There’s always a good story behind the dates I plan with one of my college best friends/roomies, Susan. Whether it’s something as simple as “I’m craving a margarita” or “I need to run an errand in Lincoln Park, come with and get dinner with me after,” I’ll use anything as an excuse to catch up with my personal ray of sunshine over good drinks and good food.
This past February, Susan and I were wandering around Lincoln Park (one of our favorite Chicago neighborhoods) in the freezing cold and stumbled across a very inviting restaurant called Summer House Santa Monica. From the outside, it was glowing a summery yellow, had lights strung across the pitched ceiling, and worn-looking wood details. It was like Southern California landed in Chicago. We were drawn in immediately. Unfortunately, the place was packed and we weren’t looking to wait, so we searched elsewhere.
Fast-forward to July; last night, to be exact. Susan and I made plans to finally have dinner at Summer House. This time, we thought ahead and made a reservation (we can’t blame the place, it’s clearly a popular spot for couples, singles, and groups of friends). Here’s what you need to know: five months was 100% worth the wait.
We started with cocktails. For Susan, a Palm Fizz (aromatized wine, apple, lemon, prosecco, rosemary). For myself, a Monte Cali (bourbon, benedictine, angostura bitters). A+ start to the evening. Our waiter, Erik, walked us through the menu, pointing out his favorites and dishes that have become guest favorites. Susan ordered a lobster pasta and I ordered a wood-grilled burger. We were loving the atmosphere, our food/drinks, and our waiter so much that we decided to stick around for desert. Erik’s recommendation was the Trifecta Fudge Cake, complete with peanut butter fudge, hot fudge, and salted bittersweet chocolate. (Is there even a way to say no to that combination?)
Long story short, if you’re looking for a restaurant with a great vibe, great service, and an even better menu, you need to check out Summer House Santa Monica in Lincoln Park. Personally, I love California and summer (I’m a Cali baby born in July), but don’t want to leave Chicago quite yet, so this restaurant was pretty much made for me. And, because we’re cute-like-that, Susan and I already have plans to make it back there before the end of summer. Whether that’s to try more cocktails or to see Erik again, we won’t say… but yeah, it’s both.