Like sunsets, teenage vampires, and sonnets composed entirely in dingbats, French restaurants are inherently romantic. Bask in culinary ardor with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of French fare at Jilly’s Cafe in Evanston.
Boasting a rotating menu of American-influenced French dishes, Jilly’s Cafe exudes the subtle romance and cozy ambiance of a country inn. Delicate, succulent starters such as crab cakes ($8) or a warm-goat-cheese-studded spinach salad ($8) warm up creaky jaws and dusty tongue bones. For the main event, roasted pork tenderloin ($18) satisfies cravings for alternative white meats, and veggie nommers can dig into to Jilly’s seasonal vegetable mélange ($15). Diners can make googly eyes at each other through the lush veil of fresh-cut flowers that adorn each table as they feast on entrees such as the portobello-flanked steak frites ($29) or the bouillabaisse ($24), a classic French medley of market fish, scallops, shrimp, and mussels with roma tomatoes and white whine.
The chefs at Jilly’s Cafe meld French and American cooking traditions to create a menu of elegant fusion fare peppered with culinary surprises from around the world. A large specials menu rotates its options frequently, treating diners to plates piled with nourishment that might include duck, rack of lamb, and fresh seafood, and every Sunday, a selection of breakfast items scramble for the right to occupy the brunch menu. To celebrate specific holidays, Jilly's rolls out set menus designed with a theme in mind—guests can ensure a romantic night out by reserving a table on Valentine’s Day or visit on Easter to honor America's mascot, the Easter egg. The eatery’s long-winded wine list allows aficionados to sample new varietals while giving grapes a chance to see what their old friends are up to.