For better or worse, you made it downtown for the parade, and now you have the rest of St. Patrick’s Day in front of you. Before starting in on the green beer, you should eat something. Here are some great options nearby.
You need to know about The Dearborn, an easy-to-like spot with a long American menu that works for a lot of occasions. It’s nice enough for a business dinner, but still casual enough for a post-parade lunch in your finest green t-shirt. Plus, the space is huge, with multiple rooms that work for large groups or couples. Order the pork belly appetizer and any of the salads, then make sure someone gets a cheeseburger—it’s really good.
The Gage is our top choice in the Loop for bar food. The menu is full of elevated classics, like bison tartare, poutine, and entrees like fish and chips. Since this spot is right across from Millenium Park, you can also plan on it being full of tourists. But at least they’re the cool kind of tourists who know where to go for a good meal.
For a break from the crowded Chicago streets, go to Cindy’s. It’s on Michigan Ave on top of the Chicago Athletic Association, and has beautiful views overlooking Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. It’s particularly good for groups, with a lot of dishes designed to be shared among three or four people. You’ll probably have to wait for the elevator, but if you could handle the parade, you'll be fine.
Cafecito has one of our favorite sandwiches in the city, and this casual spot is convenient for a quick meal after the parade. Order a Cubano—it’s the best thing here, which is saying something since their other sandwiches, like the ropa vieja, are also very good. Get a cafe con leche too. Cafecito has a few other locations in the city, but the one in the Loop is the best since it’s probably the one within walking distance of your office.
Hear us out on this one. Althea is an upscale vegan restaurant on the seventh floor of Saks Fifth Avenue downtown. While that might not sound like an obvious destination for St. Patrick's Day weekend , it probably won't be filled with people throwing up green beer, and the space has a fantastic view of Michigan Avenue. So as long as you’re not sitting in the front of the restaurant, you’ll forget that you’re only about 50 feet away from a display of John Varvatos sweaters. Start with a tasty vegan cheese plate, then follow it up with dishes like a spicy kung pao cauliflower with quinoa, and a rich “cacio e pepe” made with kelp noodles and cashew cheese sauce.
Fisk & Co is in the Hotel Monaco, which we thought sounded made-up, but it very much exists. The specialty here is mussels, and you can get them served in a variety of different broths (like white wine or green curry). The rest of the menu is seafood-focused as well, with oysters and entrees like lobster rolls or roasted salmon.
Good Funk is right on the river and owned by the same people as Beatnik in West Town. And much like Beatnik, this place puts a lot of effort into its atmosphere. It’s meant to feel like a lively European cafe (so it can get a little loud), and it has an eclectic menu, with dishes like beet hummus, crab brandade, and curried meatballs. It's small, opens at 3pm, and doesn't take reservations, but give it a shot.