Contains paid advertising content.
The journey never stops, people. And part of that journey is celebrating all of life’s big moments - from graduations to anniversaries to promotions. The key to a great celebration? Awesome #EEEEEATS, and the perfect restaurant for whatever life event you’re celebrating. We’re no strangers to that quest for quality - this website was started to help people find the ideal restaurant for their particular occasion.
That's why we teamed up with American Express on this Guide To The Best Restaurants for Celebrations In Chicago. We picked places we think are especially perfect for all those important celebrations in life that you want to do just right. Another way to do those times right? By using the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express – it’s the card to use if you eat out anywhere near as much as we do. With over 3,700 restaurants in Chicago added to the American Express network in the last two years,* there are so many places where you can swipe Gold . Follow this list, use that card, and you’ll be golden.
Here’s to your celebration, and look out for our Celebrations Guides for our other cities.
If you’re into supporting locally-owned small businesses as much as you’re into awesome eats, look for the restaurants on our list marked with this blue circle 🔵, part of the American Express Shop Small initiative.
The post contains paid advertising content from the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. Card Members now get more rewards like 2X Membership Rewards points at U.S. restaurants and a $100 airline fee credit on one airline for incidental charges like in-flight food and drink. Learn more here. This list was selected by The Infatuation.
Anniversaries are all about celebrating each other - which means you should go to a restaurant where you can actually hear yourselves talk, like Ruxbin. They have an excellent tasting menu that is only rivaled in creativity by the space itself, which is basically one big art project. Ruxbin is also BYOB, so bring a special bottle of wine and take note of the fact one of you is probably sitting on a bench made of car seat belts.
🔵 Take the elevator up to the dining room in this Gold Coast steakhouse and find yourself in a room full of velvet chairs, candlesticks, and a wood-paneled ceiling. Maple & Ash is a pretty glamorous steakhouse that offers all the traditional favorites, but it’s not stale. In fact, it's the ideal balance of romance and fun that's perfect for celebrating your anniversary. Consider ordering the "I DON'T GIVE A F*@K" chef's choice menu for this special occasion - their name for it, not ours.
🔵 You got promoted, which means you deserve to eat and drink like a queen or king. The place to do it? The Publican. The high ceilings and U-shaped setup of communal tables make it feel like a 21st-century version of a Medieval dining hall, and the feast of food only emphasizes that vibe. Get everything from oysters, to country ham, to delicate hamachi crudo. The Publican is always fun and makes for a great night out.
🔵 The proper way to celebrate a promotion is to gather the crew and immediately get to eating and drinking. And Bar Siena's big, open space is a great place to do it. Bar Siena is trendy, but also casual thanks to a mostly pizza and pasta menu that everybody will like. It's also reasonably priced, so drinks on you at the next bar.
The challenge: finding a restaurant that’s big enough for your extended family and can feed everyone all at once. Aunt Becky is a vegetarian, your little niece only likes chicken fingers and pizza, and your parents don't want to spend a fortune to feed everyone. Davanti Enoteca in River North will solve all of your problems. There’s plenty of space, the pastas and pizzas are great, and there are enough salads, small plates, and entrees to round out a complete meal.
Mom and Dad don’t want to keep paying for your accomplishments forever, so take advantage of their generosity while you can. There’s no better place to do it than Joe’s, a classic spot where you can get the best kind of surf and turf out there: steak and stone crab. Of course, no celebration is complete without dessert, and the giant cakes and pies at Joe’s are the perfect way to cap things off.
🔵 The ideal birthday spot has lots of space, good music, solid food, reasonable prices, and a fun scene. 90 Miles Cuban Cafe has you covered on all accounts. You can come with 20 people, the Cuban food is delicious, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it’s BYOB. The homemade sangria and mojito mixes 90 Miles offers will keep the fun going all night, so make sure you're well-equipped with alcohol.
You deserve a special meal on your special day - you deserve Duck Duck Goat. The high-end Chinese restaurant is fun, unique, and serves awesome food and drinks. Try the blueberry wonton soup, the bao, and the cheong fun xo, which we’ll just say involves noodles and you should get two orders. The only issue is getting a reservation at a good time, so plan ahead. Your birthday should be the one thing in life you can commit to every year.
Meeting the parents
Meeting the parents can be tricky - you want them to think you're interesting, but you also want to play it safe. What you need in order to make a good impression is Gibsons. This classic Chicago steakhouse is iconic. It’s nice, yet unpretentious, and everybody will be happy. Well, happy about the food at least. We can’t promise his or her parents are going to like you.
🔵 You know how you get your new significant others’ parents to like you? By taking them out for an excellent meal. Even if they don’t like your career choice or hairstyle, they’re going to like the food and atmosphere at The Duck Inn. You'll be able to hear each other talk, but it's also an interesting spot in Bridgeport so Mom and Dad will feel cool for the night. A true win for everybody involved.
Nothing says a bunch of men getting together before losing their buddy to marriage like a great steakhouse. If that’s the situation, Swift & Sons is the steakhouse you need. It has all the traditional steaks and sides, but it's also a fun environment in an old Fulton Market meatpacking warehouse. Good luck out there after dinner.
🔵 A fancy steakhouse dinner is fun and all, but it could also weigh you down for the night. If you want to avoid the meat sweats, make plans at Forbidden Root instead. Think of this as a fancy brewery - they make their own delicious beers, but it's also cool enough for one last night with the guys. We suggest sharing a bunch of small plates to start before a round of burgers for everyone. And you might as well try all of the homemade beers available that particular day.
You're gathering your crew for the most important girls night out of all, which means you want to get dressed up and have a great time. Hit up Sunda. The Asian fusion restaurant is always a party, but it also has great food. You can dabble in sushi and other small bites to keep things light before you hit the town.
🔵 Maybe you wanted to travel somewhere exotic for the bachelorette but it unfortunately wasn't in the cards. Do the next best thing and grab a Peruvian dinner at Tanta. Their ceviches and cocktails will make you feel like you're on vacation, and if it's nice outside, their rooftop is just as fun as being at the beach.
going away dinner
You’re leaving Chicago, and we know what you’re going to miss the most - the Au Cheval burger. The waits are always bad, but who cares, this is your last chance. Head next door to Lone Wolf for drinks while you wait and try not to shed a tear over the beauty that awaits you. Savor every moment with the last bacon double-cheeseburger before you depart.
🔵 The planning that goes into moving can be daunting, so don't worry about scheduling an exact time for a going away dinner. Hit up Avec whenever you want for two reasons. One - they don't take reservations anyway, so any time is a good time to go. Two - it continues to be one of the best and most enjoyable restaurants in the city. All of the bacon-wrapped, chorizo-stuffed dates are the proper way to say goodbye to the city.
*Based on internal comparison of American Express restaurant locations in Chicago in December 2013 vs. American Express restaurant locations in Chicago in December 2015.