Billy Lawless’s Italian reconcept of Henri is the kind of restaurant you dream of having in your neighborhood — a casual joint with comfortable leather seats, a deep wine list and daily chalkboard specials. Thing is: it’s across from Millennium Park, so technically it’s in no one’s ‘hood. But don’t let that stop you, especially for lunch. Start off with a selection of cheeses and don’t miss the well-executed duck egg spaghetti.
18 S. Michigan Ave.
With RPM Steak, the Rancics and the Melman brothers have muscled their way onto the chophouse scene in style. The white jacket service is as efficient and polished as any classic steakhouse, but everything else exudes modern sensibility. Do yourself a favor and order the 36 oz. côte de bœuf — it’s aged for 60 days and comes to the table with glorious aplomb. Expect eyes to roll back. And with a cocktail program by Paul McGee, don’t expect going anywhere after except straight to bed.
66 W. Kinzie St.
Sexy spot to close the night? Go here. This upstairs speakeasy strikes the perfect high-low balance for Le Chat Noir-styled boozing in Wicker Park. The Parisian cabaret feel is spot-on: baroque lighting, torn vintage wallpaper and velvet booths for canoodling. There’s a stage for live music, and Drumbar vet and Fulton Market Kitchen barman Brian Sturgulewski leads the cocktail program. Opens at 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and goes to the wee hours.
1721 W. Division
The lobby alone is reason to visit the SoHo House. On one side: Chicken Shop, where the menu is simple: rotisserie bird served whole, half or quarter. Five sides. Mac 'n' cheese if you have to choose only one.
On the other side: Pizza East, where they serve deliciously charred pie and one of our favorite dishes of the year so far: a heart-stopping crispy pork belly smothered with salsa verde. Swing down to the Allis lounge for a nightcap.
115 N. Green St.
Brought to you by the Takito Kitchen grupo, this spot under the Morgan/Lake L stop has a lively dining room where you can order suzuki bass ceviche and their take on esquites. Addicting. Don’t forget the coffee braised beef tacos. As for the cocktails? They’re legit, so plan on staying awhile.
201 N. Morgan St.