Whether you're looking for Chicago date ideas or just fun things to do in Chicago with friends and family, you can't go wrong with dinner and a show. Pick a performance suiting your interests, and try one of these delectable restaurants near Chicago theaters.
Pre-theater dining in Chicago has never been easier with this guide:
RESTAURANTS NEAR BROADWAY IN CHICAGO THEATERS
Planning to experience Broadway in Chicago? Before watching a Broadway production at the majestic 1906 Bank of America Theatre, slide into the leather booths for hearty American fare (with proud Irish influences) at the upscale tavern/restaurant The Gage, or grab a quick bite to eat at either Rosebud Prime or Rosebud Theater District, two options from the homegrown Italian steakhouse chain.
If you're catching a musical or new show at the regal Cadillac Palace Theatre, make a reservation at the sleek Italian restaurant Piccolo Sogno Due, which features an excellent wine list, wood-fired pizzas and delicious pasta dishes just a quick stroll across the Chicago River.
And just a couple blocks from the lavish Oriental Theatre, you'll find handmade ravioli with creative fillings and main dishes with a sustainable focus in a cozy environment at the subterranean Loop gem Trattoria No. 10.
RESTAURANTS NEAR OPERA, SYMPHONY & BALLET THEATERS
Nosh on Catalan-inspired tapas from Chef Jose Garces at Mercat a la Planxa or casual French dishes at Brasserie by LM before heading to Michigan Avenue's storied Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, where classic ballet performances, contemporary dance and philharmonic concerts come to life.
If you're planning an evening at Symphony Center to see the preeminent conductor Riccardo Muti lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, enjoy Mediterranean-inspired dishes at the on-site restaurant Tesori, approachable Italian cuisine at Acanto or German classics at local Chicago institution The Berghoff Restaurant.
If Lyric Opera of Chicago is your final destination, start out with artful cuisine from James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Kahan at the ultra-modern Blackbird, or go back in time with rustic, seasonal dishes at the award-winning Sepia, housed in an 1890 print shop.
Catch exciting, diverse performances of music and dance at the Harris Theater, and grab a bite to eat at Millennium Park's Park Grill Chicago, casual spot Tavern at the Park or American steakhouse III Forks.
RESTAURANTS NEAR CHICAGO'S TOP INDEPENDENT THEATERS
For pre- or post-theater dining near the groundbreaking Steppenwolf Theatre Company
, head to Michelin-starred contemporary American restaurant BOKA
, where innovative, seasonal dishes are served in a whimsical yet sophisticated atmosphere. For a laidback experience, go further up the street to Stella Barra
for artisan pizzas and biodynamic wines. Its adjoining sister restaurant Summer House
offers a special three-course Steppenwolf menu ($48 per person) of wood-fired dishes and locally-sourced ingredients. Another of Steppenwolf's recommended restaurants
faces the theater if you need to dash to your seat: the lofty, earth-toned space at Balena
sets the scene for snacks like spiced olives and dishes from the hardwood grill such as charred brussels sprouts and roasted chicken thigh.
For theatergoers planning an evening at the cutting-edge powerhouse Lookingglass Theatre Company, try the three-course dinner ($35 per person) at Sophie's at Saks Fifth Avenue with sweeping Michigan Avenue views as your backdrop, or sample modern-day interpretations of French classics at gastronomic bistro Bistronomic. For a more casual scene, go with a slice of wood-fired pizza or fresh pasta from top chef Tony Mantuano at Bar Toma across the street, then finish up with a scoop of homemade gelato from their colorful display case.
Whether you're catching a big production or intimate play at Goodman Theatre, its prime location in the heart of the downtown Loop theater and shopping district makes it easy to find a dining spot. Dine on classic American dishes, prime steaks and fresh seafood at the old-school Italian supper club Petterino's connected right next door. The partner restaurant has exclusive discounts and deals for theater patrons.
The Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier boasts innovative takes on Shakespeare classics and passionate, imaginative plays. For dinner, sample globally-inspired dishes at the exquisite Quay Restaurant & Bar, or stay at Navy Pier with a crab dinner (and breathtaking views) at Riva.
RESTAURANTS NEAR CHICAGO COMEDY CLUBS & CONCERT VENUES
No trip to Chicago would be complete without experiencing the premier talent at one of the comedy clubs. Before laughing the night away at sketch comedy, standup and improv in the Old Town neighborhood — home to The Second City, UP Comedy Club and Zanies Comedy Nightclub — try a unique meal at Perennial Virant, known for creating meals with pickles, preserves and aigre-doux. French classics and an authentic atmosphere can be found at Bistrot Margot, and exquisite Italian is served up at family-owned Orso's, also within walking distance.
Before catching a concert from big name headliners or a comedy performance at The Chicago Theatre on State Street in the downtown Loop, enjoy American cuisine, classic cocktails and even live jazz in the lively Tortoise Club, a handsome hangout just past the river two blocks north.
CHICAGO THEATRE WEEK
For budget-hunters, this annual two-week celebration of Chicago's world-class theater is the perfect way to catch a show without spending a fortune. Each February during Chicago Theatre Week, visitors and locals can choose from more than 100 productions, with tickets specially priced at $15 and $30 (or less). For a pre- or post-theater meal, make a reservation at one of Chicago's 2015 Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand restaurants, recognized for their excellent value.