Where to Eat Out During the Holidays: Chicago
At this minimalist restaurant, chef Paul Kahan (an F&W Best New Chef 1999) and chef de cuisine Mike Sheerin use local ingredients to cook their sophisticated French-Midwestern dishes, like braised rack of lamb with pickled feta and lovage.
Open Christmas Eve.
This restaurant at the Park Hyatt Chicago, where chef Christophe David serves contemporary French dishes, provides stunning views of Water Tower Place and Michigan Avenue's Christmas-light displays. The Christmas Day offerings include a traditional buffet with roasted chestnut soup and steamed snow-crab claws, as well as a prime rib station ($125).
Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
At this warm, soulful space on Chicago’s Gold Coast, Art Smith (Oprah Winfrey’s former personal chef) serves a comfort-food menu with dishes like superbly crispy buttermilk fried chicken and thin-crust pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven.
In a cozy two-story town house in hip Bucktown, Takashi Yagihashi (an F&W Best New Chef 2000) turns out excellent American-French dishes with Japanese accents, like a divinely crispy fried chicken that’s marinated in soy sauce, ginger and garlic, then deep-fried in duck fat. The best table for large groups is number 24, tucked into a candlelit corner and reserved for parties of five or more on busy nights.