The dining room — all crisp lines, minimalist décor and soft lighting — is anchored by a wide open kitchen on one side and a small patio with a working fireplace on the other. Combined with the friendly service, it creates the impression that you’re eating in a supremely tasteful Scandinavian friend’s weekend home.
Great 1 Star. One of the best in Chicago.
It was great
Great food good ambiance. Not sure the up charge on wine was worth the value.
It was one of the most beautiful, unique and well executed meals I have ever had.
Elske embodies hygge. The staff was warm and welcoming, and didn’t flinch at us asking to have drinks outside by the fire - in the middle of February, instead they brought out blankets. The service continued throughout our meal. The wine selection was diverse and if you’re into cocktails, the Milk Punch is smooth and deep. The food is very good, especially for a competitive neighborhood like West Loop. Looking forward to returning.
The food was simply amazing and approachable. The only dish that was forgettable was a fried artichoke - it mostly tasted oily and lacked depth of flavor. My only complaint was during the tasting menu it felt a bit rushed...to the point we asked our waitress if she could slow down a bit. They happily obliged and we had a great rest of the night. Highly recommend you do the tasting menu with wine pairing if it’s your first time in!
Had the chef tasting menu and wine pairing. Food was very good, but not amazing. Wines complimented the meal well, just would have liked a heavier pour. Final bill with tip was 420 for two people. Had a higher expectation at this price point.
Had dinner Sat night and everything was great from the time we got there. I would recommend to anyone I know.
We have eaten here twice, coming back last week thinking after our first visit maybe a little two much wine had made the menu unmemorable. Unfortunately, I felt the same way the second time.
I know it’s a gourmet menu, but I thought the food selections were so odd, that we were almost poking fun at the strange descriptions, and it didn’t even taste good.
I’m not a novice diner, and am open to experimentation, but I won’t be returning.
We had an 8:00 reservation and they were already sold out of two dishes we wanted. So we ended up eating what we really didn’t want.
Interesting, contentious but not satisfying
I had been very excited to visit elske and it didn't wow me. I generally love chefs tasting menus but this tasting left more to be desired. Along with the tasting we ordered the bread, the scallops and risotto. Those three dishes were delicious and inventive and much better then the entire chef's tasting. The short ribs in the tasting were chewy and overly fatty, not good.
Overall, elske is worth a visit but I wouldn't recommend ordering the chefs tasting. Order a la carte or you'll leave wanting more.
Birthday very attentive staff
The apparent simplicity of the food belies the skill and care that go into the execution and preparation. Rabbit was just cooked just right without drying out; anchovies were simply plated with just a kiss of lemon and oil on top of grilled bread (plus touch of sweetness from fennel pollen). While I am not in general a big fan of desserts the pomegranate-poached quince was truly sublime with a balance of sweet and tart. Kudos to server Eli who knows his wine and, importantly, let me set the pace of my meal. Another fine and deeply satisfying meal from the Elske team.
An outstanding 21st Birthday celebration!! From the Publican bread and cheese and crackers to the 3 desserts we ordered to finish our meal, everything was superb. Service was friendly, polite and non intrusive. Just perfect. Every dish prepared to quality standards. We shared everything among 3 people. Bonus: the vibe is lively AND you can still talk at a reasonable level and have conversation that can be enjoyed by all!! Will definitely return. Feels like you’re dining in someone’s home, not the usual restaurant.
This was my third visit to Elske, and each time it's been excellent. The four of us shared small plates, and they were all incredibly flavorful. I couldn't say which one I liked best! We also loved the bread (I think from Publican?) and the homemade butter. Of course, we also had dessert, and it was totally worth the calories. Very cozy atmosphere. Wish it hadn't been so cold, or we would have lounged by the outside fire. It's not an inexpensive meal.
The food was perfect. Every single course from start to end was excellent. A rare accomplishment for even the most expensive tasting menus in town
A lovely dinner! The smell of the outdoor fireplace sets a wonderful mood as you enter the restaurant thru the courtyard. Service was competent, and pacing of courses was perfect (not something I can say for all restaurants). Dishes were wonderful, particularly the pastas. The fish dish was a fried version, that at first seemed odd, but was moist and served with a tasty sauce. Desserts met the desires of the four of us....my wife loved the service berry fluff, I enjoyed the sophistication of the bee pollen dessert,while the third, met the approval of all! The wine list is interesting and has options to match with the various dishes. All in all a tasty and fun evening!
Sunflower parfait is amazing. Chef Anna's desserts are light and very flavorful. It's a great way to end the meal without feeling heavy. Pickling the shrimp was a great way to add acidity to the steak dish. Felt like a little play on surf n turf? All dishes had very strong balance and thought into each component.
A friend and I came to do the prix fixe menu to celebrate her birthday. She chose, and I was admittedly a little skeptical about a Scandinavian menu, but our meal was incredible! All of the dishes were prepared with care and had incredible flavor profiles. We also left very full! The wine pairings were great as well, although some were not served in sync with the meals. Overall, highly recommend!
We have been to Elske more than a dozen times (always the tasting menu, usually with the non-alcoholic pairing). It has never disappointed. The cuisine is spectacular and spectacularly different than one can find anywhere else in Chicago. One leaves feeling filled up, but not stuffed. The service is always excellent--attentive but not smothering. Strangely enough it reminds us of Tallgrass, in Lockport, in that from the moment you walk in, you feel comfortable, and sense that the whole staff wants you to have a relaxed and very satisfying evening.
Delicious, innovative food plated beautifully served with friendly professionalism. Elske is a true gem. Love it!
We try to eat at Elske about one a month, and we have never been disappointed. Elske fully deserves its Michelin star! Food, service and ambiance are all outstanding. We select items from the a la carte menu rather than the tasting menu. Elske has a menu I can only describe as "quirky." It never ceases to amaze us. At first glance some ingredients might be unusual to some diners; the dishes, which are intended for sharing, are novel and always flavorful. One of our favorites this time was the celeriac risotto. We always order the Publican bread and butter and take home the remains - delicious. Our server Marie was superb - attentive, responsive, and very knowledgeable about the dishes themselves and the number that should be ordered for a meal. We love the relaxed and casual ambiance (this despite the kitchen's and servers' consistent, professional attention to every detail of dining) and the noise level which allows easy conversation.
Beautiful experience at Elske for NYE dinner! This is a place where you can enjoy Nordic living and dining -inside and outdoors -- we loved the winter patio and having drinks sitting by fire under cozy blankets to start. Our server was very knowledgeable and polished. Not overly involved but completely attentive the way it should be. The courses and the overall experience was just so nice, uncluttered, smooth and just perfect from start to finish (that smoked tea!). One area that I'd love to see amped up a bit are the pastries or desserts. I loved our selection for the NYE menu but I wondered if we might get some of that delicious cardamom influence for the holiday season or a little richer dessert experience. The dessert almost felt too healthy at the end of a sumptuous dinner with champagne tasting. I think more daring dessert options will come as the chefs evolve their style. Overall Elske is deserving of all the accolades and praise - what an accomplishment!
Excellent, and busy place. They really took care of us and provided good food. Can’t wait to go back!
I enjoyed a fantastic evening at Elske, on Saturday, Dec 28th, 2019. I arrived early, sat outside in the stunning courtyard by the roaring fire, wrapped in a deerskin fur and added a soft blanket from a thoughtful basket nearby, sipping a lovely chilled glass of white wine.
Sitting solo, at the Bar I began my 8-course dinner, paired with wine. Superb. I experienced delicate flavors, scents, strong creative pairings, nothing like I have ever experienced.
Highlights for me were the caramelized cauliflower with quince and radicchio, the duck liver tart with salted ramp and buckwheat, sunflower seed parfait with honey, bee pollen and licorice root paired with a delightful Maderia.
A memorable meal, with excellent Staff, the two fellows at the bar were most professional and attentive. Thank you Team Elske!
Loved Elske ...the setting is so simple classic Scandinavian style. it was too cold but loved looking at the fireplace outside all nite. The food is delicious. We did the tasting course and would recommend that to everyone. Just an incredible sampling of a variety of dishes. Cant wait to go back again!
Beautiful space, unique cuisine, incredible service.
Excellent food, nice ambiance, excellent service. We had a wonderful time.
Tasting menu is a steal but looking at some of the other dishes it sort of feels like you are maybe missing out on some of the best stuff. Will go back and order from menu. Two of the tables around me had issues, one wobbled for two sets of guests and the other seemed to be sliding around the floor. These are the small details that, if fixed, could bring this restaurant to another level. Staff were extremely polite and very well trained. One thing I found strange was that they wet cloth wiped the table right in front of us between each course. I guess this would make sense if it was necessary but there was nothing on the table and it just struck me as weird and sort of off putting. I assume this was part of their training but something they may want to rethink. Overall excellent food, pleasant experience, and great wine pairing. Also, the outdoor seating area around the fire is fantastic!
Very unique dishes and attentive service. An excellent experience!
Love this place! Simple, elegant, and delicious food! I've gone back a few times and can't wait to go again. The a la carte menu is reasonable and wine selection complimentary. So glad this gem is just around the corner from where I live!
Can’t believe we only discovered this place on their third anniversary. Creative, delicious food, knowledgeable helpful service in a fun environment. We’ll be back many times.
The best thing about the night was there housemaid sparkling water. The food was fresh but not flavorful especially. Noise level was louder than it should have been. The wine list was good and moderately priced
This restaurant is the definition of hygge. The moment the four of us walked into the courtyard with the fire blazing, it was so warm and welcoming. Our server was great and suggested the right number of dishes to be shared. The glug was warm and seasonal without it being too sweet nor too alcoholic. We went with the a la carte menu and had the anchovies; aged gouda; endive salad; kombu cured fluke as appetizers. They were delicious and set the right tone. The salad went very well with the fluke as our server suggested. Next was the celeriac risotto, which was amazing as well as the annatto zucca. It was hard to believe it was celeriac and not actually risotto. Our main proteins were the pork belly; fried sea bass and the wagyu flap. All were flavorful and satisfying. I think our least favorite was the sea bass, as it is fried with something like a corn meal batter, which we did not expect. Still good, but not as good as the melt in your mouth pork belly or the tender beefy wagyu. We finished off with the baked apple and a couple of glasses of schnapps. It was a leisurely dinner that did not seem drawn out.
We would recommend and return.
It’s a sweet place but last night we had some highs and lows on both food and service. The bartender was fairly unfriendly - a little sarcastic - and the waiter started out great but then disappeared for long periods and the group we were with got a little tired of waiting, and got filled up just sitting there waiting for courses. Highs and lows on dishes - too much salt on a few, too little acid but a few others were really solid. Not our best night at Elske.
We celebrated our wedding anniversary. The restaurant took the added step of printing Happy Anniversary on our menu. The food, ambience and quality are all well balanced. Great venue to have a 2-3 couples dinner and catch up with friends.
Incredible in every way!
Had a 9pm reservation but didn’t get seated for nearly 30 mins after. A bit annoying but it gave us a chance to enjoy cocktails from the bar. Otherwise an overall great experience!
I had very high hopes after reading a review in Bon Appetit. The atmosphere at Elske was very charming. We loved the outdoor fireplace. The waitstaff was accommodating to our dietary restrictions and very nice, but he seemed to be a little busy with many tables. The menu was intriguing but I was a little disappointed to learn that the plates were small and that we needed 2-3 per person. For the most part the food was good but we were disappointed with the “risotto” which could have been delicious had it not been so salty. All in all a good meal but not a place that I’m eager to return to.