photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Obelix review image



700 N Sedgwick St, Chicago
Earn 3X Points

It’s upscale and casual. It’s French and not French. Like Jekyll and Hyde (minus the serum, homicidal rage, and examination of human nature) Obelix is a restaurant of contradictions—but that's exactly what makes this River North spot so exciting.

As soon as you step inside Obelix you're surrounded by an open dining room that's full of commotion. Couples are clinking wine glasses as they celebrate their anniversary. Six friends at a corner table are performing tortilla surgery in order to split a foie-gras taco. A solo diner is having a conversation with the bartender over a plate of dry-aged duck breast. Whatever the situation, the formal-but-not-stuffy atmosphere paired with a unique menu and great food means you’ll have a damn good time.

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Obelix review image

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

At its core, the food at Obelix is definitely French, which isn’t surprising considering this spot comes from the same team behind Bucktown staple, Le Bouchon. The menu is full of words like confit, au poivre, and flambé. And when you look around the dining room you'll see dishes like juicy poulet roti and cups of soupe á l'oignion gratiné resting on top of pristine white tablecloths. And that bold, cheesy onion soup will comfort you all year long—even when your weather app doesn't cause you to say "Well, f*ck."

While the excellent French staples may inspire you to impulsively book a Parisian getaway (triggering a fraud alert for your bank), you should also order one of their creative French-ish dishes. Like the gimmicky-sounding "foie-co" (a foie gras taco with salsa macha and cherry jam) that initially made us skeptical. But its combination of salty, spicy, tart, nutty, sweet, and funky flavors led to delighted eyebrow raises, and another order. There’s a smattering of Asian-inspired dishes, too, like soft shell crab glazed in sweet Singapore chili sauce, or steak tartare with crisp banh mi pickles and umami shio kombu—unexpected ingredient-cameos for a French menu, but delicious appetizers that should be on the table.

Obelix review image

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Similar to the food, the experience of dining at Obelix isn’t exactly what you'd expect from a white-tablecloth French spot in downtown Chicago. Through the windows, it just looks like your typical upscale restaurant. There’s an attentive staff dressed in matching white jackets ensuring that any crumbs on the table are whisked away, and whenever people leave their seats, they return to find their napkin folded with origami-like precision.

But inside it’s relaxed and unpretentious. The bustling space has an upbeat hip-hop soundtrack, and friendly servers and bartenders having casual chats with diners about TED talk rabbit holes—ours was one about simplifying your life by wearing your favorite outfit every day. And whether that outfit is a suit and tie or just jeans and a t-shirt, at Obelix it doesn’t really matter. Obelix expertly walks the casual-formal tightrope, and we’ve never been happier to be able to eat a fantastic piece of duck along to some Anderson .Paak.

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Food Rundown

Obelix review image

Soupe À L'Oignion Gratiné

Housed within the walls of a ceramic cup and a thick cheesy roof is a full-flavored broth loaded with spongy croutons, tender onion pieces, and more cheese. This is rich, beefy, and a fantastic starter.

Steak Tartare

Buttery filet mignon gets added tang from a garlic aioli, brightness from banh mi pickles, and an umami crunch from bits of shio kombu. It's a great dish to share because it comes with plenty of toasty pieces of bread—the perfect vehicles for the tartare.

Obelix review image

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Soft-Shell Crab

Full of juicy crab meat and fried in an airy, crispy batter, we’d love to see this at a state fair right next to the fried oreos and funnel cake. It’s topped with sweet and spicy Singapore chili glaze, and served on a bed of tangy and slightly briny tapenade aioli.

Obelix review image

photo credit: Kim Kovacik


A chunky piece of seared foie gras, cherry jam, and salsa macha are all layered on top of a soft, chewy housemade corn tortilla. Nutty, sweet, spicy, fruity, salty, and with just the right amount of funk. It's a great appetizer for two people to share.

Obelix review image

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Dry-Aged Duck Breast

This is a must-order. The duck breast is dry-aged for 10 days, and both the meat and the crispy, salty skin has a deep savoriness. The duck meat is perfectly complemented by a vadouvan gastrique and juicy gooseberries that provide little tangy bursts that make the whole dish pop.

Obelix review image

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Lamb Shank

This rich piece of lamb gets extra flavor from a zesty mix of Moroccan spices. The fattiness is balanced out by a full support team of slightly lemony olives, sweet raisins, and a bed of lentils. Toss in some of the harissa and yogurt on the side and each bite is a delicious, complex wave of flavor. It also comes with light, chewy flatbread that's the perfect for soaking up all the delicious meat juices. Get this too.

Pistachio Soufflé With Honey Ice Cream

While this soufflé is no longer on the menu, we’re hoping that writing about it will manifest it back. It has a fluffy, cloudlike texture, and when eaten with the milky honey ice cream creates a spoonful that’s nutty and sweet—but not overbearing like you just ate a whole family sized bag of Snickers.

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