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Restaurants Near O'Hare Airport


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I need a little help. A friend of mine living in San Francisco is traveling on business, and will have a 4 hour layover in Chicago.

We thought it would be nice to meet up at a decent restaurant near O'Hare Airport to have a nice lunch, and play catch up. However, neither one of us are familiar with the restaurants surrounding O'Hare.

I welcome any restaurant suggestions. Please note we do not want to "break the bank", but would like to have a very enjoyable experience.

Are we better off driving a little further into the city?

Thanks in advance.

LSD

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I need a little help.  A friend of mine living in San Francisco is traveling on business, and will have a 4 hour layover in Chicago. 

We thought it would be nice to meet up at a decent restaurant near O'Hare Airport to have a nice lunch, and play catch up.  However, neither one of us are familiar with the restaurants surrounding O'Hare.

I welcome any restaurant suggestions.  Please note we do not want to "break the bank", but would like to have a very enjoyable experience. 

Are we better off driving a little further into the city?

Thanks in advance.

LSD

The place I'd go to first is Carlucci, a good northern Italian spot with a very good chef. It's only about 5 minutes away, just outside the airport on River Road in Rosemont.

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Here are three recommendations for great food, all within 10 minutes drive of O'Hare:

1. Black Ram Steakhouse is a restaurant in Des Plaines. All of the food there is absolutely GREAT - the steaks, the seafood, the desserts, everything. It doesn't get a lot of press, but it gets a lot of repeat business. The proprietor greets lots of arriving guests by name. If you're looking for a great steakhouse (and seafood) restaurant that nobody ever heard of, this is it.

Black Ram Steak House

1414 Oakton St.

Des Plaines, IL 60019

847.824.1227

2. Pizza. I think the most impressive and unique specialty in Chicago is our Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. One of the very best is Giordano's, which specializes in a double-crust "stuffed" pizza. You can phone your order ahead of time if you want to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake; you can find their menu on their website.

Giordano's

9415 West Higgins Road

Rosemont

(847)292-2600

3. Flamingo's Seafood - Another place near O'Hare is my very favorite Mexican restaurant in the entire Chicago area (heck, the best Mexican food I've had outside of Mexico). It's called Flamingo's Seafood, in the suburb of Mount Prospect. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. They specialize in Mexican seafood dishes, and always have a large number of daily specials in addition to their extensive regular menu. Last time I was there I had a grilled Chilean sea bass with guava habanero sauce and crushed pumpkin seeds that was to die for. Located at Busse Road and Dempster, just north of Algonquin Road. Take I-90 westbound, exit at York Road, go north to Algonquin, and turn left.

Flamingo's Seafood

1590 S. Busse Road

Mt. Prospect IL

847-364-9988

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  • 2 years later...

Any current recommendations on O'Hare-adjacent restaurants? I've got 5 hours around lunchtime next week, and unfortunately it looks like some of the restaurants mentioned on this thread a couple years ago aren't around anymore. I'm meeting up with a friend (who's new to town and doesn't know much), and we want some place where we can plop down, catch up, eat something delicious, and not spend too much time in transit. Ideas?

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Any current recommendations on O'Hare-adjacent restaurants? I've got 5 hours around lunchtime next week, and unfortunately it looks like some of the restaurants mentioned on this thread a couple years ago aren't around anymore. I'm meeting up with a friend (who's new to town and doesn't know much), and we want some place where we can plop down, catch up, eat something delicious, and not spend too much time in transit. Ideas?

Would your friend be willing to meet you at the airport? It's about 45-50 minutes from the Loop via the Blue Line, if all goes well (+ a bit of a walk to the actual terminal). Rick Bayless recently opened Tortas Frontera, in Terminal 1, Concourse B. Frommer's Travel Guides just named it one of the 10 best airport restaurants in the U.S.

eGullet contributor nsxtasy offers other suggestions here.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Would your friend be willing to meet you at the airport? It's about 45-50 minutes from the Loop via the Blue Line, if all goes well (+ a bit of a walk to the actual terminal).

Sorry, but your friend won't be able to have access to the terminal concourses unless he/she is on a flight or is an airline employee. So that won't work.

It's true that some of the places in the vicinity of the airport have closed, including Black Ram and Flamingo's. There are several good steakhouses in Rosemont close to the airport, including Gibson's and Morton's. There's also a McCormick and Schmick's for seafood fans.

Five hours gives you plenty of time to take the el to the various places mentioned in Alex's link, such as Giordano's for stuffed pizza, Smoque for barbecue, Lula for local/seasonal American, or even to go all the way downtown (such as to the French Market).

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Would your friend be willing to meet you at the airport? It's about 45-50 minutes from the Loop via the Blue Line, if all goes well (+ a bit of a walk to the actual terminal).

Sorry, but your friend won't be able to have access to the terminal concourses unless he/she is on a flight or is an airline employee. So that won't work.

Right. Wasn't thinking. Thanks.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Wicker Park is more adjacent to the downtown than the airport. Depending on traffic, you might be fine. On Irving (4000 north) in the Old Irving Park neighborhood is Sabatino's at 4441 W Irving (west of the Kennedy Epwy) which is old style Italian. If you want traditional Italian closer to the airport, there is Basilico at 4701 N Cumberland (8400 west) south of the Kennedy. At the upper end is Carlucci's in Rosemont at 6111 N. River Road. There is an outpost of Gino's Pizza at 8725 W Higgins, also close. Also to the north of O'Hare is a Harry Caray's at 10233 W Higgins. One other intersting one is Cafe la Cave at 2777 N Mannheim near the Allstate Arena, but I believe they are only a dinner choice.

Another neighborhood not far from the airport is Edison Park. It would be reached by city streets and not the expressway, but they have Zia's, Nonno Pino's and Moretti's.

You can catch cabs to places more local to the airport, but I might offer one piece of advice. Tell both the cab starter and the cabbie you are going more local. Many of them have sat for hours in line waiting for a fare and their hope and fantasy is that it is a full ride to the Loop or further. By telling them it is a short ride, they can get a ticket allowing them back in line further up than the back of the line.

"A cloud o' dust! Could be most anything. Even a whirling dervish.

That, gentlemen, is the whirlingest dervish of them all." - The Professionals by Richard Brooks

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It sounds like perhaps you didn't look in the link that Alex provided in his post. In it, there are recommendations for various places near stops on the CTA Blue Line (the el - that's our subway - that you can catch at the airport). All of those recommendations are within a five-minute walk from an el stop on that line. Even if you're driving, the Kennedy Expressway (I-90) from the airport parallels the Blue Line, so these are still good recommendations if your friend picks you up at the airport. Many of these places offer more unusual cuisine including various local specialties, places that are well-known among local "foodies". Places mentioned in that link, starting with the el stop closest to the airport and working inbound towards downtown, include:

Giordano's (Rosemont stop on the el - their Rosemont/Higgins location) for double-crust "stuffed pizza"

Al's #1 Italian Beef (Cumberland stop - their Park Ridge/Higgins location) for Italian beef sandwiches and Chicago-style hot dogs

Smoque (Irving Park stop), for dry-rub barbecue with a strong smoky flavor

Lula (Logan Square stop), for local/seasonal cuisine (a popular choice among vegetarians, although they also serve meat and seafood)

Belly Shack (Western stop), for casual Asian and Latin cuisine

Fuego (Western stop), for creative provincial Mexican cuisine and great moles

Those last two places are in the Bucktown neighborhood, north of Wicker Park, so you can see that Wicker Park is indeed most of the way downtown from the airport.

Check their websites for their hours, as several of these places are not open on certain days of the week (Lula is closed Tuesdays, Smoque and Fuego are closed Mondays, etc).

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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