Fine dining restaurants allow guests to witness the transcendence of traditional ingredients, just as toddler tea parties allow guests to witness the squandering of cookies on stuffed animals. Prevail over plush toys with today's Groupon to O'Neil's in Winnetka. Choose from the following options:
- For $15, you get $30 worth of Italian-inspired fare for dinner Sunday through Thursday.
- For $15, you get $30 worth of Italian-inspired fare for dinner Friday or Saturday.
- For $7, you get $15 worth of Italian-inspired fare for lunch.
Italian-inspired fine dining prevails at O'Neil's, where servers sling eclectic lunch and dinner dishes that incorporate house-made recipes and ocean-fresh seafood. Sun-dried tomatoes and gooey gobs of goat cheese perch atop slices of oven-crisped pesto flatbread ($10), which swan-dive into the cioppino's tomato broth, fresh fish, mussels, shrimp, and crab legs ($23). Five authentic pastas ($15) offer tongues ample opportunity to unspool noodle knots, and cilantro-studded skirt steak offers diners a chance to use their neglected second rows of teeth.
Alternatively, lunch crowds can nuzzle one of seven handheld eats, including an herbivore-friendly grilled-veggie sandwich ensconcing bell peppers, portobello mushrooms, and goat cheese between halves of toasted french bread ($9.95). Fresh Atlantic salmon leaps from sizzling grills onto tender beds of linguine drenched in marinara ($12.95), and six gourmet salads ($8.95+) ensure that guests won't need to slash machetes across area greenhouses in the hunt for flavorful flora.
Southern-style sides such as collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato fries flank Little Ricky's entrees of signature baby back ribs and overstuffed sandwiches. Bartenders nimbly find their way around a vast array of top-shelf liquors to mix drinks such as the North Shore Iced Tea, Ricky's Manhattan, and locally produced North Shore tapwater, but won't turn up their noses at a request to crack one of about 40 bottled beers in stock. With full-wall windows facing a low-lit room done up in black and crimson, Little Ricky's interior combines the professional polish of a national chain with the easygoing local charm of the neighborhood hangout its founders intended it to be.