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“The Food's the thing.”
Review of Boka Restaurant

Boka Restaurant
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Ranked #6 of 10,828 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$31 - US$40
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar Scene, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: Dinner, After-hours, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighbourhood: Lincoln Park
Cross street: Willow
Transit: Red Line "El" stop at Clyborn & North Ave
Description: Named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs 2008,” Executive Chef Giuseppe Tentori features contemporary, seasonal American food. The Michelin Dining Guide recently awarded BOKA one star and the Chicago Tribune gave three, calling it “One of the city’s best.” Chicago magazine awarded three stars as well and has called it “The hottest ticket in town.” Chef Tentori was named a rising star by both Star Chefs and Restaurant Hospitality magazine, and BOKA was awarded the 4 Diamond AAA in 2009. A great spot for wedding receptions, corporate meetings, pharmaceutical dinners and cocktail parties, the space allows for private parties in a variety of rooms both private and semi private. The restaurant was designed by Bogdanow Partners and features sweeping architectural sails and a stunning 90 seat outdoor patio.
Reviewed 25 March 2017

Dinner yesterday (Thursday); we were shown to a table in the main dining room which is unimpressive with seating consisting of banquettes and tables; the room is a little tired and somehow I found the various waiters and servers brushing against me in passing on numerous occasions; my wife had the better of me seated in the banquette.
There is another (nicer) room which is in a sort of garden; ask for that when you reserve.
Clientele is pretty typical: oriental girls photographing each dish, a somewhat noisy (and too close) English family, lots of couples; background music was not annoying and overall the level of noise was low.
The waiter provided a lot of information about the tasting menu which is different than most as it includes several items not on the regular menu; we were told that the main (meat) course would be pork; having just had grilled rack of pork the previous night we asked for a substitution; lamb was offered and accepted.
Service was a little harried; our congenial waiter was sometimes not available, particularly during a long break between the last appetizer and the fish course; we had to send an SOS. After receiving a profuse apology from the manager we received the meat course so quickly we had to look for our waiter again as the wine I ordered for that course had not arrived. Aside from these incidents service by the staff was very nice, with each course being explained by the staff sometimes in an accent but always understandable. Water service was great.
All that being said, for us the food is the thing. As the restaurant provides you with a copy of the menu of your meal (very nice touch!), I can explain why we intend to return:
1. Kumamoto Oyster, Nori Chip with smoked Eel; Pumpernickel Pain Perdue with trout Roe. The Amuse Bouche. Smokey Oyster and Nori Chip were delicious; my wife also enjoyed the pain perdue which I found a little rich but still good.
2. Marinated Striped Jack: Nicely textured and flavored, maybe a little salty but my wife says no.
3. Charcoal Grilled Beets with yogurt and licorice: I hate beets, my wife loves them; we both hate licorice; this dish was just amazingly good. Amazingly. Good.
4. Shaved Foie Gras; really, really shaved; my wife found it pleasant, but I was really disappointed - not for Foie Gras lovers.
5. Smoked Pumpkin Agnolotti with black truffle (an add on): Very rich in a very good way, just delicious.
6. Olive Oil Poached Halibut with Kumquat in foam; mild flavor but very tasty.
7. Lamb Loin with GlazedTongue; just a wonderful dish, particularly the tongue.
8. Rose Pavlova (first dessert): very pleasant but not overwhelming.
9. Smoked Chocolate: mmm good
10. Little Cookie assortment: some original tastes here.
Courses 1,3,5 and 7 were simply outstanding and except for the Foie Gras everything else was very good, fresh and served perfectly. By the end we were pleasantly but completely full.
We had wines by the glass, and there are good choices but the $50 wine accompaniment which we overheard and saw looked like a deal.
The mel was unhurried and excpet for the one time gap the timing of the dishes was appropriate. The menu changes every couple of weeks and also in a more significant way seasonally. We plan to be back.

Date of visit: March 2017
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank sandbag7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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170 - 174 of 585 reviews

Reviewed 22 March 2017

We recently were taken to BOKA and had a very enjoyable evening and meal. The ambience is elegant, quiet and subdued. We started by sampling all of the appetizers (except the sweetbreads). The turnip soup was truly unique and were the broccoli tortellini. For main courses, we had the lupe de mer, cod, scallops and roasted chicken, all of which were beautifully presented, properly cooked and tasty. As a gourmet restaurant, portions are smaller than at a traditional American restaurant and prices on the higher end. But well worth the visit.

Date of visit: March 2017
Thank Bill L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2017 via mobile

We did the tasting menu ($120 each) and the wine pairing add on ($50 each). We later learned there was a more expensive wine pairing option.

It was supposed to be seven courses, but we ended up with nine. This became two hours of gluttony. One extra course came from the chef wanting us to try some sushi-like fish, which was great. The other extra course came because we didn't like the mushy and flavorless poached cod served. We were instead given a grilled bass, and it was amazing.

The experience was fun. Our waiter and his manager went out of their way to pamper us.

Also, their vanilla ice cream is awesome.

Date of visit: March 2017
Thank TroyM848
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2017 via mobile

My first visit here a few years ago was a phenomenal executive experience, but every other visit after that just didn't compare.

The dishes are elegantly prepared and portions are just right for a tasting menu (tho I'd be fine if they were a little lighter since I don't eat like a haus). This time every dish was just a little in the salty side.

Would always recommend their roasted chicken which is rarely in the tasting menu but if you are going al a carte go this route.

Date of visit: March 2017
Thank skankymonk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2017 via mobile

Everybody's so nice and welcoming here. The food is great. The cocktails were amazing; the Very talented bartenders topped our drinks with homemade flavoured oils that were just great! The amuse-bouche was a phenomenal crispy seaweed chip topped with eel. Both the cold and hot starters exceeded our expectations. The scallop entrée were tasty but less so than the rest of the menu in my opinion (I still devoured it though).
Overall a great experience. Worth the trip!

Date of visit: March 2017
Thank ThatThirteenthGuy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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