Restaurant Reco: Willow Room

You know that feeling when you wake up and you know it’s going to be a great day? That was yesterday. Usually Wednesdays are pretty “eh” right? Well yesterday was one of the best Wednesdays in a long time. It started with a great work out at SoulCycle with my dear friend Emily. Both of us feeling great after class, we were ready to take on the day, with an awesome birthday dinner to look forward to that evening. Emily’s birthday was last week, and my birthday is next week, so we thought a celebration in the middle of the two occasions would help extend her celebration, while kicking off mine.

After some back and forth about what restaurant to go to, we both decided we want to try somewhere new, and landed on Willow Room in Lincoln Park. I had driven by a few times on Halsted and had come across it’s listing on OpenTable, but never really thought to check it out. Before even crossing the threshold, I knew Emily and I were going to love this place.


The vibes and decor were amazing. They have gorgeous furniture throughout the restaurant, interesting artwork displayed on a gallery wall, and touches of rich-colored velvet. Plus, a great music selection featuring Leon Bridges (see music video here), Sam Cooke, & Ray LaMontagne.


Now for the food and wine. The menu was small, and most plates were recommended to share, which Emily and I loved. I think sharing plates with the table is one of the best dining experiences you can have. It makes the meal so much more social. We picked out a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, which I didn’t catch the name of, but was super refreshing.  To start, we ordered burrata, the shaved vegetable salad, and the beef tartare tartine.


beef tartare tartine

All the food was super fresh and super delicious. We both loved the beef tartare- it was very flavorful with fresh, crunchy elements like radish to help cut the richness of the dish, on a great slice of bread. The burrata was creamy and came with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes- taking advantage of the last of the summer veggies. For our main course we split the burger, which was incredible. I hadn’t had a burger in a long time and we were both so happy we ordered it- ooey gooey American cheese, two thin patties, plus pickles and a delicious sauce (and splurging on your birthday is okay, right!?).

Overall, the meal was fantastic. We finished off with a slice of key lime pie and made a collective birthday wish for Emily’s 24th and my 23rd birthday. I highly recommend Willow Room for date night or a group get together. And maybe go on a Wednesday to make the middle of your week a little brighter!



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