Celebrate the Harvest at Chicago's Best Restaurants
Chicago’s best restaurants source products from some of the most fertile farmland in the world. It’s no wonder that many Chicago restaurants take advantage of the regional harvest to leverage the best of every growing season.
Here are six of Chicago’s best restaurants, each bringing to your table the best that the season has to offer.
Homestead on the Roof.. With an on-site garden providing herbs and vegetables to the kitchen, Homestead on the Roof uses their mini-farm as a source for the menu, and diners can have their dinner and drinks beneath the abundant greenery. The menu reflects what the season brings forth from their 3,000 square foot rooftop garden, and that abundance is reflected in dishes such as the Ukrainian pelmeni featuring “rooftop herbs,” the heirloom tomato tartine, and, of course, the Rooftop Garden Salad.
North Pond. If ever there was a Chicago restaurant that reflected the food traditionally available to Midwestern diners throughout each of the changing seasons, it’s North Pond, long in the vanguard of the farm-to-table movement. In its “seasonal tasting” menu, Chef Bruce Sherman serves shrimp with beautifully sourced Midwestern corn, salmon with fresh basil and late summer tomato sorbet, and grilled leg of lamb with local mint and cucumber. North Pond, any time of year, is a celebration of the season.
Eden. With a very large greenhouse on the side lot next to the restaurant, Eden is assured – even in the colder months – of a fresh supply of herbs and vegetables that can be transformed into memorable dishes. The wood-grilled flatbread utilizes fresh cherry tomatoes, summer squash and herbs; the skirt steak is perked up with Romanesco, also pulled from the nearby – and bounteous – garden. Of course, the lively drinks also make use of fresh herbs and vegetables.
Lula Café. Jason Hammel’s Lula Café in Logan Square has long sourced their menu from the bounty of the Midwest to bring to his diners the freshest ingredients for some of the most creative dishes in Chicago. Chilled corn soup with Jonah crab, Spanish tuna with cucumber, and squid with Krug Farm cherries all pay homage to one of the most fertile farming regions in the world. Of course, the best way to enjoy what Lula Café can do with the best the season has to offer is the vegetarian tasting menu, a love letter from the garden to Lula Café’s diners.
Raised: An Urban Rooftop Bar. Don’t let the name – Raised: An Urban Rooftop Bar – fool you. Raised is more than a bar, and it’s even more than a restaurant; it’s a bar/restaurant that knows how to use local ingredients for maximum flavor. The Parmesan frites with fresh rosemary, the bahn mi with just-pulled-from-the-garden cilantro, and the dill and parsley on the lobster rolls – among many other dishes – all bring forth the goodness of the harvest season.
Frontera Grill. Chef Rick Bayless has long been a champion of local farmers, and even though he made his reputation preparing some of the finest Mexican food anywhere in the world, his dishes still reflect his commitment to serving his guests the freshest food possible from local sources. On his menu at Frontera Grill, he lists the local farms where he procures his fruit, vegetables, beans, dairy and meat products, so you know the food you’re enjoying reflects not only the best of Mexico, but the best of the Midwest.