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Rounding out my Chicago Itinerary


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64 replies to this topic

#61 Fernwood

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 05:09 AM

Thank you all--this is an awesome amount of information and I'm enjoying the research (less fattening than the actual dining)!  Still hashing out a general plan with Mr. Fern.  We will be driving from and back to Cincinnati, not all the way from CT, thank goodness; the Chicago excursion is a mini-vacation embedded in a trip with family obligations in OH.  When I read those great menus though, I'm sorry we will be only two because I want to taste everything.  



#62 huiray

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 06:13 AM

Fern, hope you have a nice time whatever you two eventually decide on.  Do report back, that would be interesting!

 

BTW I realized something - IF you do go to G&tG on Monday, then the "walk over to the Aviary" that I suggested is non-operational as Aviary is closed Monday & Tuesday.  So your only opportunity to go there (with regards to when you are in town) would be Wednesday night.



#63 kayb

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 02:50 PM

Two places I've always loved on trips to Chicago are the Ashkenaz deli on Cedar, but I see from a recent Yelp review that it's closed, which is sad. And I dearly love the Original Pancake House on Bellevue. Their corned beef hash topped with over easy eggs is a thing of beauty.

 

Been a while since I was up there, but I always loved eating at Bistro 110, Shaw's Crab House, and Hugo's Frog Bar.


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#64 nsxtasy

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 05:24 PM

Oh, where to begin!  :)

 

North Pond is one of my favorite restaurants.  Just terrific.  Entrees are in the mid to upper thirties.  If that's too much, consider going there for Sunday brunch.  It's just as special in daylight as at night.  All of our leading mid-priced contemporary American restaurants - North Pond, Naha, Boka, MK, Acadia - are very good, and North Pond is my favorite of this group.

 

If you can swing a reservation and the money, my recent meal at Alinea was the best dinner in my life, even better than previous visits.  I've eaten at Grace, which is similarly priced, twice; the first time was excellent but my second dinner there, I was highly disappointed with the food as well as the service.

 

If you're looking for maximum value, some of our best places have nice three-course prix fixe lunch menus.  These include Naha ($26 - unlike the others I'll list, they recently changed to a set menu, one choice per course, no substitutions), Topolobampo ($25), Blackbird ($25), and Travelle ($29).

 

Our contemporary Mexican restaurants are definitely special, but I'm not sure I'd devote more than one meal in a short visit to them.  Topolobampo is pricy at dinner but great for lunch (see above), when its prices are similar to those at Frontera Grill.  Both Mexique and Salpicon, both previously mentioned, are very good as well.

 

I loved Sable when Heather Terhune was running it, but she recently left and I haven't been back since then, so I can't really express a currently-valid opinion until I do.

 

I love Purple Pig but they don't take reservations, and the waits to be seated at normal meal times are horrendous (one to two hours or more).  If you can go mid-afternoon or late at night, it's a great choice, otherwise you're better off somewhere that takes reservations so you don't have to wait.  If you enjoy a small plates format, I instead recommend GT Fish & Oyster for seafood.

 

If you've never had our delicious local specialty of deep-dish pizza, it's an absolute must.  Lou Malnati's is the leading practitioner and IMHO the very best in town; they have several locations in the downtown area as well as in the outlying neighborhoods and suburbs.

 

We have some terrific restaurants that specialize in breakfast/brunch, but the best are away from downtown (although easily accessible from public transportation).  I consider Jam the very best of these; other great ones also include M. Henry, Southport Grocery, and Bongo Room.

 

To add some variety to your itinerary, we have some terrific restaurants serving international cuisines, often with a contemporary spin.  The best of these include Salero (northern Spain), Carnivale (Latin fusion), La Sirena Clandestina (South American), Yusho (Asian fusion), and Mercat a la Planxa (tapas).  I absolutely love the food at Tanta (Peruvian), but it is excruciatingly noisy.  For more mainstream international cuisines, consider Italian at Piccolo Sogno, Piccolo Sogno Due, or tesori, or French bistro fare at La Sardine.

 

I do not like Publican, in part because it is horribly noisy, and in part because you're probably going to be stuck sitting at the two looooong communal tables.  Whoever dreamed up that concept should be shot.  I also do not like Girl & the Goat at all; I have found more misses than hits among the savory dishes, and the desserts are uniformly dreadful.  Little Goat Diner isn't much better; I ate there recently and several of the dishes had items swimming in grease.  Those two places were the worst meals I've had in Chicago in recent years.

 

If you want to try Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, Portillo's is a good place for both.  I wouldn't devote more than a lunch to them, though.

 

You mentioned Cincinnati; I visited there recently and really enjoyed my dinner at Jean Robert's Table.  For Sunday brunch, go to the Orchids at Palm Court. It's a sumptuous AYCE buffet.  Before or after brunch, spend a little time walking around the Cincinnati Hilton Nederland Plaza, the hotel where the restaurant is located; it's an art deco architectural gem, completely restored to its 1930s grandeur.


Edited by nsxtasy, 13 June 2015 - 06:04 PM.


#65 nsxtasy

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 05:27 PM



Two places I've always loved on trips to Chicago are the Ashkenaz deli on Cedar, but I see from a recent Yelp review that it's closed, which is sad. And I dearly love the Original Pancake House on Bellevue. Their corned beef hash topped with over easy eggs is a thing of beauty.

 

Been a while since I was up there, but I always loved eating at Bistro 110, Shaw's Crab House, and Hugo's Frog Bar.

 

Ashkenaz is indeed closed.  Bistro 110 closed several years ago, and the space is now Bar Toma, a bar/pizza concept from Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia fame.  If you're looking for a good French bistro, consider La Sardine.  For seafood, Shaw's is still good; their Sunday brunch buffet is absolutely awesome, but for a great seafood dinner, I prefer GT Fish & Oyster.


Edited by nsxtasy, 13 June 2015 - 05:48 PM.