In Chicago, we're able to travel the world via the many ethnic restaurants that dot our city. It's never too early to introduce your kids to the flavors of other cultures. Chicago Restaurant Week is the perfect time of year to check out some of our city's world culinary delights. From January 30 through February 12, you can take advantage of excellent prix fixe menus - starting at $22 for lunch and $33 and/or $44 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity) - for the whole family. Here five picks for family-friendly, fun and adventuresome dining with your kids that will take you around the world during Chicago Restaurant Week 2015.
Mercadito - River West (at top)
Travel to a busting Mexican market at Mercadito, a River West Mexican restaurant that specializes in southern Mexican fare. Chef Patricio Sandoval modeled Mercadito after the markets of his native Mexico. Start with your pick of four different takes on classic guacamole and end with the rich flan de coco. Parents and kids will love the Coca Cola brisket tacos. The prix fixe special menu features mahi mahi al ajo, a grilled mahi mahi in garlic sauce.
Indian Garden - Streeterville
Savor the flavors of India at Indian Garden, an award-winning Indian restaurant that highlights the culinary diversity of India. My kids love the vegetarian samosas - crispy fried pastries filled with peas and potatoes - and the mango lassis - pureed mango mixed into a smoothie with yogurt - both of which are featured on the Chicago Restaurant Week prix fixe menu. Even the pickiest kids will appreciate the garlic naan - a tasty, oven baked garlic flatbread. Try the kheer for dessert, an Indian take on classic rice pudding.
Bistrot Zinc - Gold Coast
Step into this charming Gold Coast restaurant and you'll feel as if you've stepped into a bistro in Paris. With its elegant zinc bar, tin ceilings and tile floors, the atmosphere is undeniable French, and the cuisine is not only perfectly Parisian but also moderately priced. Parents and kids with both love the Steak Frites, featured on the special Chicago Restaurant Week prix fixe menu; save room for the classic chocolate mousse.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! - Lincoln Park
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is a lively Spanish restaurant that will transport you directly to the Mediterranean. Tapas, pintxos, paella and sangria are the stars here, and during Chicago Restaurant Week you can give some signature dishes a try. Kids will enjoy the tortilla espanola appetizer, a warm potato and onion omelet, and the skewered chicken and chorizo sausage.
Demera Ethiopian Restaurant - Uptown
Considered one of Chicago's best Ethiopian restaurants, Michelin-starred Demera welcomes families with traditional decor and friendly, casual service. Kids and parents will both appreciate the sambusas - your choice of beef, chicken, tuna, lentil, or spinach fillings in a deep-fried pastry. Dig into the vegetarian messob - a family-style presentation of savory, veggie dishes that are eaten with injera, a spongy flatbread.
For dining ideas, a complete list of participating restaurants and menu offerings, visit EatItUpChicago.com.
Photos: Mercadito; Indian Garden; Bistrot Zinc by Kurman Communications via flickr; Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!