An Unexpected California-Style Dining Experience at “Pacific Standard Time" Restaurant in Chicago

When I saw the white building with the name Pacific Standard Time in the River North areas of Chicago, I was a bit perplexed. Somehow, I didn’t get the memo that we were going to a restaurant whose menu was inspired by a convergence of West Coast cuisines. My wife Cecile, her sister Sherry and our niece Emily and I joined our nephew Jacob Schwimmer, his wife Amy and her well-traveled parents Mark and Sharon.

The eatery bills itself as, “A restaurant that brings the warmth and authenticity of California farms and artisans to the heart of downtown Chicago.” The large contiguous windows that wrapped around the exterior threw off plenty of light. The warm wood accents and spacious interior gave it a comfortable and casual feel just like restaurants in the South SF Bay Area. 

Jacob, who is the general manager of Nico Osteria—a critically acclaimed Gold Coast seafood restaurant—made the arrangements. It turns out one of the former chefs from Nico is the executive chef and one of the co-owners of Pacific Standard Time. Jacob, who has been in and around the food and hospitality business since the early 2000s has never steered us wrong. Our 3 hour plus feast of the senses did not disappoint. 

We shared a number of dishes including: Pizza, Roasted Beet Salad, Marinated Ahi Tuna, Swordfish, Roasted Black Cod, Roasted Skirt Steak, Palm Sugar, Lime, and Red-Curried Chicken Wings and fresh oven backed pita bread. We topped it off with Olive Oil Cake with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream to name a few.