Now that the 80-degree-days have finally ended, Chicagoans are swapping out their summer wardrobes for winter coats, and restaurants are trading out patio menus for autumnal flavors and cold-weather dishes.

We know what you’re thinking. Apple dishes for fall… groundbreaking. But with swimsuit season safely behind us and so many new dishes hitting the dining scene, it’s the best time to try out the city’s newest, seasonal dishes. Here are some of the highlights from fall menus across Chicago:

Chicken Katsu Udon Bowls from Urbanbelly

Warm-up with Chef Bill Kim’s specialty Chicken Katsu Udon Bowl ($13) featuring breaded chicken over a bowl of thick noodles at urbanbelly. If you’re looking for more heat, try the Ramen ($13) with braised pork, mushrooms and a soft boiled egg. Not up for the brisk Chicago weather? Order delivery through Caviar for a delivered meal.

Bagel Bites from Steingold’s

Ditch the detox foods and make room for Steingold’s new Fried bagel bites. Steingold’s classic bagels are cut into 8ths, fried, and served warm with dip. Try the savory version served with pimento cheese dip as a mid-afternoon snack or top off your meal with the cinnamon-dusted sweet versions accompanied by a side of homemade applesauce.

Grilled Cheese from Half Acre Tap Room at Balmoral

Pair your beer with a grilled cheese. The fall air is crisp and apples are sweet and tangy. Check out the newly launched the savory/sweet combo Fall Grilled Cheese at Half Acre’s taproom at Balmoral for weekend brunch or dinner. 

Salted Plums at Smyth 

For true seasonal-inspired dining, the prix-fixe menu experiences at Smyth change not only seasonally but often subtle changes are made daily. In preparation of the inevitable winter, Chef John Shields created a dish with Salted Plums and preserved herbs that resemble the fall leaves. Chef Shield’s features new creations throughout his Instagram, including a Steamed King Crab dish dipped in beeswax and chilled. 

Chili Pear Pork Loin at Commons Club

Elevate your dinner in the Loop with Common Club’s new fall menu. Head to the second floor of the Virgin Hotels Chicago for Chef Moosah’s new Pork Loin ($31) featuring stone ground grits, pear chili glaze, parsnip puree. The dish builds in fall flavors without hitting you over the head with them – no pumpkin spice where it doesn’t need to be here! 

Kale Salad from The Smith

River North’s new addition, The Smith, features a Kale & Quinoa Salad during lunch to fill your fall-cravings but not have you falling asleep at your desk back at work. The salad is a balance of sun-dried cranberries, toasted almonds, and dijon vinaigrette mixed in a bed of ricotta salata ($16) with the option to add grilled chicken ($3). For dinner, opt for the warm Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese salad topped with apples and spiced pepitas with apple cider vinaigrette ($13). 

Sticky Pear Cake a la Mode at The Dearborn 

Executive Pastry Chef Julianna Westgor has done it again with her homemade apple cider donuts and sticky pear cake. Try the apple cider donuts with whiskey ice cream or the sticky pear cake with toasted almond ice cream for the perfect hit of sweet. 

Wild Mushrooms from Bar Biscay

The Wild Mushrooms ($19) at Bar Biscay are worth a trip to the West Town neighborhood Spanish brasserie. Fresh mushrooms are sautéed with butter and sherry-jus, then topped with a soft poached egg. The shareable dish is comforting for those chilly fall nights. Stop in on Halloween night for a $4 draft pints of Orkenoy and smooth grooves from Fins-Up DJs.

Cider Donuts from Stan’s Donuts & Coffee

Don’t have time to get out of town to pick apples but still craving apple cider donuts? Drop by Stan’s throughout the fall to try one of their apple cider donuts ($3).

Ricotta Dumplings from Funkenhausen 

Fall is comfort food season and Funkenhausen Chef Mark Steuer blends recipes from his German heritage and Southern upbringing that is the definition of comfort. The Ricotta Dumplings ($25)- haus kielbasa, cauliflower gooseberry, oyster mushrooms, rosemary vinaigrette, and ricotta salata – make grandma proud. Don’t skip on the Sauerkraut ($6), which is Oma Steuer’s recipe. 

White Truffles and Grits from Temporis 

Chef Troy Jorge of Temporis is taking advantage of the season’s ingredients by shaving white truffles tableside over the White Grits with mushroom stock, port gel, egg yolk puree, and poached quail egg. The 11-course tasting menu ($155) is inspired by what is growing in the restaurant’s hydroponic garden along with the current season. For dessert, Chef Troy uses in season honey crisp apples for a Milk & Dark Chocolate Ganache. As a no-waste initiative, the apple skins are used to make the dessert sauce. 

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Courtesy of The Smith

New Fall Menu at Robert’s Pizza Dough and Co. 

As November approaches, the temperature has dropped, and so has Robert’s Pizza & Dough Co.’s fall menu! The updated dishes incorporate savory, seasonal ingredients, transforming fan favorites into the comfort foods of Autumn. 

  • Shareables you won’t want to share:


House Made Gnocchi, Beef Bolognese, Parmesan

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Beurre Blanc, Grana Panda, Micro Basil 

Fried Brussels Sprouts 

Balsamic Glaze, Marinated Raisins, Candied Walnuts

  • Pastas that feel like a hug from the inside out:

Short Rib Pappardelle

House-Made Pappardelle, Braised Short Rib,

Beef Jus, Parmesan, Fine Herbs

Mushroom Pappardelle

House-Made Pappardelle, Roasted Mushrooms, Kale, Cherry Tomatoes, Fennel

  • For those craving salad with seasonal, bold flavors:

Apple Hazelnut

Shaved Honey Crisp Apples, Toasted Hazelnuts, Shaved Celery, Manchego Cheese, Cider Vinaigrette

Kabocha Shishito

Roasted Kabocha Squash, Blistered Shishito Peppers, Pickled Red Onion, Shaved Fennel, Orange Supremes, Arugula/Baby Kale, Mustard Vinaigrette

Fall Little Gem

Shaved Pear, Champagne Grapes, Gem Lettuce, Shaved Red Onion, Broadbent Lardons. Gorgonzola Blue Cheese Dressing 

  • Cocktails that bring the heat:


Deep Eddy Vodka, Apple Cider, Laird’s Applejack Brandy, Cinnamon

Ogden Slip-(Autumn)

Real McCoy 3yr Rum, Persimmon Liqueur, Fall Spice, Fresh Orange & Lime

Fall Spiced Old Fashioned

Evan Williams Bourbon, Angostura & Orange Bitters, Demerara, Spices

Espresso Martini

Deep Eddy Vodka, Espresso. Frangelico, Cream

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Courtesy of Robert's Pizza Dough and Co.

Apple of My Pie Cake Shake at Public House 

Halloween is over, so naturally, our brains transition to things like Thanksgiving, holiday parties and ways to stay warm when the ground freezes in Chicago. Taking advantage of the cold as well as seasonal ingredients like apple cider and apple pie, Public House (400 North State Street), one of the city’s top sports bars will be offering a seasonal hot apple cider drink called, Apple of my Pie ($15).

Available now and throughout the winter, the Apple of my Pie is a play on Public House’s staple Cake Shakes. However, instead of a blend of ice cream and beer, the hot cider drink is created with the mindset to help someone warm-up and includes hot apple cider mixed with Jameson whiskey. In addition, similar to the original cake shake’s look, a piece of apple pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream is placed on top of the drink and topped off with whipped cream, caramel drizzle and a cinnamon stick. 

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Courtesy of Lindsey Simon // DineAmic Hospitality

For Bonhomme Hospitality Group, the flavors of fall are acorn-fed Ibérico pigs, saffron, kelp and kohlrabi. Known for restaurants offering dishes as unique as their designs, Bonhomme Group’s fall menus satisfy cravings and wanderlust alike.

Offering guests a Spanish culinary tour, each of Black Bull’s new dishes is a modern twist on a classic meal from a different region of Spain. The must-try dish on Black Bull’s new menu is the Presa Ibérica ($29), grilled boneless pork shoulder from acorn-fed Ibérico pigs of Spain. When BHG Executive Chef Marcos Campos first came to the U.S., he was a bit confused about the various cuts of meat. “In Spain, I would butcher a whole animal into, say, 200 pieces, and here it would be 100,” he says. Presa, typically reserved for the butcher and his family, is one of those unique Spanish pork cuts Campos wants to introduce to U.S. diners. He ages the meat 30 days and tops it with Canarian Mojo Verde and piparras peppers. The acidity of the sauce balances the fattiness of the pork.

Diners can experience the rich flavors of southern Spain with the Setas al Jerez (pan-seared wild mushrooms, sherry wine, manchego cheese and potato foam, migas, thyme olive oil; $15). This dish combines flavors from southern Spain with techniques from La Mancha and a well-known Chicago purveyor. White mushrooms cooked in amontillado sherry are topped with a delicate warm foam of manchego, heavy cream, potato and thyme-infused olive oil. Migas, Spanish-style breadcrumbs made from Publican Quality Bread add texture to the umami-rich dish.

Executive Pastry Chef Shanna Primiano transports guests to northern Spain for dessert. True to the traditions of the Basque region, the Basque Cheesecake ($9) is served at room temperature with a burnt, caramelized top, paired with red wine and orange poached pears. But unlike most chefs, Chef Primiano uses the entire pear. Dehydrated pear skin sits atop the cheesecake, adding an unexpected crunch. Finished with roasted red grapes and oregano leaves to balance the sweetness of the cake, the Basque Cheesecake is a savory, fall-forward dessert that satisfies.

Beatnik’s fall menu is a modern celebration of traditional dishes from different cultures around the world. Chef Campos explains, “I wanted to reinvent dishes from different countries in a modern way, but still respect the tradition behind each one.” Featuring unexpected global ingredients, such as Wild Iceland Kelp and Kohlrabi, Vadouvan curry, and roasted beet tahini, Beatnik’s fall menu will take guests on an adventure.

The Guinea Fowl Moroccan Pastilla ($24) is the showstopper of the new menu. Layering flaky phyllo dough with with guinea fowl, confit dates, saffron, roasted Persian pistachios and cinnamon, the Pastilla offers guests a combination of sweet and savory flavors.

The new dessert menu trades pumpkin spice for sweet potato and cookie butter. Foodies should order the Baked Alaska ($12), featuring maple-sweet-potato sorbet topped with raisin coulis, oatmeal cookie butter, fennel, and spiced almond cake.

Beverage Director Jesse Filkins reinvents the classic Old Fashioned with the Man Overboard ($12). Inspired by Spanish sailors of centuries past, Filkins explains, “traditionally, rum was the drink of choice for sailors, but they added orange peels to fight scurvy and nutmeg for flavor.” The Man Overboard offers an elevated twist on this tradition, combining black barrel rum, Averna, Frangelico, angostura, mole and orange bitters and topped with nutmeg. Garnished with a cherry and orange peel fashioned like a sail, the Man Overboard evokes both the spiced flavors of fall and the traditions of yesterday’s mariner.  

At Beatnik’s Brunch, the tacos are served in naan rather than tortillas. The Taco Arabe, ($20), featuring grilled, marinated Spanish pork shoulder is inspired by Lebanese-influenced cuisine in Puebla, Mexico.

Brunch guests can now enjoy the Glazed Brioche Donut ($3). Filled with fig jam and topped with toffee crunch, coffee pastry cream, thyme and meringue, the sweetness of the fig balances the bitterness of the coffee.

Diners can still get a taste of home with the Cinnamon Roll ($14) a traditional cinnamon roll with brown sugar cinnamon and cream cheese frosting, but topped with homemade cook butter and a cranberry-orange compote for fall. 

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Courtesy of Bonhomme Hospitality Group
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