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The Lunch Bunch

So many great Chicago restaurants, so little time. Our solution? Dine out at lunchtime instead.

The main dining room and bar at Coco Pazzo

1. Sepia
WHO GOES: The Michelin-starred menu impresses regular patrons like Mayor Rahm Emanuel. INSIDER TIP: The Pinto Box, an all-in-one lunch box inspired by local designer Maria Pinto, comes in a variety of options, including ricotta cavatelli with peas and grana padano. WHAT TO ORDER: Chef Andrew Zimmerman is a big fan of the Sepia Burger with red onion jam and Camembert. SEASONS GREETINGS: Cod served with spinach, fresh chickpeas, rice cracker and rasam broth. 123 N. Jefferson St., 312.441.1920

2. Piccolo Sogno
WHO GOES: The rustic Italian fare attracts a mix of business-type regulars and international celebs. INSIDER TIP: The lunch menu includes both dairy- and gluten-free items. WHAT TO ORDER: The classic Neapolitan pizzas—we’re smitten with the bianca con rucola, with mozzarella, arugula and Reggiano curls—are Executive Chef Tony Priolo’s signature lunch specialties. SEASONS GREETINGS: Stracci di farro (farro flour pasta with mushrooms, asparagus, garlic and truffle oil). 464 N. Halsted St., 312.421.0077

3. Pelago
WHO GOES: Pelago offers a quiet oasis just steps from the crowds of Michigan Avenue. A no-children-under-12 policy means Pelago’s guests can relax in the fine-dining tranquility. INSIDER TIP: In addition to its a la carte dishes, Pelago offers two-course ($28) and three-course ($34) menus. WHAT TO ORDER: Chef Mauro Mafrici says the seared snapper filet with a balsamic reduction is a simple yet popular choice. SEASONS GREETINGS: Roasted organic pork chop with herbs and vegetables (what Mafrici calls “my nonna style”). 201 E. Delaware Place, 312.280.0700

4. Naha
WHO GOES: Ladies who lunch, business types and even wine purveyors. INSIDER TIP: The Mediterranean fusion option includes multiple choices for the three-course menu ($25) as well as lunchtime staples. WHAT TO ORDER: Co-owner Michael Nahabedian recommends the Southern fried chicken salad with hearts of romaine, roasted corn, candied pecans and buttermilk ranch dressing. SEASONS GREETINGS: Mediterranean spreads of fava and capers, roasted beet and sumac, and broccoli and tahini served with warm pita bread. 500 N. Clark St., 312.321.6242

5. Coco Pazzo
WHO GOES: The Tuscan landmark draws the who’s who crowd of the music world, including CSO maestro Riccardo Muti and Renée Fleming of Lyric Opera. INSIDER TIP: If you are looking to eat on the healthier side, ask the chef for an off-the-menu selection. WHAT TO ORDER: Owner Jack Weiss suggests the insalata di carciofini, a salad of thinly sliced baby artichokes mixed with arugula and lemon oil vinaigrette. SEASONS GREETINGS: Organic fava beans served with crispy pancetta, lemon vinaigrette and Tuscan pepper. 300 W. Hubbard St., 312.836.0900