Blogger Reviews the Fine Dining Options at Ravinia

Repost from Chicago Foodie Sisters

When you think of Ravinia in Highland Park, the first thing you probably think of is music. You may not, however, immediately think of food. But, you should. You really, really should. Ravinia Festival is the ideal Chicago-area dinner and show spot.

Chicago Foodie Sisters was recently invited to get a taste of what they have to offer at a food blogger dinner hosted for #Foodiechats at the Park View Restaurant on the grounds of Ravinia. It's one of several areas on the property where you can dine to enhance your evening. If you thought that a summer concert meant you were limited to overpriced nachos and hot dogs that you grab at a stand after waiting in an insanely long line, you couldn't be more wrong.

There are several dining options at Ravinia Festival that range from pre-ordered picnic boxes to quick, but quality take-away sandwiches and salads to leisurely indoor or al fresco dining of seafood, prime rib and more with wines from around the globe. It's the best place to enjoy live music if you're both a concertgoer and a foodie.

We had an opportunity to try ALL of the appetizers. :) Guacamole with tortilla strips. Hummus Crudite with baby seasonal veggies and naan. Grilled Spanish Octopus with potato chorizo, kalamata olives and farmer's cheese. Mediterranean Shrimp Cocktail with cilantro garlic yogurt. Hummus Kawarma with braised lamb and pomegranate. All were amazing. The cilantro garlic yogurt was such a refreshing touch, taking it a step beyond traditional shrimp cocktail. And the braised lamb with hummus and naan was hard to resist.

The beautiful presentations led to a fun outdoor photo shoot on the patio. It's always fun to dine with fellow food bloggers who get you. We know that it's forbidden to take a bite before you've gotten a shot of the plate from every angle. They understand that the food may be a little cold by the time we get to it, but that it's well worth it to document every bite (after all if you didn't Instagram it with an awesome filter, did it ever really happen?) And no one bats an eye when you stand on chairs to get a bird's eye view with your big clunky camera.

Entree selection was pretty difficult. Everything sounded amazing - from the Mushroom Tagliatelle to the Wood-Roasted Chicken to the Pan-Seared Halibut. I opted for the Roasted Salmon with summer tomato, avocado cream, cucumber, dill and crispy potato. I savored every bite - ranks up there as one of my top salmon dishes ever (and I've eaten a lot of salmon.) It was really superb and totally worth taking the extra time to visit Park View for a pre-show dinner.

There was little room left for dessert, but I was warned by Allie, Ravinia's social media gal that "If you don't try the Cappuccino Crunch Pie, you didn't go to Ravinia." If she said it was a must, I knew it had to be tried. It's a special ice cream flavor made especially for Ravinia by the supplier and Allie wasn't kidding. You have to try it. It's ice cream, but in pie form and it is simply amazeballs. :) Be sure to save room for it.

And of course, after a dinner at Ravinia, we had to take in a show. That night blues legend Buddy Guy was headlining with Booker T. Jones opening. I'm such a fan of blues. One of our favorite trips ever was to Memphis where we soaked in all the fantastic fun of Beales Street and the blues clubs. My favorite movie of all time is the Blues Brothers. So, I was pretty stoked to see the show. Buddy Guy (at age 80!) put on a phenomenal show - such a master of his craft and just a really cool cat. It was a perfect finish to a perfect summer night - of food, new foodie friends and music under the stars at the beautiful Ravinia Festival.