
Peruvian
West Loop
4.7
1897 reviews
Serving up rooftop classiness from The Hoxton Hotel in bustling Fulton Market, Cabra is a Peruvian-inspired cevicheria by Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard, paying homage to her travels through Peru. No matter when you come, you’ll step into an energetic rooftop party courtesy of a live DJ who keeps the beats spinning and the atmosphere lively. Dinner is centered around raw fish in the form of ceviche and tiradito, but there are also heartier dishes such as steak saltado (stir fry of steak and vegetables, served with rice) and arroz con pollo (fried chicken thigh with rice and creamy lime mint sauce). Weekend brunch sees similar offerings with the addition of asparagus white cheddar omelette and quinoa french toast.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Benihana - Chicago, IL restaurant

Benihana - Chicago, IL

$$$$
Japanese
Downtown / Loop
3.4
1761 reviews
This Japanese hibachi restaurant needs no introduction. Slices of teriyaki steak, chicken, and spicy shrimps are fired up in front of you on the hibachi grill in a performance that will have your whole group oohing-ahhing as the chefs juggle and spin the spatula while grilling meats to perfection. This memorable experience is the specialty as a hot spot for birthdays, celebrations, anniversaries, and more.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Ema restaurant

Ema

$$$$
Mediterranean
River North (Chicago)
4.7
3428 reviews
Stepping inside this airy River North restaurant will have you feeling like you’re dining somewhere off the coast of the Aegean Sea. The sunlight shines into a spacious dining room with plants lining the ceiling and rattan weaved pendant lights illuminating the tables. Dive into an endless spread of hummus, mezzes, and kebabs at Ēma, where there’s also an extensive gluten-free menu as well as several vegetarian-centric dishes that ensure your entire party has plenty of options. Ēma brings the Mediterranean to you in the heart of Chicago.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Broken English Taco Pub - Lake Street restaurant

Broken English Taco Pub - Lake Street

$$$$
Mexican
Downtown / Loop
4.4
507 reviews
A local favorite with three locations across the city, Broken English is the taco of the town. You’ll find people sipping on frozen margs, celebrating birthdays with 12-pack taco trays, and munching on chips dipped in chipotle queso — before taking Instagram shots against the vibrant multicolored walls decorated with cheeky neon slogans such as “tequila + me = lucky you” and “taco dirty to me.” Broken English has everything you need for your next casual fiesta.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of il Porcellino restaurant

il Porcellino

$$$$
Italian
River North (Chicago)
4.7
3146 reviews
il Porcellino is a neighborhood joint in the heart of River North specializing in homestyle Italian cuisine. This local spot is popular among couples for special occasions as the romantic setting mimics dining under a starry night with the ceiling dotted with glistening lights. When it comes to food, the garlic bread is like no other — a whole loaf of freshly baked ciabatta is generously brushed with garlic, parmesan cheese, and hot garlic butter poured upon serving. The baked burrata lasagna piled with prime-beef bolognese, burrata, fontina, and asiago cream, all on top of marinara sauce, is a favorite. Private parties can enjoy a prix fixe family-style or plated dinner with a selection of their best hits.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Shanghai Terrace restaurant

Shanghai Terrace

$$$$
Chinese
Gold Coast / Streeterville
4.8
1928 reviews
Taking you on a culinary journey across China, Shanghai Terrace is a high-end Chinese restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel. Dine on the terrace under burgundy umbrellas perched amid lush greenery with city views of the Willis Tower. Celebratory items include a whole peking duck with plum sauce, traditionally from Beijing, and the Hangzhou-style dong po pork belly braised in soy sauce, shaoxing wine, and rock sugar. There’s also a variety of dim sum from the Cantonese region to get a whole spread going. Quintessential to Chinese dining, dishes are meant for sharing family-style around a lazy susan for large gatherings.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


Takeout available
View Takeout Menu
A photo of Basant Modern Indian restaurant

Basant Modern Indian

$$$$
Indian
North Center
4.7
151 reviews
A newer addition to the Chicago restaurant scene, Basant is a modern Indian restaurant in the North Center. The elegant interior and dim lighting make it perfect for a date night dinner. Named after the festival of Basant — a traditional kite-flying occasion that marks the first day of spring — the restaurant offers a fresh take on dishes from the Indian subcontinent using local ingredients. Signature dishes include the salmon basant in coconut milk and spicy tomato sauce; lamb gustaba, a Kasmiri dish of meatballs in yogurt sauce; and fall-off-the-bone lamb shank nihari braised in spices. You’ll find influences from Northern India in the mushroom kulcha flatbread with truffle garlic butter, and the kahari simmered in onion and tomato sauce.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Maple & Ash restaurant

Maple & Ash

$$$$
Steakhouse
Gold Coast / Streeterville
4.8
3886 reviews
This upscale steakhouse in Gold Coast is the definition of luxury with seafood and steaks by chef Danny Grant, an award-winning chef with Michelin pedigree. Start off your night with the truly special fire-roasted seafood tower, piled high with king crab, scallops, blue prawns, oysters, clams, and lobster, finished with garlic butter and chile oil, which you can soak up with a serving of housemade pasta. Splurge on the osetra caviar at $220 per ounce, or let loose with the “I don’t give a f*@k,” Maple & Ash’s version of the chef’s selection of your entire meal for $200 per person. You might recognize the restaurant for its Instagram-famous menus that can be printed with your name for a special occasion, in its signature “Happy F*@king Birthday” font.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Parlor Pizza Bar - Wicker Park restaurant

Parlor Pizza Bar - Wicker Park

$$$$
American
Bucktown / Wicker Park
4.7
654 reviews
No celebratory list is complete without pizza on the menu. Although Chicago is overflowing with deep-dish pizza, Parlor is giving the hometown style a run for its money. The wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzeria isn’t messing around with pizza combinations in fun names such as the “I feel like bacon love” with leek béchamel, bacon bits, white cheddar, shaved potato, and scallions on a light fluffy crust, or the “honey boo boo” with caramelized onions, roasted garlic, fresh mozzarella, taleggio DOP cheese, parmesan, rosemary, and, of course, honey. Go wild on dessert with the “TACOlato” — sweet waffle shells filled with gelato, sprinkles, whipped cream, and a galore of other sweet toppings. The moral of this menu is that there is something for everyone at a pizza party.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Parachute restaurant

Parachute

$$$$
Korean
Avondale / Irving Park
4.6
1455 reviews
Korean-American cuisine takes center stage at this Michelin-starred Avondale restaurant run by husband-and-wife duo Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark. The experience is parallel to dining at a friend’s home, as the space is filled by a communal table that stretches across to the bar. However, that may change as the restaurant is currently undergoing renovations and the team is focusing on the reopening of sibling restaurant Wherewithall. When Parachute is back late summer 2021, snag dishes such as the iconic baked potato bing bread and dolsot bibimbap.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

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