Bonjour Restaurant Week! Technically it's two weeks but who is counting? From January 27 - February 9th you have the opportunity to try some of the best restaurants in Chicago. Brunch/Lunch is $22 and Dinner can range from $33 or $44 depending on the restaurant. *note this does not include tip or drinks.
I have lived in Chicago off and on for 10 years and over the years I have come to have a few favorites and I am always up for trying new restaurants especially if they are French. Below is my roundup of my top 5 picks of French Restaurant Week.
1. The Blanchard - I recently got a sneak peek at the restaurant week menu and this is somewhere I haven't tried yet. I did get a little taste at the Restaurant week menu and a tour. My friend Leyla and I have reservations here so we are really looking forward to trying the whole menu. It's close to where I live and I love the neighborhood. In the Summer months put this on your list for outdoor dining too. They have beautiful lights draped in the trees you can sit underneath. Can you tell I am ready for warmer weather?
If you arrive early you can hang out in the bar area. You can even speak french with the bartender who spent several years in Paris. I had a glass of Sancerre and was able to taste the escargot. The bread is sourced from my friends at La Fournette and is the perfect balance when dipping into the garlic sauce. Don't worry the escargot is already removed from the shell so there will be no Pretty Woman slip ups here ;)
For the whole restaurant week menu, you can find it here
2. Cochon Volant - Located in the Loop this is what Chicago has been waiting for in terms of Restaurants and Locations. There is a busy lunchtime crowd and the service is good and fast so you don't have to worry about not making it back into the office in time for your next meeting. For those of you headed to Hamilton, this is a great dinner option as it is just a few blocks away. Even in the cold Chicago winter, it's an easy walk. The Restaurant week menu is for dinner and is priced at $44
A few highlights from the menu include the French Onion Soup which I am a fan of. There was just the right amount of cheese. I also tasted the caesar salad which was topped with potato chips instead of croutons and their own bread made in-house.
You have the choice between two desserts classic crème brûleé or chocolate mousse which had a smores twist to it and yes in case you are wondering that isn't cream on top it's marshmallow.
3. Bistro Zinc - Located not too far from me I have always passed by and never tried it until recently with Leyla and Jennifer We stopped for Brunch a few weeks ago and it didn't disappoint. I love the bright colored interior and it had me homesick for Paris. Restaurant week is the perfect opportunity to come in and try their dinner menu. It is priced at $33 and has a lot of options. I have my eye on the French onion soup and Steak Frites. Does anyone want to join me?
4. Mon Ami Gabi - This used to be a few blocks from my old apartment in Lincoln Park and it holds great memories for me. I already tried booking for this Saturday for a friend's birthday and they were full so jump on this one if you want to check it out. Their steak frîtes are my go to order and there is enough to take home. They have a brunch option for $22 and a dinner option for $44. In the Summer they have an outdoor patio. For the full menu, you can view them here
5. Chez Moi - Also in the Lincoln Park Neighborhood. I recently popped in here on a freezing cold Chicago night with my friend Caroline. It was a last minute decision as we were in the neighborhood for drinks and we were looking for a dinner spot. The place was packed but we were lucky to grab a table. Chef Dominique sat down with us at the end of the meal which was a really nice treat to get to know him more. We just had drinks, french onion soup, and dessert but I can't wait to go back to try the roasted duck. This is not on the restaurant week menu but they did have a soup flight which my friend Caroline ordered and all three were fabulous. You can try their chestnut soup on the restaurant week menu. Note they also source their bread from La Fournette which is their miche loaf in case you wanted to purchase it directly from La Fournette. I would say it tastes the most like Polaîne bread and so good especially when it's warm and fresh. They also have a cute patio area off of Halsted during the warmer months.
Just a note there are 17 French Restaurant participating in Restaraunt Week and these are just my 5 top picks. These are all I have dined at and give my personal opinion. You can view the full list with menus on the very helpful Choose Chicago website. Although Restaurant Week is 2 weeks long reservations fill up fast! If you have your eye on a place book it now before your chance goes away. Reservations are available for all of these French Picks on Open Table
A special thank you to The Blanchard and Cochon Volant for inviting me to taste their menus. Al opinions are my own.