As you stroll down the luxe provinces of shop-filled Oak Street in the Gold Coast neighborhood, you might wonder: How long would it take me to get to the French Riviera? Indeed, it would require some planning, but never mind. You’re right in front of chic Chicago restaurant Fig & Olive, so walk in, take the elevator to the second floor and find your own retreat amidst their new spring time offerings.
If you’ve never been to Fig & Olive, it’s worth noting that they bring together a range of olive oils and culinary traditions from throughout the Mediterranean region. In these health-conscious times, their menu offerings are a welcome respite and they remain as flavorful as any other region of the world, which is testimony to their talented kitchen staff and executive chef Wilifred Hocquet.
As it is spring, they are offering up a range of appetizers that are perfect for the season, including Provencal Carrot & Thyme Soup and a Crab Salad that is distinguished by its use of snow peas, green apple, lime and cilantro.
Of course, you’ll want to add a drink or two to truly celebrate the season. Might I recommend the Summer in Provence? Along with a fine base, it has house made rosemary thyme syrup, lime juice, and muddled blackberries. You can also consider the entire cocktail program, as you’ll find something to your liking.
Moving on to the mains, I’d cast my lot with the Primavera Risotto, which is elegantly framed by an assemblage of asparagus, green pea, and pea shoots. This verdure is complemented by the garlic, shallots, and parmesan. The fish and meat selections are also worthy of attention, and elaborate table side preparations include Chateaubriand, Cote de Boeuf, and Whole Branzino.
As a coda, the desserts are the perfect way to close things out. I’d recommend the light touch of the poached pear in spiced orange or the Fig & Olive tasting, which features four bite-sized portions of the Chocolate Pot de Creme, Crunchy Praline, and so on.
You might gravitate to their lovely bar after your meal and perhaps you’ll do some shopping on The Magnificent Mile or walk further down to Oak Street beach for a stunning view of the Gold Coast, Lake Michigan, and the general bustle of Lake Shore Drive. A fine way to end an evening and to perhaps even think about what you’ll be coming back for next.
The Essentials — Fig & Olive
104 East Oak Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Images credit Fig & Olive