2014 Chicago Restaurant Week Round-Up

February 9, 2014

My favorite week of the year was actually two weeks this year. Chicago Restaurant Week is a fantastic opportunity to check out what some of the best Chicago restaurants have to offer. Every year I make a few reservations at restaurants that I've yet to try and this year was no different. I stopped by Trenchermen in Wicker Park for dinner, Le Colonial in the Gold Coast for lunch, Tanta in River North for dinner and Cantina Laredo in River North for Lunch. There were definitely some highs and lows of my experiences this year but regardless, I was able to try several new restaurants that I might not normally go to. Check out some photos and ratings of my Restaurant Week dining adventures and let me know what restaurants you went to during 2014 Chicago Restaurant Week!


The BF and I trekked to Trenchermen on a Thursday evening. The options for the four-course $44 dinner menu were plentiful, but also included items that are not from the regular menu. It was clear that items such as the buttered cavatelli with broccoli were meant to fill out the Restaurant Week menu. Out of my four dishes, there were only two I enjoyed. The octopus was in need of salt and my short rib entree was so fatty, I was unable to eat it. On the plus side, the kale salad I had, the sweet potato, and the deconstructed s'mores dessert helped make up for it. Service and drinks were great too. Would I go back? Maybe.

Sweet Potato with Miso Cream, Sesame, Honey Vinegar
Octopus with Posole Broth, Masa, Marrow Beans, Crispy Corn
Cavatelli with Broccoli, Bourgogne Butter, Gruyere, Herbs
Kale Salad with Avocado and Sunflower Seeds
Beef Short Ribs with Salsify, Chicories, Green Goddess Dressing
Carrot Cake with Candied Carrots, Dates, Toasted Coconut, Chai Ice Cream
S'mores with Dark Chocolate, Popcorn Ice Cream, House Graham Cracker, Smoked Mallow

2039 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
Trenchermen on Urbanspoon
Le Colonial

Upsale French-Vietnamese restaurant Le Colonial proved to be a fantastic spot for a classy lunch. My friend Sharon and I dined on a Saturday afternoon along with many others in the crowded dining room. Everything we had on the three course $22 menu was extremely flavorful. The main course of thinly-sliced pork on top of angel hair noodles was tasty, but it was the crispy banana wonton that made us want to lick our plates clean.

Goi Cuon: Soft Salad Rolls of Shrimp, Vermicelli, Lettuce, Bean Sprouts & Herbs
Banh Cuon: Steamed Vietnamese Ravioli of Chicken & Mushrooms with Chili Lime Garlic Sauce
Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio: Thinly-Sliced BBQ Pork Served Over Angel Hair Noodles with Mesclun Greens, Line-Garlic Fish Sauce & Peanuts
Crispy Banana Wonton

Le Colonial
937 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611
Le Colonial on Urbanspoon


Tanta was undoubtedly my favorite Restaurant Week meal this year, as well as the meal I was most looking forward to. My friend Jonathan joined me on a Monday night for dinner. I felt like it was a little victory to get a reservation in the first place! Tanta recently launched a new cocktail menu so I was excited to try some of the new offerings. I recently fell in love with Peruvian cuisine when the BF and I made a Peruvian meal at The Chopping Block and after my meal at Tanta, I fell even more in love. The cebiche was spicy and fresh, my cod entree was extremely flavorful and colorful and the passion fruit cheesecake dessert packed a tart punch. This was one of the best meals I've had in awhile and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in exploring Peruvian cuisine!

Ingredients for a Pisco Sour
Cebiche with Shrimp, Calamari, Catch of the Day
El Chingon
El Piscolero
Arroz Criollo: Wok-Sauteed Peruvian Rice with Calamari, Shrimp, Octopus, Aji Amarillo, White Wine & Avocado 
Pescado a lo Macho: Grilled Cod & Seafood Bouillabaisse Over Green Pepian Puree & Aji Panca Sauce
El Choclo Loco & La Rusa
Passionfruit Cheesecake

118 W. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60654
Tanta on Urbanspoon

Cantina Laredo

My last Restaurant Week meal was a lunch with a few coworkers at River North's Cantina Laredo. I had walked past the Mexican chain quite a few times, but never stopped in until last week. The three course $22 menu featured smaller portions of items off their regular menu. I started with chicken empanadas which were quite greasy, unfortunately. For my entree, I ordered the fish special which was grilled mahi-mahi topped with a red pepper sauce and served with rice and asparagus. I appreciated the healthy size of the fish, but it was severely lacking in flavor. The best part of the three-course lunch was dessert. The mango tres leches cake was super moist and creamy and I loved the fresh mango flavor. The ambience inside Cantina Laredo is quite nice, especially on a snowy day like the one on which we attended, but I'm not likely to return, unless it's for a cocktail and some guac.

Chicken Empanadas
Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Rice & Grilled Asparagus
Mango Tres Leches Cake

Cantina Laredo
508 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60654
Cantina Laredo on Urbanspoon

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