Siena Tavern

8 ways to the perfect dinner and a movie plan in Chicago

By Nicole Bruce

With so many buzzworthy restaurants just steps away from Chicago cinemas, it'd be a shame not to make dinner part of the main attraction. Here are eight conveniently located, critically acclaimed spots that'll outshine any of the culinary delights you're bound to find at the movie theater—even the buttery popcorn, fountain soda, and Junior Mints. Trust us.

Siena Tavern and Gene Siskel Film Center
Dig into traditional Italian dishes with a modern twist before taking in the latest avant-garde film at the School of the Art Institute's cinematic staple. Each of Top Chef–famous Fabio Viviani's Neapolitan pies and house-made pastas are prepared from scratch. Think truffle-mushroom and prosciutto-pear for the pizzas, and short rib ravioli with roasted porcini mushrooms and Taleggio cheese. And you won't find a better steak than the 36-ounce Florentine-style aged porterhouse for two. Siena Tavern's industrial-chic space is even decked out with a crudo pizza and mozzarella bar, which pairs nicely with their robust vino menu.
Neighborhood: River North
Siena Tavern
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Gene Siskel Film Center MAP

Gundis Kurdish Kitchen and Landmark Century Centre Cinema
Before catching a foreign flick at the Landmark, swing by the modern, candlelit Gundis Kurdish Kitchen, where flavorful, horizon-expanding Kurdish-Anatolian cuisine can be found in East Lakeview. The trio behind Chicago's very first Kurdish restaurant serves Middle Eastern recipes they grew up devouring in their own kitchens. Linger over the meze sampler of ezme, hummus, and baba ghanoush with puffy Kurdish flatbread before moving on to delightfully spicy lamb shanks and eggplant-laden dishes with a citrus kick. Top it all off with thin Kurdish baklawa crepes stuffed with goat cheese and topped with black figs, nuts, and honey drizzle.
Neighborhood: Lakeview
Gundis Kurdish Kitchen
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Landmark Century Centre Cinema MAP


Artango (credit: Sean Williams)

Artango Bar & Steakhouse and Davis Theater
Consider hitting this neighborhood steakhouse and classic cocktail bar, with its swanky 1920s vibe, après-cinéma. The glam dinner-and-dancing standby slings fruit-forward drinks inspired by Argentina's Golden Age alongside Argentine fare like tender, juicy filet mignon served with house-made chimichurri and Malbec red wine sauce. The ceviche, paella del sur, and cardamom-infused flan are also not to be missed. In tune with the 1920s Buenos Aires concept, live music transforms the space into a milonga for Tango dancing, which is particularly vivacious on Friday nights.
Neighborhood: Lincoln Square
Artango Bar & Steakhouse
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Davis Theater MAP

Longman & Eagle and The Logan Theatre
Equal parts whiskey tavern and restaurant, this Michelin-starred gastropub in Logan Square is doing something right with its pleasantly affordable meat and cocktail–heavy menu. Marked by a single ampersand over the door, the flagship spot offers up an impeccably crafted old-fashioned, a selection of more than 400 whiskeys (dozens of which are only three bucks), and rotating farm-to-table eats like wild boar sloppy joes and slow-roasted broccoli and cauliflower. But to get the full experience here, you've got to venture out of your comfort zone and sample the fried lamb neck with sherry jus, bone marrow with scallion chimichurri and bacon jam, and foie gras torchon with pineapple, macadamia nut, and burnt honey.
Neighborhood: Logan Square
Longman & Eagle
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The Logan Theatre MAP

Uncommon Ground and Music Box Theatre
Just around the corner from an iconic Great Depression–era movie house, this "green" favorite is the perfect prelude to a cult classic film. Comforting farm-to-table dinner offerings include bacon-wrapped meatloaf with onion and mushroom gravy–topped smashed potatoes, and vegetarian spring gnocchi with asparagus, vine tomatoes, and pecorino cheese. Wash all that sustainable goodness down with the only certified organic beer in Illinois—straight from their on-site organic brewery, Greenstar Brewing.
Neighborhood: Lakeview
Uncommon Ground
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Music Box Theatre MAP


GreenRiver

GreenRiver and AMC Navy Pier IMAX or AMC River East 21
The best meal with a view and next-level drinking experience is only a stone's throw away from two movie theaters. This Navy Pier-adjacent, Michelin-starred hotspot—tucked away in a nondescript medical building—has a spectacular wraparound terrace on the eighteenth floor boasting head-turning skyline and lake views. It's a prime spot for enjoying inventive American dishes like smoked whitefish tartine, saffron spaghetti with clams, and lamb rack with baba ghanoush, chermoula, and chickpea panisse. An Irish-American-informed cocktail (and mocktail!) menu is organized by key ingredient—think agave, corn, and juniper—with nods to Chicago history. Esoteric creations include beets, dandelion, and mascarpone cheese. Take a chance on the cheese-infused cocktail.
Neighborhood: Streeterville
GreenRiver
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AMC Navy Pier IMAX MAP
AMC River East 21 MAP

Knife & Tine and Regal Cinemas Webster Place 11
Before you kick back in a recliner for the newest release, this approachable Lincoln Park eatery and bar welcomes you in with its rustic wood and stone interior, roster of seasonal and creative New American dishes, and finely curated wine program. A twist on the classic chicken and dumplings, Knife & Tine's "Beer Can Chicken and Dumplings" entails a crispy chicken thigh, ricotta dumplings, Allagash beer chicken broth, kale, and braised carrots. You'll find East Coast crab cakes and mussels as well as house-made pastas like pear and pecorino ravioli with sage and brown butter, a runny egg, and arugula on the menu, too.
Lincoln Park
Knife & Tine
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Regal Cinemas Webster Place 11 MAP

Burger Bar Chicago and ShowPlace ICON Theatre at Roosevelt Collection
Big-flavor burgers, glorious deep-fried pickles, hand-spun (and even boozy) milkshakes, and an impressive 100-plus craft brews will pull you in the door to this numerous award winning quintessential burger joint. Colossal, drool-worthy "stackers" like the "Wild Bill" come with grass-fed, lean bison on a bed of arugula topped with goat cheese, and tomato chutney on a pretzel roll. A side of panko-coated and fried pickles with zesty aïoli sauce and a Malted Milk Ball Madness milkshake are non-negotiables.
Neighborhood: South Loop
Burger Bar Chicago
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ShowPlace ICON Theatre MAP

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