This is a year of historic change -- why not be a maverick and start a new holiday tradition to go out for your Christmas feast? Restaurants across the city and suburbs are creating lavish repasts just for you -- you've always been the trailblazer in the family. In fact, there are so many diverse options to choose from, this is the first in a series of roundups. We'll cover the downtown area here, with the rest of the city and the suburbs to follow. Stay tuned, make your reservations and set up an Evite to get the word out.
Experience an annual Italian Christmas Eve custom at River North's A Mano, where chef John Caputo will be serving the second annual Feast of the Seven Fishes. The five-course seafood spread can be paired with wines chosen by wine director Brian Duncan. 5-9PM, $65 per person, with an additional $33 for wine pairings.
Celebrate a casual Christmas at La Madia, a gourmet pizza spot and wine bar in River North. The restaurant will be open on Christmas Eve from 11:15AM-10PM.
Spend Christmas at one of Chicago's most historic properties -- the Palmer House Hilton, where a special holiday buffet and tea will be served at the hotel's restaurant, Lockwood. The restaurant will offer its regular menu on Christmas Eve. Then, on Christmas Day, chef Phillip Foss has created seasonal and traditional favorites for an extravagant buffet, which will be served from 11AM-4PM ($65 per person, $50 for seniors over 65, $25 children 12 and under). A prix-fixe menu ($38 per person) will also be offered on Christmas Day from 4PM to close. Or pop in for a festive holiday tea, served daily until Jan. 4 from 2-4PM ($25-$45).
To give your holiday season a Latin accent, dine at River West hotspot Carnivale, which will be open for lunch (11:30AM-2:30PM) and dinner (5-10PM) on Christmas Eve.
Dine amidst the twinkling lights of Michigan Avenue at the Hotel InterContinental's Zest restaurant. A special five-course menu created by chef Hans Lentz will feature contemporary American dishes on both Christmas Eve and Day from 5-10PM. $65 per person ($90 with wine pairings), $23 for kids.
At the elegant Il Mulino, located within a historic mansion in the Gold Coast, you'll feel like you're dining in someone's home (just not yours -- bonus!). Through the end of December, this Italian dining destination is offering a special game-focused menu (think wild game hen, braised rabbit and venison tenderloin). On Christmas Eve, Il Mulino will also offer a special monk fish entree with spicy vodka sauce and is open for lunch from 11:30AM-2:30PM and for dinner from 5-10PM. The restaurant will also be open on Christmas Day.