5 Places to Break the Yom Kippur Fast in Chicago
Yom Kippur is quickly approaching, which means two things: 1) a fast for the day of atonement and 2) a post-fasting feast. Growing up this probably meant a huge spread full of bagels, schmear, tuna salad, egg salad, fruit trays, lox, and more, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the fast like this forever.
Looking to stuff your face in a less-than-traditional way this year?
Here are my 5 top picks on where to go:
Cira is currently one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago. Located inside the West Loop’s new Hoxton Hotel, this Mediterannean spot features plates that were meant to be shared. And while you can order individual plates to share (my recommendations would be the falafel, smoked mackerel taramasalata, brown butter hummus, and manti, pictured above), for a true breaking the fast celebration I urge you to try the Feast of Cira.
This chef’s tasting menu is one of the best deals I’ve found for a tasting menu in Chicago. At $75 per person (drinks not included), you receive more than 10 full dishes. With a small plates course, medium plates course, pasta course, a main with side salads, and a course of desserts, you will feel that you got more than your monies worth.
Lobster Pasta, @BESTFOODALEX
Avli Taverna may not be in Chicago’s Greektown, but it has some of the best Greek food that I’ve eaten in Chicago. Their first Chicago location is in Lincoln Park, but they are gearing up for the opening of their River North location in September.
While you won’t find Chicago-style flaming saganaki on the menu, you will find a delicious saganaki topped with fig and honey. But the true star here is a lobster pasta – a generous portion of pasta topped with a large lobster tail, perfect for a feast.
When people ask me my favorite thing to eat my answer is always hot pot. I love that you get to own the preparation, how rich in meat and vegetables the meal is, and the fact that it’s AYCE so it’s easy to split the bill with large groups.
If you’re new to hot pot, it’s a Chinese cooking method where you prepare your food in a simmering pot of stock that is brought to your table. The meats, veggies, and noodles come out raw, and you put them into your stock to cook them through while absorbing flavors from your stock.
There are a few stock options, and you’re able to select up to two for your hot pot, meaning if some people like it spicy and others don’t, you can get a spicy and non-spicy broth so everyone wins.
There are two well-known hot pot restaurants in Chinatown, Little Lamb and Happy Lamb. While I do feel the quality of meat is a little bit better at Happy Lamb, it also typically has a significantly longer wait time and a more limited AYCE menu, so I’ve picked Little Lamb as my recommendation. Really, you can’t go wrong at either.
After dinner, I recommend walking over to Tsaocaa for bubble tea and snowflake ice!
Politan Row is one of the newer food halls in Chicago’s West Loop. I love this break the fast option for a large group where not everyone agrees on the type of food they want. With multiple restaurants to choose from in one location, this is the perfect spot for someone planning a meal with indecisive friends.
While everything at Politan Row is great, some of my favorite things there are the sabbich from LaShuk (pictured above), the katsu sando and fried spam musubi from Mom’s, and coriander chicken with appams and ayurvedic ajowan iced tea from Thattu.
Woo Chon is one of the hidden gems of Chicago’s North Side. While there are plenty of closer Korean BBQ options to my fiancé and my apartment in the South Loop, we will typically Uber 25 minutes each way to get Woo Chon when we want Korean BBQ.
Unlike some of the newer Korean BBQ places popping up in downtown Chicago, Woo Chon still uses real charcoal at your table, so all of the meat picks up a delicious flavor while cooking. And, despite my love for cooking my own meat when getting hot pot, I love that Woo Chon assists you with cooking the meat at your table to ensure a perfect preparation.
The real star at Woo Chon, though, is their banchan, which are the small side dishes that come with your meal. Their banchan is all made fresh in-house daily, a true labor of love from the family that owns the restaurant, and the quality of the food is wonderful.