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Where to take daughter in Chicago?


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7 replies to this topic

#1 aidensnd

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 06:44 PM

Heading to Chicago with my 13 year old daughter for a few days in November. She's a 'beginning' foodie. Loves GOOD steak, Kobe/Wagyu, Asian, Italian, and Pizza but not into offal or anything funky... She can definitely appreciate good food though. I was a high end pastry chef for many years so she also has a good eye for pastries/desserts.
We will be visiting the aquarium and staying somewhere nearby. Any help would be great as I haven't been to Chicago in years...

Thanks in advance!
Dan

#2 Alex

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 07:57 PM

If you find yourself in or near The Loop (Art Institute, Chicago Cultural Center, Theater District, Millenium Park, etc.), Toni Patisserie and Café is a wonderful place for lunch.

There are endless debates about Chicago steak houses. Based on my very limited experience with them, I can recommend Keefer's.

Jose Garces's Mercat a la Planxa is a fun tapas place.
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#3 kathryn

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 06:26 AM

Also near the Loop, try Do-Rite Donuts (L2O alums, check hours beforehand), and The Gage (gastropub).

2nd Mercat a la Planxa. I've also heard good things about Terzo Piano inside the Art Institute as well. Also nearby the Art Institute is Cafecito and their takeout window No. 5.

Note that it's a long-ish walk from any nearby hotel to Shedd's front door (15-20 minutes given that the paths through the park are not exactly direct) and the Field Museum. Also: buy tickets to Shedd online ahead of time!

However, near Shedd/Field Museum is the Bongo Room, with fun pancake flavors that a 13 year old may like a lot. I personally find it too sweet, but I'm no longer a teen. :)

Your teen may also like Garrett's Popcorn.

There's very little near Navy Pier; don't eat around there and make sure you plan around that.

Near Magnificent Mile in River North, check out GT Fish & Oyster, Xoco/Frontera Grill/Topolobampo (closed Sun/Mon, Topolo may be too formal but the food is excellent, Frontera is more casual but may be already booked up, Xoco is a quick service restaurant), Purple Pig (no reservations so go for lunch or early dinner), Sable.

Also nearby are Pizzeria Uno, Due, and Lou Malnati's -- this will be a very different style of pizza that you probably have at home as well. Some of them will allow you to call in your order beforehand as it can take 45 minutes to make.

Edited by kathryn, 18 October 2012 - 06:28 AM.

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#4 kaszeta

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 06:44 AM

The Gage is a good recommendation, as are the Bayless ones.

I'd also recommend the Publican. While a bit loud, it's one of the better charcuterie places I've been around there.

#5 tikidoc

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 07:05 AM

I would third the Bayless places, and I especially think XOCO would appeal to a kid. Great sandwiches, and fantastic hot chocolate with a churro for dessert. If you like a little spice, order ahogada (pork sandwich with pickled onions served dipped in a bowl of spicy tomato broth) with the Aztec (spiced) hot chocolate and churros. Yum.

#6 Boilerfood

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 07:58 AM

The Gage is a good recommendation, as are the Bayless ones.

I'd also recommend the Publican. While a bit loud, it's one of the better charcuterie places I've been around there.


I thought about the Publican too, but I think The Purple Pig might be more approachable.

#7 kathryn

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 08:36 AM

The Publican is not near any tourist sites. It's also only open for brunch and dinner. I am not sure the "beer hall" atmosphere of the Publican is going to appeal to a 13 year old. Not sure I've ever seen any kids there.

However, you might like Publican Quality Meats, their store next door, which does have soups, sandwiches, charcuterie, etc.

Purple Pig is closer to tourist attractions due to proximity to Magnificent Mile, serves the same menu all day, and I've definitely seen kids there.
"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

#8 nsxtasy

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:27 PM

Please clarify where you're staying. You mention the Shedd Aquarium, so it sounds like you might be staying in one of the hotels at the south end of the Loop. If so, the previously mentioned Bongo Room is convenient for breakfast - it's terrific - and Lou Malnati's has a location at 8th and State for deep-dish pizza. Mercat a la Planxa is also close by at that end of the Loop. If you're staying elsewhere - in the Loop, River North, or Magnificent Mile areas - there are some great restaurants convenient to each, so let us know and we can tell you which places are closest to where you're staying.

Kathryn mentioned Sable, which is my favorite restaurant in the greater downtown area. It has an open kitchen, and I think a 13-year-old would love watching the chefs prepping the dishes. The executive chef, Heather Terhune (of Top Chef fame), is usually there doing the chopping and prepping alongside her staff, and your daughter could be inspired by watching her work. The cuisine is contemporary American, with most of the dishes available in half portions so you can try a lot of things. Don't miss the sweet corn creme brulee, a savory riff on the classic French dessert. Sable is in River North near the south end of the Mag Mile. Also near there is Piccolo Sogno Due, an outstanding new Italian restaurant.

Edited by nsxtasy, 21 October 2012 - 02:40 PM.