In a Nutshell: Nestled in the heart of Lincoln Square, Bistro Campagne features country French fare in a charming Prairie-style cottage with one of the most adorable patios in the city.
Ambiance: Inside or out, it’s hard to go wrong. The restaurant feels like the French countryside meets the best of the Midwest. Ever since Takashi closed (may it RIP), this is my favorite example of a restaurant curating an atmosphere that feels like you’re dining at the home of a good friend who happens to be a great cook. The building is a free-standing little house complete with hallmark Frank Lloyd Wright style details: stained glass windows, clean lines and beautiful wood trim. Heading outside, the patio completes the charm with white table clothes and lights strung around the enclosed garden.
Service: I have been here at least half a dozen times over the years, including Easter brunch and various dinners, and nearly all of those have featured attentive, unassuming service. The only time I ever had a poor experience was on a busy Saturday night during Restaurant Week. So, while I won’t be rushing back for a RW prix fixe menu again, the service otherwise feels consistently solid.
Beverages: As you might imagine, they focus almost exclusively on French wine. The surprise comes from the very reasonable price points- nearly all the wines by the glass are under $12 and there a number of bottles for $50 and under. A pretty robust cocktail list is also an unexpected treat complete with both classic and contemporary offerings.
Food: This is not haute cuisine. There are some very expensive, fancy establishments downtown for that. The focus here is definitely French comfort with fresh, local and sustainable meat and produce. For brunch, some of my favorites are: the quiche and omelette du jour and the Confit de Conard (scrumptious duck hash). As for dinner, their burger is absolutely mouthwatering, the risotto delights and the pork shoulder is pretty much perfection. Dinner is also an excellent choice for accommodating a group on different budgets: they have a number of sandwiches and larger appetizers for under $15 as well as hearty, slightly more gourmet mains in the mid $20s.
The Devil’s in the Details: In a fickle dining scene like Chicago, it can be difficult to sustain quality and consistency with ever-changing trends and tastes. The adorable setting, affordable wine list and a commitment to tried and true dishes with locally sourced, sustainable ingredients is why Bistro Campagne has been going strong since 2002.
Photo credit: Provided by restaurant management via Trip Advisor