Get Carded

A gift card to one of Chicago's best restaurants is the perfect last-minute gift

Sometimes the best gifts are experiences that can be shared with others, not material things. Cross the remaining names off your holiday gift list in one fell swoop with gift cards to seven great Chicago restaurants. They're all available online, so consider your shopping done.

Au Cheval, West Loop
If you really love someone, slip a gift certificate to the home of Chicago's reigning cheeseburger into his or her stocking, along with the following instructions: "Order the single cheeseburger ($11), top with an obligatory fried egg and bacon, and pair with an order of fries ($6)."

Sushi Dokku, West Loop
Since gift wrapping a few pieces of Sushi Dokku's crave-worthy tuna truffle nigiri ($11) isn't likely to end well, go for the next best thing: a gift card. Then your favorite sushi aficionado can stuff herself with West Loop's freshest raw bites.

Nightwood, Pilsen
Tucked away in Pilsen's Arts District, this cozy restaurant falls a bit off the beaten path of Chicago's dining scene. For that very reason, it's the perfect place to send a food-loving friend looking for new culinary adventures. The haute doughnuts ($5) at brunch and the cavatelli with short rib and sardine ragu ($22) will guarantee you a thank-you card.

Unite Urban Grill, West Town
Known for simple, American fare bursting with fresh ingredients, Unite Urban Grill is a crowd-pleaser—even picky aunts will relish the experience. The menu changes with the seasons, but rest assured there are plenty of options—including an impressive selection of vegetarian dishes—for every palate.

Travelle, Near North Side
What do you give the person who has everything? A meal at The Langham Chicago's sleek, upscale dining destination, of course. Offerings such as the inventive "seacuterie" ($27 or $49) and piri-piri chicken ($26) showcase chef Tim Graham's flair for fun, sharable food, and pastry chef Scott Green's desserts are the quickest way to bliss we've found.

ZED451, River North
Make sure your favorite carnivore has a meaty meal to look forward to in 2015: The restaurant is designed with a personalized experience in mind and flaunts enough hand-carved, fire-grilled meats and buffet-style harvest offerings to satisfy even the greatest of appetites.

Big Jones, Andersonville
Spoil a loved one rotten with award-winning fried chicken ($23 for a half chicken), Carolina shrimp burgers ($15) and skillet cornbread ($6) without having to spring for a plane ticket to the South. Buy a gift card online and preorder a copy of chef-owner Paul Fehribach's cookbook ($30) while you're at it.