At some point, you will inevitably find yourself in need of a sceney restaurant - whether for a birthday, special occasion, or simply to get dressed up and hit the town for a fun Saturday night. You don't want to be the food-going version of a club rat, but there's nothing wrong with a trendy night out. The problem is that the vast majority of sceney restaurants are overwhelming with both terrible people and terrible, overpriced food. But not all of them are bad.
Here are 14 sceney restaurants that actually serve good food.
You can try and hate Sunda all you want because it's always expensive and everyone there looks prettier than you, but look: the food is good. From the sushi rolls to crispy duck egg fried rice, we always enjoy our meals here.
There are a few places to get good Peruvian food in town, but Tanta stands alone as both a fun and upscale place to do it. It has a big enough menu that will let you hide in chicken and potatoes if you want, but go in with an open mind and expect to try something like beef heart skewers or Amazon river fish. Don't forget the cebiches on their rooftop in the summer.
We've seen "Fashion Police" on E before. No way you're going to catch us walking into one of Giuliana Rancic's restaurants looking like a schlub so she and her cronies can make fun of our last season's jeans. But we have no problem being judged like that if it means eating all the pastas at RPM.
Is it possible to out-scene RPM Italian? Possibly, but only by its sister steakhouse restaurant, RPM Steak. There's even a 14Kt Chocolate Cake sprinkled with gold flakes for dessert - ridiculous, yet delicious.
Momotaro is basically the Japanese restaurant version of a three-level club, and most of the people are packed into the main floor that serves great sushi and small plates. There's also a VIP area private room upstairs, and a more lounge-like izakaya in the basement. You should look like you're hitting the club after dinner, even if deep-down you know you're heading straight to bed.
Swift & Sons is everything we like about a traditional steakhouse combined with everything we like about Fulton Market. That means great food, service, and action in a revamped warehouse space. Everyone knows the key to being cool is not trying too hard to be cool, and Swift & Sons does exactly that.
Daytime trendy is a different thing than nighttime trendy, but nowhere is a bigger scene during the day than Big Star. You might want to get out more if you haven't experienced Big Star on a warm summer afternoon, but the guacamole, tacos, and margaritas make it all worth it.
On any given day, we'd venture to guess 75% of the people eating at Gilt Bar either work or shop at Trunk Club. And you can count on a scene any time you're eating in the presence of personal shoppers. Gilt Bar is good though, so go for a girls night out, date night, or just when you're in the mood to feel like the king or queen of the castle for a night.
Bavette's is the type of take on a classic French steakhouse that only Brendan Sodikoff could come up with. It's retro, cool, dark, and consistently serves great food. Of course, a sexy steakhouse that isn't so stuffy will be the kind of place people who think they're pretty cool hang out, but it's good enough to keep us continuously coming back for more.
On the surface, Siena Tavern is everything we tend to hate about River North, so we could understand you expecting overpriced dishes and sub-par food. You might have to put up with the usual River North crowd, but the food makes up for it. Make sure to start with the giant wagyu beef meatball that is as big as most of the fake boobs in the room.
The 3 Arts Club Cafe at Restoration Hardware is such a scene it honestly intimidates us on a Saturday afternoon. We're not cool enough to be in the presence of ladies who lunch over champagne before buying expensive home furniture. But that doesn't mean we don't try, particularly because the space is beautiful and everything from the salmon plate to the burger are great.
One of the original "cool" spots in the West Loop. Maude's has actually toned it down a notch in terms of being trendy just because it's been around for a while, but you still want to walk in with a little swagger. The modern take on French food can't be beat.
A sister restaurant to Girl & The Goat, Duck Duck Goat does some interesting twists on Chinese food, all with Stephanie Izard's flair. In other words, expect goat sausage in your noodles. It's a fun environment, with some really tasty food.