When Paola Perez came to America from her native Spain, she brought with her a wealth of wine knowledge and exuberance for the elixir to share with her new neighbors. At her West Loop wine bar, Paola's Vinum, she demonstrates this knowledge by importing a "carefully edited" selection of Spanish wines, according to Metromix. Her Spanish reds and whites are accompanied by two similarly hued housemade sangrias, as well as local craft brews and a handful of inventive cocktails. Pours from garnacha to cava complement traditional Spanish fare, such as omelets, charcuterie plates, and on Thursdays, paella. Warm lights and rose colored walls offset dark wooden tables, which are spacious enough to support several tapas plates and different glasses of wine. Throughout the year, the room’s regular chatter erupts as visitors attend wine and beer tastings on select days.
Tucked inside the Chicago Mercantile Exchange just down the block from the historic Lyric Opera, Rivers Restaurant tempts theatergoers, after-work revelers, and appreciators of fine seafood alike. On the menu, which changes seasonally, seafood caught fresh daily takes a starring role, whether it’s sea scallops paired with asiago cheese, Lake Superior whitefish with smoked bacon, or Chilean sea bass with tiger shrimp. An extensive wine and craft beer list and selection of house-infused vodkas complement meals, and a spacious deck overlooking the river encourages al fresco dining.
Behind the waterfront restaurant's brushed-metal façade, a tempting bill of fare enraptures taste buds with gourmet burgers and wraps, fresh seafood, and shareable appetizers. During warm months, diners lounge upon the open-air patio, gazing across the stone-clad banks of the Chicago River while canvassing passing seagulls for fish recommendations. Inside, a warmly lit spread of sleek polished woods, slate walls, and cityscape vistas frames meals with an elegant, cosmopolitan touch. An impressive beer and cocktail list accompanies mouthwatering finger foods or main plates of pasta, while burgers satisfy appetites and consciences with sustainable and hormone-free beef from Niman Ranch.
Over the past four decades, Starbucks has bloomed from a single coffee shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market to more than 17,000 stores responsible for caffeinating 55 countries. The company’s smiling, green-aproned baristas have become the mascots of many people’s morning routine, pouring cups of dark, medium, and blonde roast for coffee purists and adding shots of caramel or white chocolate to more elaborate espresso creations and treats such as a Frappuccino blended beverage.
Concerned with more than flavour, Starbucks strives to fill its menu with responsibly sourced coffee, cocoa, and tea that protect the farmers and bioregions they come from. These efforts have earned the company a spot on Ethisphere's 2013 list of the world's most ethical companies.
Rittergut Wine Bar Restaurant & Social Club crafts the perfect wine, seafood, and steak experience, with seating that overlooks the Chicago River. Wine by the glass and bottle from the vineyards of Spain, Austria, France, and Italy complements charcuterie and imported cheese plates stocked with wild boar salami or herb-laden garrotxa goat cheese, much like the contents of an enophile's personal bomb shelter. The tasting bar and private wine rooms set the stage for uninterrupted swilling, while dining rooms bathed in amber light host feasts of lamb burgers seasoned with Moroccan spices. Arched ceilings draw the eye downward to exposed brick walls and hardwood floors indoors, and a riverside patio with dark wicker booths and wooden tables perch patrons over ebbing crests and bottled messages that implore you to try the salmon.
Michael Morton, son of Chicago steakhouse legend Arnie Morton, is the driving force behind N9NE Steakhouse, a restaurant serving up traditional prime-aged beef and seafood worthy of a Michelin recommendation. New York–style sirloins and bone-in filets share menu space with organic irish salmon and the impressive crustacea platter—a mélange of crab legs, lobster, shrimp, and a trio of bivalves atop mounds of shaved ice. The bar menu, on the other hand, offers more casual nibbles, such as pairs of mini burgers, tacos, and pulled pork sliders for $10 a pop. N9NE's Chicago location shares some of its Vegas-style swank with its sister restaurant in the Palms Casino Resort, making it a frequent hangout for sports stars and other celebs. President Obama held one of his 2012 fundraiser dinners here, where supporters dined on juicy morsels of steak.