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Celebrate your special occasions at these 12 top Chicago restaurants

The Windy City has endless options when it comes to transforming a regular Saturday night into an unforgettable evening. Though many celebrations in this Midwestern sports town are centered around home team victories, championships aren’t the only reasons to party.

Ring in a birthday at a cevicheria on a bustling West Loop rooftop. Toast a relationship milestone at a MICHELIN-starred, Korean American gem in Avondale. Or hit up a classy but secluded French bistro in Ravenswood, just because. These are the 12 best restaurants in Chicago for celebrating special occasions right now.

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Sarah Freeman
12 Restaurants
Updated September 15, 2022
Restaurants:Arami, Boka, BLVD Steakhouse
Price Range:$$$ - $$$$
Cuisines:Japanese, Contemporary American, Steakhouse
Neighborhoods:Bucktown / Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, West Loop
A photo of Arami restaurant

Arami

$$$$
Japanese
Bucktown / Wicker Park
4.7
898 reviews
A true hidden gem for omakase selection. Highly recommend.

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


Experiences available
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A photo of Boka restaurant

Boka

$$$$
Contemporary American
Lincoln Park
4.8
6142 reviews

The contemporary American restaurant, helmed by chef Lee Wolen, has earned 10 consecutive MICHELIN stars. Not one to rest on its accolades, Boka keeps you on your toes with a dinner tasting menu that changes daily, alongside a seasonal a 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 scotch, aperitif wine, génépy (an alpine liqueur), and lemon thyme.


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A photo of BLVD Steakhouse restaurant

BLVD Steakhouse

$$$$
Steakhouse
West Loop
4.4
2204 reviews

Perfect for bachelorette parties or popping the question, BLVD shimmers with Old Hollywood glam. The West Loop steakhouse features one of the city’s most extensive chandelier collections, with four hovering over the oversized rounded booths, a massive one spanning two stories above the bar, and some decking the Champagne room. There’s even more to celebrate with chef Joe Flamm, winner of Top Chef season 15 and owner of Rose Mary restaurant in the West Loop, recently coming on board as culinary director. Some of his new dishes have already joined the menu, such as halibut with fava cream, English peas, mint, and pickled ramps.


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
2131 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 (a stir fry of steak and vegetables, served with rice) and pollo a la brasa (whole chicken with grilled potato salad and aji verde sauce).


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A photo of Q Sushi Bar and Omakase restaurant

Q Sushi Bar and Omakase

$$$$
Sushi
Lincoln Square
4.9
184 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 elegance. Note that online reservations are only for the omakase experience.


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


Experiences available
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A photo of Elske restaurant

Elske

$$$$
American
West Loop
4.7
745 reviews

Sophisticated Scandinavian is streamlined through Elske’s menu and interior, exuding Nordic simplicity and coziness. The outdoor fireplace and drop lights 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 a la carte menu, you’ll find rhubarb-glazed smoked eel with snap peas, while the duck liver tart with salted ramp and toasted buckwheat is the star of the set menu. 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 Basant Modern Indian restaurant

Basant Modern Indian

$$$$
Indian
North Center
4.7
222 reviews

Traditional Indian flavors meet local ingredients at Basant, a modern Indian restaurant in North Center. The elegant interior and dim lighting make it ideal for a date night. Named after the Punjabi 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 spice-rubbed Amritsari fish and chips, served with mint chutney.


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
4.9
2009 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. To make it a whole spread, add dim sum to your order. Quintessential to Chinese dining, plates are meant for sharing family-style around a rotating tray for large gatherings.


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Takeout available
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A photo of Broken English Taco Pub - Lake Street restaurant

Broken English Taco Pub - Lake Street

$$$$
Mexican
Downtown / Loop
4.6
546 reviews

A local favorite with three locations across the city, Broken English is known for its mural-filled interiors—and plenty of mezcal. You’ll find people sipping on frozen margs, celebrating birthdays with 12-pack taco trays, and munching on chips dipped in chipotle queso. They’re also here for snapping social media photos against the multicolored walls, decorated with cheeky neon slogans such as “tequila + me = lucky you” and “taco dirty to me.” Broken English also offers a rentable taco truck for private fiestas.


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)
4.8
3675 reviews

Stepping inside this airy River North restaurant feels like you’re dining 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. 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 il Porcellino restaurant

il Porcellino

$$$$
Italian
River North (Chicago)
4.7
3364 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 because the romantic setting mimics dining under a starry night with glistening lights dotting the ceilings. 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 il Porcellino’s greatest 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 Parachute restaurant

Parachute

$$$$
Korean
Avondale / Irving Park
4.7
1521 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. Parachute reopened earlier this year after undergoing renovations to both the space and the menu. If you haven’t been back since the grand reopening, expect a more focused approach to Korean cooking—haemul pajeon (seafood pancakes) and yukgaejang (spicy beef brisket soup)—served with the same attention to hospitality.


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