The places to go for a birthday, day off, or anytime you want something more exciting than your usual salad.

Ema
Shareable Mediterranean plates and house-baked breads highlight the vegetable-centric menu at this spacious River North locale from Top Chef winner and Intro alum C.J. Jacobson. Walls of windows and greenery growing from the ceiling bring the outdoors into the casual-chic space, which also encompasses raw wood tables, a full bar featuring Mediterranean wines and a rotisserie takeout area.