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pistolabella

Chicago dining out

19 posts in this topic

I'm planning a week long trip to Chicago in a couple months and already obsessing about all of the great food we will eat. While I have a few favorites I want to visit, and plan on doing some nice dinners out, I'd love any tips or recommendations for trying a great place without being too spendy. For example - what nice restaurant has a lunch special or fixed price lunch that's amazing? Who's bar can't be missed for a great drink and appetizers?  All types of cuisine are good. We are staying in Old Town but will be in various parts of the city of course so also pretty open re: neighborhoods. 

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Prix fixe lunch: definitely Naha and Blackbird

 

What are those "few favorites" of yours?


Edited by Alex (log)

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."

 

The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh. -Nida Fazli, poet (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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I almost forgot another prix fixe: the amazing GT Fish & Oyster

 

All the ones I've mentioned so far are between $25 and $27.


Edited by Alex (log)

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."

 

The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh. -Nida Fazli, poet (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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Bars w/food:

Check out this article from Thrillist (Reload the page, but stop the reload immediately after the article appears; that'll help to avoid the annoying "join us to see the article" box.)

 

Also Rootstock,


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."

 

The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh. -Nida Fazli, poet (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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Thanks guys! Frontera & Blackbird are on my go-to list, as is a breakfast or 3 at La Fournette. Any opinions on Mon Ami Gabi, Quartino's, or Francesca's on Taylor? I have a Frankenstein bookmark list i've built from various recommendation and articles that is quite daunting. Also, I'm totally unfamiliar with the Pilsen area & Little Italy but I know a morning trip to the Mexican Art Museum is on the books, and would love a lunch recommendation in the area for that day as well. I'm also eager to try cocktails....Lost Lake & Three Dots for sure, what's the deal with Green River?  Huiray- i'm taking note of your suggestions i the other thread! My biggest struggle is planning out the eating geographically. Yikes!

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I thought Quartino was fine but not amazing: it was loud and busy when we were there, which is a fun vibe as long as you aren't looking for a romantic getaway :). It was pretty reasonably priced, including the wine list, and was walking distance to our hotel, which won it points as well. The food wasn't exciting, but it was well-prepared once they brought us the right pie (at first one of the two we ordered was the wrong one, but it wasn't a huge deal and they brought out the correct one in pretty short order).


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I agree with Chris about Quartino, and have a similar reaction to FoT. If you're looking for Italian food, I can't speak highly enough about Anteprima -- and it's an amazing bargain to boot. It's in Andersonville, which is nowhere near Old Town, but it's a straight shot on the #22 Clark bus (or via taxi, of course). Plus Andersonville is a fun place for shopping. We also have had excellent meals at Piccolo Sogno Due and "uno."

 

Regarding Little Italy, it's not Italian, but Three Aces is one of the more interesting places: one two

 

Chicago has tremendous Mexican food, both in and beyond Pilsen. Here's a 2008 Time Out article about Rick Bayless's favorite places. Note his mention of the tres leches cake at Kristoffer's Cafe and Bakery. Yes, it's that good. If I'm driving, sometimes I'll buy one to take home. (However, it looks like their website no longer exists, and I got their voice mail during working hours, so I'm not sure what's going on with that.) Here's a 2013 article about Pilsen from Saveur; it also mentions the non-Mexican Nightwood, which is no longer in business. Outside of Pilsen, Mexique offers an interesting (and excellent) fusion of Mexican and French cuisines.

 

Three Dots is a hoot. And very crowded. No idea about Lost Lake or Green River (or any other place in Chicago that's named after a body of water, except for North Pond, which is wonderful).

 

If you want to go upscale on cocktails, of course there's The Aviary and The Violet Hour. Sable, in River North (we've been there multiple times), also is known for their cocktails (and small plates).

 

I'm glad to see that someone besides us obsesses (and plans) about vacation food months in advance.


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."

 

The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh. -Nida Fazli, poet (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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If you are in China Town, you should to go to Cai for dim sum. Also, If you can get to Evanston, you might  enjoy the authentic

Chinese teahouse called Dream About Tea. IMO it is one of the two best Chinese teahouses in the Great Lakes region.


"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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Thanks for all of the suggestions guys! Riddle me this...You're going to Graceland Cemetery  mid morning / after  breakfast and you know nothing about that area. Where do you go for a nice (all cuisine suggestions welcome, nothing super exspensive but moderate is fine) lunch and what else do you do that afternoon somewhat nearby?  Or - is there a great breakfast spot in the area we should hit up first? Admittedly, geography is my biggest hurdle when I try to piece my trips together.

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4 hours ago, pistolabella said:

Thanks for all of the suggestions guys! Riddle me this...You're going to Graceland Cemetery  mid morning / after  breakfast and you know nothing about that area. Where do you go for a nice (all cuisine suggestions welcome, nothing super exspensive but moderate is fine) lunch and what else do you do that afternoon somewhat nearby?  Or - is there a great breakfast spot in the area we should hit up first? Admittedly, geography is my biggest hurdle when I try to piece my trips together.

 

Breakfast #1: Kanela Breakfast Club, 3231 N Clark, just north of Belmont. (Ms. Alex is a big fan.) Then take the Clark bus to Graceland. Or you can walk if it's nice out.

Breakfast #2: The Bongo Room, 5022 N Clark, at the south end of Andersonville (see below), a little north of Graceland.

Andersonville (take the Clark bus to Foster or thereabouts) is fun for shopping, whether browsing or buying. Eat lunch at Big Jones, Hopleaf, or m. henry.

The Southport area, from Roscoe north to Irving Park, also is fun for shopping and eating. Have breakfast or lunch at Southport Grocery and get some ice cream at Jeni's.


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."

 

The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh. -Nida Fazli, poet (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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Opinions on any of the following for a steak: My short list right now is Bavette's, Swift & Sons, Cherry Circle, Mon Ami Gabi, Chop House...I'm open to suggestion. Straight up steak house, bistro, Italian / steakhouse, anything is OK. I'd like to be able to hear my fiance talking over dinner if that isn't a tall order. We'll be in town next week so I want to make a reservation. Ideally nothing more spendy than what I've mentioned above. Thanks!

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1 hour ago, pistolabella said:

Opinions on any of the following for a steak: My short list right now is Bavette's, Swift & Sons, Cherry Circle, Mon Ami Gabi, Chop House...I'm open to suggestion. Straight up steak house, bistro, Italian / steakhouse, anything is OK. I'd like to be able to hear my fiance talking over dinner if that isn't a tall order. We'll be in town next week so I want to make a reservation. Ideally nothing more spendy than what I've mentioned above. Thanks!

 

Of the ones you mentioned, I'd opt for Swift & Sons. However, this month's Chicago magazine rated The Blanchard as their #1 new restaurant and singled out their steak frites for special mention. Their #8 new restaurant was Prime & Provisions, praising their bone-in ribeye and center-cut porterhouse; that's probably where I'd wind up if I were in the mood for a steak while in town. (Swift & Sons was their #6 new restaurant.)


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."

 

The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh. -Nida Fazli, poet (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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Catch me up on where I should try to get reservations in June. @Alleguede and I will be in Lombard for the RCI trade show. We will arrive on a Sunday late afternoon and leave on Thursday noon or so. We will have a rental car but will most likely take transport into the city if alcohol is involved.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Kerry Beal said:

Catch me up on where I should try to get reservations in June. @Alleguede and I will be in Lombard for the RCI trade show. We will arrive on a Sunday late afternoon and leave on Thursday noon or so. We will have a rental car but will most likely take transport into the city if alcohol is involved.

 

 

 

Your hotel has a shuttle that will take you to a Metra (commuter rail) station, so that's a huge plus. I have several restaurants in mind already, but I want to contact the hotel tomorrow to see if it's just the Lombard station or if the Downer's Grove station is a possibility. If the latter, I have a great recommendation that's just five stops away.


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."

 

The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh. -Nida Fazli, poet (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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6 hours ago, Alex said:

 

Your hotel has a shuttle that will take you to a Metra (commuter rail) station, so that's a huge plus. I have several restaurants in mind already, but I want to contact the hotel tomorrow to see if it's just the Lombard station or if the Downer's Grove station is a possibility. If the latter, I have a great recommendation that's just five stops away.

Might be mistaken - but think it's only the Lombard station it goes to.

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2 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

Might be mistaken - but think it's only the Lombard station it goes to.

 

I just called -- they do indeed go to Downers Grove as well. When you book the ride, make sure to specify which station; Lombard is their default setting, so to speak. When you return, call the hotel from your departure station and tell them the arrival station and time. (FYI, the train from Lombard terminates at Ogilvie Station in Chicago; the one from Downers Grove, at Union Station.)

 

If you take Metra from Downers Grove to Western Springs, right by the station is Vie. I'd definitely go there Tuesday or Wednesday night.

 

Taking Metra from Lombard to Ogilvie puts you in the West Loop, with a stunning array of great restaurants within walking distance: Avec, Blackbird, Sepia, Salero, Girl and the Goat, Nia, etc. -- also the Michelin 3-star, $235-tasting-menu Grace and the Michelin 2-star, $190-tasting-menu Oriole.

 

If you don't want to travel far, Greek Islands is right by the hotel, plus it's open Sunday and Monday nights. It's an outpost of the popular Greektown place.


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."

 

The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh. -Nida Fazli, poet (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, Alex said:

 

I just called -- they do indeed go to Downers Grove as well. When you book the ride, make sure to specify which station; Lombard is their default setting, so to speak. When you return, call the hotel from your departure station and tell them the arrival station and time. (FYI, the train from Lombard terminates at Ogilvie Station in Chicago; the one from Downers Grove, at Union Station.)

 

If you take Metra from Downers Grove to Western Springs, right by the station is Vie. I'd definitely go there Tuesday or Wednesday night.

 

Taking Metra from Lombard to Ogilvie puts you in the West Loop, with a stunning array of great restaurants within walking distance: Avec, Blackbird, Sepia, Salero, Girl and the Goat, Nia, etc. -- also the Michelin 3-star, $235-tasting-menu Grace and the Michelin 2-star, $190-tasting-menu Oriole.

 

If you don't want to travel far, Greek Islands is right by the hotel, plus it's open Sunday and Monday nights. It's an outpost of the popular Greektown place.

Thanks for all this R - have to work around Mon, Tuesday closings - but lots of great choices.

 

Is the Slurping Turtle still around and still good?


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

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15 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

Thanks for all this R - have to work around Mon, Tuesday closings - but lots of great choices.

 

Is the Slurping Turtle still around and still good?

 

 

You're welcome. There are lots more, of course; those are just the ones in the West Loop near Ogilvie.

 

I believe Slurping Turtle is still around, but there are better places in the city for ramen and for Japanese food in general. I also had a very unpleasant experience there a couple of years ago regarding seating, so I've had zero desire to return.

 

For ramen (and yakitori), I'd go to Yusho, in Logan Square. (Here are other ramen places.) For sushi, Katsu, in West Rogers Park, is the way to go.

 

If you're thinking about River North, where the turtle is located, there again are lots of good choices. One of my favorites is GT Fish & Oyster. Best clam chowder I've ever had; everything else is good, too. The same chef opened GT Prime, focusing on meats.

 

Please let me know if there are other cuisines you're interested in.


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."

 

The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh. -Nida Fazli, poet (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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