Since 1993, the prestigious Zagat Guide has ranked Oceanique as the top seafood restaurant in the Chicago metropolitan area. This isn't like the Oscars, where every year somebody else gets a token acknowledgment of their stardom - this is an impressive, 25-year seafood dynasty of historical proportions. Michael Jordan had two three-peats, which isn't bad, but Oceanique's 25-peat equals 8.33 consecutive three-peats. They're already a quarter of the way to a centi-peat.
Taste for yourself what all these -peats are about with today's Groupon: a $50 voucher to Oceanique for $20 - a whopping 60% discount. Chef Mark Grosz changes Oceanique's menu every week, aiming to be as local, seasonal and organic as possible. The cuisine weds traditional French and contemporary American inventions: You'll find unreal combinations of seafood and local produce, such as the Day Boat Sea Scallops Sashimi with watercress, beets, cucumber and basil essence, and the Grilled Calamari and Shrimp with sake essence (an ocean salad of avocado, ginger, and daikon). Just don't eat the jewel shrimp in the royal shellfish crown that Chef Grosz wears to demonstrate his monarchical reign over Chicago seafood. Though they may be the finest prized shrimp in the world, the penalty for poaching them is banishment.
You'll not want to be banished from Oceanique, where even the non-sea food options are downright stunning. Land-meat lovers might try the New Zealand Venison with red cabbage, belgian endive and huckleberries, or feast on Butternut Squash Ravioli with White Asparagus featuring parmesan, prosciutto, crispy sage and walnuts. Oceanique's wine cellar has a prodigious selection of nearly 800 carefully selected premium wines, and has won Wine Spectator Magazine’s coveted "Best of Award of Excellence" every year since 1994 (24 years). Not bad, Oceanique wine cellar, but come talk to me when you have a 25-peat.
Grosz opened Oceanique in a charming 1920s Spanish-style building at 505 Main St. in Evanston (map). Just four years later, its 25-year reign over Chicago seafood began. As usual, the Yelpers have followed Zagat's lead in praise for Oceanique, dropping an average four-star rating like it's hot. Lookie:
- "This is, without a doubt, my favorite restaurant, surpassing any restaurant I've been to in NY, Chicago, or even Paris (although I was a student then and we could only afford one dinner at one nice restaurant...)" -- Alexis E.
- "Well I went to Oceanique last night and was thoroughly impressed. Our appetizers were interesting and delicious. I had an artichoke, green tomato and Gorgonzola salad and my fiancee had butternut squash ravioli, with bacon, candied sage and who knows what else. Our entrees were both outstanding. I won't list all the ingredients out here because there's no way I'd remember them all. Suffice it to say, that they were inventive and the tastes were totally complementary. In my dining experience, this is a rarity. Finally, our desserts were incredibly decadent and just as good if not better than the rest of the meal. Have I left any superlatives out? Oceanique is on par with the best Chicago has to offer and head and shoulders above anywhere else I have eaten in Evanston." -- Andrew B.
If you wuss out on today's amazing Groupon because you don't want to make the trip up to Evanston, you should be ashamed of yourself. This short ride is even quicker, thanks to Oceanique's valet service. Oceanique swordfish will pick you up at one of 15 conveniently located marine stations along Lake Michigan and the Chicago River (see map). There is no additional charge, and the only gratuity these humble swordfish valets will accept is to allow them the honor of being eaten by you for dinner at Oceanique. So get your Groupon, and we'll see you on the high seas.
Oceanique's culinary history sparkles with the brilliance of a reef. The restaurant, after all, celebrated 25 years of fine dining history in February 2014 after gifting itself an interior renovation in July 2013. Now the space boasts cream walls, rectangular tables, and modern light fixtures to juxtapose the classic French cuisine that gave the restaurant its swagger. While the ambiance may have changed, Chef Mark Grosz still peppers his menu with the evidence of a culinary education acquired in France and under Jean Banchet at Le Francais. The eclectic dishes, which change daily, might pair butternut squash with salmon or drizzle rhubarb-mango chutney on foie gras. Beyond the signature seasonal fish dishes, they can devote full plate space to organic, ultrafresh produce, such as butternut squash and fiddleheads.
Even with its complex array of ingredients and tastes, the menu strives to remain approachable. Time Out Chicago writes that "while the multi-ingredient preparations border on overwhelming, Grosz somehow manages to balance flavors while completely flipping off subtlety." What results is a laid-back dining atmosphere lubricated by a choice of more than 800 wines and several vintage seawaters.
505 Main St
Evanston, Illinois 60202Get Directions