How have I never been to Aquitaine before? Tucked away on busy and college bar ridden Lincoln Avenue in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago is the quaint, comfortable, and cozy French restaurant, named after the southwestern region in France which borders the Atlantic Ocean, Pyrenees mountain range, and the Spanish border. Opened in 2010, the kitchen is helmed by chef and owner Holly Willoughby, a veteran of David Burke’s Primehouse.
After starting with a glass of Champagne, my friend and I decided to share a number of appetizers. I am a sucker for pretty much any dish with a poached egg, so we ordered the baby kale salad with lemon, farro, shaved parmesan, poached egg, and a lemon vinaigrette. The salad was very flavorful, and the lemon made the salad bright and refreshing, while the farro and poached egg gave it some sustenance.
After spying a neighboring diner enjoying the cabernet poached pear salad, we had to try it. Featuring mixed greens, roquefort cheese, honey walnuts, and balsamic dressing, this was my favorite of the two salads.
We then enjoyed the saffron cream mussels, with fresh herbs, tomato, and crustini. The flavor of the mussels was good, but it could have used a bit more broth.
My favorite dish of the meal was the roasted potato gnocchi, with Atlantic lobster and sweet peas. The dish was served piping hot, the gnocchi were perfectly creamy, and it was overall very satisfying, without being heavy.
We wanted to end the meal with something sweet, and our server recommended the peach bread pudding, which did not disappoint. Served hot with fresh, seasonal peaches and a side of chantilly cream, it was the perfect end to a very good meal.
Overall, I really enjoyed our dinner and I will definitely return. The dining room is quaint and a bit romantic, so it is a perfect spot for a date night, or even a relaxing dinner with family. Service was good, but I would have appreciated a little bit more attention and thoughtful recommendations. Still, prices are very reasonable and it is a wonderful neighborhood dining option with dishes that are executed very well.
2221 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614