Though it sets the stage for romantic first dates, a cozy bistro is less ideal when it comes to discussing politics or your collection of puppets made to resemble the cast of Jersey Shore. Be on your best first-date behavior with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of American bistro fare and drinks at Gilson's, next to the historic Wilmette Theatre.
Gilson's, which is outfitted with stylish French-bistro décor, fashions its plates with locally grown, usually organic, ingredients. Inside chateau-like dining rooms, guests peruse a playful lunch menu of boldly named plates, such as the Adults Only grilled cheese ($6.49 for half, $8.99 for full) and Big Salads (starting at $5.95), which are more flavorful and less stuffed with spare toothbrushes than big purses. Dinner options include hulking pasta bowls (starting at $14.95) and the staff favorite, Skirt Steak Madrid ($19.95), whose pleated meat lapels come draped with romesco sauce and a side of bermuda onion couscous. Pair meals with European beers, or try on the extensive wine list while basking in Gilson's cozy glow instead of unflattering dressing-room lights.
There is a huge gap between what parents want to eat and what their kids do. Between picky eating habits and the lure of shiny plastic toys, it can seem impossible to get kids to eat out without having to scarf chicken nuggets yourself. Two Wilmette fathers grew tired of this cycle and the poor quality of food their kids were craving, so they decided to create a restaurant where they, their wives, and their kids could all get an enjoyable meal.
The result was Gilson’s, an American bistro that uses sustainably caught and locally grown ingredients that adults value, and couches it in a friendly atmosphere complete with a children’s menu that accommodates picky eaters without plying them with processed junk food. The bistro reflects its two identities with an outdoor patio and exposed-brick dining room, with a more upscale wine bar that caters to guests wanting to sip international vintages in a more intimate space.
For the adults, chefs specialize in seafood. They accent shrimp and ahi tuna with layers of mango salsa and wasabi mayo to create complex flavor profiles without boiling up a rubik's-cube reduction. House specialties such as the fish tacos and Wyoming bison burgers get pared down to create smaller lunch portions, alongside a selection of organic sandwiches and salads.
1126 Central Ave.
Wilmette, Illinois 60091Get Directions