Paid Post: Downtown Evanston is home to over 90 restaurants, making it the “Dining Capital of the North Shore.” But, it’s not just the number of restaurants, it is the extraordinary range of cuisines and styles that make it so.

While Evanston’s downtown has welcomed many new restaurants in the past year, there remain some classics and a few newcomers that we encourage you to try during the winter months, especially because you can take advantage of great deals as part of Chicago’s North Shore Restaurant Month.

Throughout February, beat cabin fever by trying out a handful of these dining specials. For those of you that often skip dessert, you just can’t pass it up when it’s free. Boltwood, The Cellar at The Stained Glass, Cupitol Coffee & Eatery, Five & Dime, La Macchina Café, Lulu’s, Pete Miller’s, The Stained Glass and Taco Diablo are all offering a free dessert with purchase of an entrée.

Several restaurants are offering delicious prix fixe meals for an exceptional price. For the craft beer lovers, Bangers and Lace has a 4-course meal for only $40.00. The beloved French restaurant, Bistro Bordeaux is offering a 3-course prix fixe for $33.00 featuring traditional French cuisine with a twist by new Executive Chef John Slack – tres romantique!

An impressive contemporary American favorite, Hearth Restaurant is offering a 2-course prix fixe for only $15.00 and one of Evanston’s favorite restaurants, Koi Fine Asian Cuisine and Lounge is offering a 3-course meal for only $30.00 as well as a Chinese New Year Celebration, Saturday February 4 complete with a traditional lion dance at 7:30pm. And, if you haven’t checked out Whiskey Thief Tavern, this is a great excuse to experience a 3-course lunch menu for $22.00 or 3-course dinner menu for $33.00. Still on your New Year’s diet? The 4-course meal at Lyfe Kitchen is $25.00 will keep you on the healthy track.

If you are just looking for a good bargain, these restaurants are offering 15% off guest checks: The Celtic Knot Public House, Chef’s Station, Etown Bistro, Found Kitchen and Social House, Prairie Moon, Smylie Brother’s Brewing Company and Terra and Vine (15% off check Tuesday – Sunday and 3-course dinner for only $28.00 Sunday – Thursday).

February is also time to celebrate with your sweetie for St. Valentine’s Day. Get creative together at Bottle and Bottega where you can paint and enjoy a bottle of wine. On Saturday, February 11, you can make it an afternoon family affair or a couples party in the afternoon or evening. Music lovers will enjoy an evening of “Romantic Duos” performed by the Rembrandt Chamber Musicians at the Music Institute of Chicago on February 12.

You’re in luck if you need a staycation! Two downtown hotels have special Valentine’s Day packages. From February 8 to 15, The Margarita European Inn is offering accommodations for two in a king room complete with a bottle of champagne, six chocolate covered strawberries, continental breakfast in the Grand Parlor and a $25 voucher for your next stay, all for $159 plus taxes.

Check-in to the newly renovated Holiday Inn Chicago North-Evanston any Friday or Saturday in February to enjoy these Valentine’s Day treats – sparkling wine, breakfast for two and chocolate covered strawberries delivered to your room.

And of course, there are plenty of romantic gifts available at downtown Evanston’s boutiques. Ayla’s Originals limited edition “Heart to Heart” necklace is a heart-shaped freshwater pearl paired with either a ruby, sapphire or emerald and hung delicately from a sterling silver of 14K gold-filled chain. Stop by Eve J. Alfille Studio & Gallery on February 11 to shop the new Valentine’s series and enjoy bubbly and treats.

While some consider it old-fashioned, the flower specials available at FlowersFlowers, Saville Flowers and Bloom 3 will surely make someone smile. And, if your Valentine has a sweet tooth, Patisserie Coralie’s “Love at First Bite” raspberry and dark chocolate pastry will do the trick. View more Valentine’s Day ideas here.

Come and enjoy all that Downtown Evanston has to offer in February! 

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