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.
From the minds behind Webster?s Wine Bar and The Bluebird, Telegraph emerged in the summer of 2011 as the chic-yet-rustic result of a focus on natural wines and seasonal, locally sourced cuisine. With Chef John Anderes at the helm of a menu that helped earn a place on Chicago Magazine?s Best New Restaurants list, dishes pay homage to Mediterranean fare, receiving Anderes? deft touch of interesting and unique flavor combinations. Joined by sommelier Jeremy Quinn?one of Food & Wine?s 2012 Sommeliers of the Year?Telegraph?s cuisine finds complement in a list of wines from small, family-owned European producers whose focus is on natural, non-interventionist processes. The list features more than 20 pours by the glass, recent vintages, mature wines by the bottle and half-carafe, and large-format bottles, ideal for events at Telegraph?s communal table.
Named after the traditional farmhouses of the Friuli region of Italy, which sold fresh food and wine to locals, Frasca Pizzeria & Wine Bar stands as a neighborhood hub for casual Italian eats. Emerging cooked from Frasca's wood-fired ovens in just two minutes, thin-crust pies come littered with sumptuous toppings such as caramelized white onions and fennel sausage or in basic margherita form—a combination of mozzarella, tomato sauce, sliced tomatoes, and basil that landed on Chicago magazine's list of the city's 25 best pizzas. An extensive list of international wines, beers, and cocktails complement slices, seasonal pastas, and meaty entrees, all served atop wooden tables dotted around the warm dining room or nested inside leather booths. Frasca also serves weekend brunch featuring many of its signature pizzas alongside Nutella-stuffed french toast, eggs, and bloody marys.
Pops for Champagne feels right at home in Chicago?s effervescent River North district, where there?s rarely a dull moment among the throngs of tourists and sharply dressed businesspeople. Still, it?s clear that the lounge's home away from home is in France?the Champagne province, to be exact, from which it sources many of its nearly 200 types of bubbly. Chef Luke Creagan bases his menu around the list of champagnes and sparkling wines, favoring seasonal ingredients in a bounty of sharable items such as Black River Russian caviar and herb-infused escargot. The atmosphere meets the high standard set by the menu, as a jazz trio plays tunes by rapidly running their fingers along the rims of champagne flutes.
Highlighted by Eater Chicago as a place to show off to visiting friends, the housemade pastas and varying antipasti at the 2012 Michelin Guide–recommended DueLire Vino & Cucina are "always cooked and seasoned to perfection". Tables crowd merrily with plates of Chef Kevin Abshire's short-rib ravioli, grilled peppery shrimp, and cornish hen beneath a loft ceiling criss-crossed by black beams and cappuccino hues. With a menu the Chicago Reader describes as "inspired by a very Japanese clarity of flavor," DueLire earned one of Chicago magazine's Best New Restaurants in Chicago 2011 awards. The Italian spot's list of accolades grows long, no doubt a result of cuisine that is at once cozy, classic, and well executed.
The brick walls and polished hardwood tables of Blue Star Bistro and Wine Bar bask in the light that filters in through the front picture window, illuminating crimson glasses of wine and gourmet plates. More than 30 wines pour from the taps of a custom-built cuvenee, which keeps the vintages at a perfect temperature and protects them from flavor-killing oxidation with argon and No Oxygen Allowed signs. Mouth-filling morsels such as goat-cheese croquettes and truffled lobster spring from the tapas selection and compete for patrons’ affections with larger portions of roasted tomato risotto and herb-crusted tuna steak or gluten-free options. The menu also lists red and white wine recommendations next to each dish, all of which were chosen to complement specific flavor profiles, as well as the menu font.