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Chicago Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


Allen
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Custom House

500 S Dearborn St

(312) 523-0200

Highly regarded upscale American. Reservations required.

Edwardo's Natural Pizza

521 S Dearborn St

(312) 939-3366

Chicago's best stuffed pizza, in my not-so-humble opinion.

These would be my top two picks for lunch or dinner within an easy walk of the Hilton (just a couple blocks). Custom House is wonderful, and although it's not inexpensive, they have a three-course pre-theater dinner that's a good deal; also, like most places, lunch is a lot less expensive than dinner. Deep-dish pizza is THE can't-miss local specialty, IMHO, and Edwardo's is an excellent representation of the species. Call ahead to place your order if you want to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes for the pizza to bake. Oh, websites will help:

www.customhouse.cc

www.edwardos.com

One more recommendation. Everest is one of the very best restaurants in Chicago, and it, too, is just a few blocks walk from your hotel. They specialize in French/Alsatian food and it it simply divine, for food as well as service. Very romantic, too; the view from their dining room at the top of the Midwest Stock Exchange Building is wonderful as well. It is not inexpensive, although it's less than our other top restaurants, and they offer a $50 three-course pre-theater special at 5:00 and 5:30 each night they're open except Fridays.

Everest

440 S. LaSalle St., 40th Floor

Chicago, IL 60605

(312) 663-8920

www.everestrestaurant.com

For breakfast or brunch, Orange on Harrison is just a couple of blocks from the Hilton also. Great egg specialties, custom juices, and pancake "flights".

Orange on Harrison

75 W. Harrison St.

312-447-1000

(no website AFAIK)

(Incidentally, Manny's, Opera, and the Bongo Room, while good, are much further south, roughly 3/4 of a mile away, and you don't want to walk that far in December, believe me.)

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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  • 1 month later...

My husband and I have a two night stopover in Chicago Nov 23 and 24. We are staying downtown and are looking for suggestions of where to eat. We are staying (I think) at the Courtyard by Marriot - 165 E Ontario Street. We don't mind a walk or a short cab ride.

I know Nov 23 is US Thanksgiving, so that may be a bad day to arrive, but that is how it worked out.

We have never been in Chicago before and aside from the obvious Alinea and Charlie Trotter's we know nothing about the restaurants.

Price range - not anything specific, a variety would be nice..........

I would love some suggestions.............................

Life is short, eat dessert first

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My husband and I have a two night stopover in Chicago Nov 23 and 24.  We are staying downtown and are looking for suggestions of where to eat.  We are staying (I think) at the Courtyard by Marriot - 165 E Ontario Street.  We don't mind a walk or a short cab ride.

I know Nov 23 is US Thanksgiving, so that may be a bad day to arrive, but that is how it worked out.

We have never been in Chicago before and aside from the obvious Alinea and Charlie Trotter's we know nothing about the restaurants. 

Price range - not anything specific, a variety would be nice..........

I would love some suggestions.............................

All of the recommendations above (and in the threads linked above) seem to fit what you are looking for. But I presume you are looking for something different. Can you give us a little more info?

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My husband and I have a two night stopover in Chicago Nov 23 and 24.  We are staying downtown and are looking for suggestions of where to eat.  We are staying (I think) at the Courtyard by Marriot - 165 E Ontario Street.  We don't mind a walk or a short cab ride.

I know Nov 23 is US Thanksgiving, so that may be a bad day to arrive, but that is how it worked out.

We have never been in Chicago before and aside from the obvious Alinea and Charlie Trotter's we know nothing about the restaurants. 

Price range - not anything specific, a variety would be nice..........

I would love some suggestions.............................

The recommendations above were for the OP, who was looking specifically for a place open late. Without that restriction, you can literally go anywhere on Friday Nov 23 and Saturday Nov 24; just about every place will be open. Recommendations? There are SO many places. Thinking specifically in terms of places within walking distance of your hotel, you have the splurge category (Avenues, Tru, NoMI), contemporary American (Aigre Doux, Naha), Italian (Coco Pazzo Cafe or, for a longer walk, Cafe Spiaggia or Coco Pazzo), seafood (Shaw's Crab House, Hugo's, Fulton's), and lots of steakhouses.

Thursday Nov 22 is our Thanksgiving holiday, and if you're not familiar with it, it is a MAJOR holiday. Most restaurants are closed, and many of the few that are open offer a special dinner featuring roast turkey. See this topic for links to an article and listings for restaurants open for Thanksgiving. Places within walking distance of your hotel include Vermilion (a great choice), the Lobby/Avenues (expensive but great), the Signature Room (at the top of the John Hancock Building - fantastic view, known also for mediocre food), Lawry's, Viand (in your hotel, I think), Coco Pazzo Cafe, Fulton's, David Burke's, and Bistro 110.

EDIT: Corrected dates

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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My husband and I have a two night stopover in Chicago Nov 23 and 24.  We are staying downtown and are looking for suggestions of where to eat.  We are staying (I think) at the Courtyard by Marriot - 165 E Ontario Street.  We don't mind a walk or a short cab ride.

I know Nov 23 is US Thanksgiving, so that may be a bad day to arrive, but that is how it worked out.

We have never been in Chicago before and aside from the obvious Alinea and Charlie Trotter's we know nothing about the restaurants. 

Price range - not anything specific, a variety would be nice..........

I would love some suggestions.............................

The recommendations above were for the OP, who was looking specifically for a place open late. Without that restriction, you can literally go anywhere on Friday Nov 24; just about every place will be open. Recommendations? There are SO many places. Thinking specifically in terms of places within walking distance of your hotel, you have the splurge category (Avenues, Tru, NoMI), contemporary American (Aigre Doux, Naha), Italian (Coco Pazzo Cafe or, for a longer walk, Cafe Spiaggia or Coco Pazzo), seafood (Shaw's Crab House, Hugo's, Fulton's), and lots of steakhouses.

Nov 23 is indeed our Thanksgiving holiday, and if you're not familiar with it, it is a MAJOR holiday. Most restaurants are closed, and many of the few that are open offer a special dinner featuring roast turkey. See this topic for links to an article and listings for restaurants open for Thanksgiving. Places within walking distance of your hotel include Vermilion (a great choice), the Lobby/Avenues (expensive but great), the Signature Room (at the top of the John Hancock Building - fantastic view, known also for mediocre food), Lawry's, Viand (in your hotel, I think), Coco Pazzo Cafe, Fulton's, David Burke's, and Bistro 110.

Fabulous suggestions. I think we will look for something more traditional for Friday night if that is the TG holiday and other places are closed. We will look to see what is open. Perhaps something in the "splurge" category mentioned by nsxtasy.

Question - what are Frontera Grill & Topolobampo like? We have little opportunity in Canada for good Mexican food, so I am thinking I may like to try this.

Another question - off the food topic if you don't mind. We are flying blind in the hotel category. Many that we tried are already booked for Saturday night, so the options were more limited. Any experience with the Courtyard Marriot Magnificent Mile. Location is a prime consideration for us - we want central as we are walking or cabbing. It is 165 E. Ontario Street

Life is short, eat dessert first

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Umm, Thursday, Nov. 22 is Thanksgiving Day. Otherwise, the topic linked to in nsxtasy's post (and here) is a good one. In addition to the Metromix links in that thread, you also can start an Open Table search here.

If your original post is accurate, and you'll indeed be in Chicago on the 23rd and 24th, then most places should be back open.

Re your hotel, you can read some customer reviews at TripAdvisor.

"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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Question - what are Frontera Grill & Topolobampo like?  We have little opportunity in Canada for good Mexican food, so I am thinking I may like to try this. 

Both of Rick Bayless's restaurants are excellent. We have some other excellent Mexican restaurants here, too, but these two have the advantage that you can walk there from your hotel, so I think they are great choices. Keep in mind that Frontera Grill does not accept reservations (they sometimes do but only on the same day you're dining) so you may have to wait a while to get seated. Topolobampo accepts reservations (on Opentable.com) and is a bit pricier. Unless your timing works to be at Frontera Grill by the minute they open the doors, I find Topo to be a lot more convenient because of the reservation factor.

They are also open for lunch during the week; check their website for hours. And Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, they (or other places) may not be following their normal hours for lunch, since it's a day when a lot of people have the day off from work.

Another question - off the food topic if you don't mind.  We are flying blind in the hotel category.  Many that we tried are already booked for Saturday night, so the options were more limited.  Any experience with the Courtyard Marriot Magnificent Mile.  Location is a prime consideration for us - we want central as we are walking or cabbing.  It is 165 E. Ontario Street

I don't know anything about this particular hotel, but the location is excellent for restaurants, shopping, etc.

Umm, Thursday, Nov. 22 is Thanksgiving Day.

Good catch - I didn't check those dates, have since gone back and edited my post.

It's also worth noting that Friday, Nov 23, the day after Thanksgiving, is a HUGE day for shopping (the busiest day of the year at many stores, I think) so the Michigan Avenue shopping district may be even more crowded than usual.

The places I mentioned above would apply to both Friday Nov 23, and Saturday Nov 24. Reservations for Saturday evening tend to book up further in advance than Friday evening, so you may want to keep that in mind. Not that it's all that hard to get a reservation at most places in Chicago, particularly if you are flexible on the hour, but I would definitely make an advance reservation for Saturday night, and even Friday is not a bad idea. Especially if you really really really want to go to a particular place, and it's one of our hottest (e.g. Avenues).

Alex's mention of Opentable.com is a good one; it's a quick way to check availability for a particular date and time. Not that EVERY place in Chicago is in there, but most of the nicer places are (including six of the eight places I consider our absolutely top tables). I think all the places I mentioned in my previous post accept reservations with Opentable.com

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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Here's an extensive Frontera Grill/Topolobampo thread.

And here's an extensive non-Bayless Mexican restaurant thread.

It's also worth noting that Friday, Nov 23, the day after Thanksgiving, is a HUGE day for shopping (the busiest day of the year at many stores, I think) so the Michigan Avenue shopping district may be even more crowded than usual.

Yes, the day after Thanksgiving is crazy busy, with huge sales -- sort of like Boxing Day in Canada. Look for ads in the Tribune and Sun-Times, if you're into that sort of thing. For kitchen stuff, your hotel is walking distance from a Williams-Sonoma store on North Michigan Ave and a Sur la Table store on E. Walton, but I don't know what kind of sales they'll be running.

"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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Here's an extensive Frontera Grill/Topolobampo thread.

And here's an extensive non-Bayless Mexican restaurant thread.

It's also worth noting that Friday, Nov 23, the day after Thanksgiving, is a HUGE day for shopping (the busiest day of the year at many stores, I think) so the Michigan Avenue shopping district may be even more crowded than usual.

Yes, the day after Thanksgiving is crazy busy, with huge sales -- sort of like Boxing Day in Canada. Look for ads in the Tribune and Sun-Times, if you're into that sort of thing. For kitchen stuff, your hotel is walking distance from a Williams-Sonoma store on North Michigan Ave and a Sur la Table store on E. Walton, but I don't know what kind of sales they'll be running.

Thanks Alex. I will definately check out SLT and WS.

Life is short, eat dessert first

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We have been looking at the menu for Avenues.  Does anyone know what the price fo the tasting menu is?

I was there in March and at that time they offered 3-, 5-, and 10-course menus for $90, $120, and $160, respectively. My understanding is that they have changed that and now offer 5-, 10-, and 15-course menus, but I don't know what the corresponding prices are; the former prices ought to give you some idea, though.

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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  • 5 weeks later...

Tagging myself onto this thread. I've got one night in Chicago, but it's this upcoming Monday, so many of my top choices aren't available. I've narrowed it down to this list - please help me decide!

Naha

NoMI

Aigre Doux

Green Zebra

one sixtyblue

Vermillion

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Tagging myself onto this thread. I've got one night in Chicago, but it's this upcoming Monday, so many of my top choices aren't available.  I've narrowed it down to this list - please help me decide!

Naha

NoMI

Aigre Doux

Green Zebra

one sixtyblue

Vermillion

If I didn't live here and had to have one dinner in Chicago out of this group, I would go to one sixtyblue. I love, love LOVE one sixtyblue. I've been there several times now and on every occasion, the food has just blown me away. Aigre Doux was almost as good, pretty darn close, but I've only been there once; it (and also Blackbird, not mentioned) would be my second choices. NoMI... I like it, it's very good (especially the big windows with the view of Michigan Avenue), but it's significantly more expensive and I've been more impressed with the food at the previous two. Naha is very good too, about the same money, and a good choice if you've never been to the other two, but I would go to one sixtyblue first. Vermilion is good too; I'm sure you're already aware that the Indian-Latin food there is entirely different in style from the contemporary American fare of the others. If you want something totally different from contemporary American, it's a good choice. Green Zebra... well, I haven't been there, but I'm not a vegetarian and the prospect of a menu with only one non-vegetarian item doesn't thrill me. I'm sure it's excellent, and if you or a member of your party are/is a vegetarian then that would be the place to go. As you can see, all of these are excellent choices, and you can't go wrong with any of them. But these are the differences among them.

Also, in case it's a factor in your decision, note that you can get 1000 points on opentable.com for reservations this Monday no later than 7:00 pm at one sixtyblue and 6:30 pm at Vermilion.

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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Boka is a very good restaurant thanks to Chef Tentori (IIRC) who used to work next door, at Alinea. I think the Veal Cheeks with beans and grainy mustard is one of the top dishes in Chicago. There are plenty of reviews on Metromix.

I am not a vegetarian but Green Zebra is a favorite of mine. Last time I was there they had a chicken and a fish dish, but I did not have them, so they are not strictly vegetarian. However, it is one great dining experience that has been getting stronger in the last year.

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Well, I went ahead and grabbed the 1000 pt 7:00 pm reservation at one sixtyblue, but I'm willing to be swayed and book elsewhere if anyone has compelling arguments on any of my other choices.

So many restaurants, so little time...

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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We ended up doing this week, not next week as originally envisioned.

Chicago Chop House - dinner

I had the New York; the GF the prime rib steak/roast thingy. I felt the meat was undersalted but otherwise, very nice, both cooked a perfect medium rare. The place is a bargain compared to other steakhouses since they include a salad and potato dish (neither anything to get excited about) with the cost of the entree. Our starter was a shrimp sautee. Nothing exciting.

Topolobambo - lunch

Good margaritas, reasonably priced ($7). I had an interesting chayote salad with a nice kick. My GF had a chocolate tamale...different...not necessarily in a good way. YMMV. I had a chicken mole...OK. She had some kind of trio...also meh. We shared a pine nut torte/blood orange ice cream for dessert. Competent but nothing special. Did not meet expectations. Chef Bayliss was there; I saw him twice.

Frontera Grill - dinner

We were still full from Topo from lunch. We had some kind of trio of ceviche...sunfish and apple, shrimp, and calamari. This was the best dish of all. We also had some huitlacoche taquitos. We'd never had huitlacoche before...BFD...it tasted like a mushroom. Starter #3, Frontera "chili" which was a mixture of lamb and (I think pork). Mild. Mostly lamby tasting but nothing special in the seasonings.

We shared an entree of salmon with a garlic sauce. Again...nothing to get excited about. I was very disappointed. The food was all good but nothing to get excited about.

We did enjoy the food and people of Chicago and the view from the Sears Tower was awesome.

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Re: Coat.

As a former DCer, you should be fine with whatever coat you can deal with the wind off the potomac in January with, However I would augment it with a good scarf, gloves and a hat.

Folks in DC just don't wear hats. Its all Kennedy's fault.

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  • 1 month later...

Yes, I know there are many other topics in the past on this subject. I am looking for the most current information possible.

My gf got me a reservation for the two of us at Alinea for a Christmas present. Thanks babe!

Basically, we will be in Chicago all day Saturday and all day Sunday. No other reservations have been made.

Her first time in Chicago. My second...but first was 15+ years ago.

I am looking for some pizza, hot dog etc suggestions.

Also, a good place to have dinner on a Sunday night. Money not really an issue.

We are staying downtown.

Thanks in advance!

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For our delicious deep-dish pizza, which of course is a unique local specialty, the chains are excellent and very consistent across their locations (with the one exception noted below). There are two major kinds: the double-crust "stuffed" pizza served at Giordano's, Bacino's, and Edwardo's, and the single-crust "pan" pizza served at Lou Malnati's, Pizano's, Gino's East, and the original location of Uno's and Due. All of these places are excellent and you can't go wrong with any of them. If you tell us where, exactly, you're staying, we can tell you which place(s) are closest. (Saying that you're staying "staying downtown" in Chicago is like visiting New York and saying that you're staying in Manhattan. :wink: ) At any of them, you can avoid waiting 30-45 minutes for your pizza to bake by looking at the menu on their website and phoning in beforehand to give them your pizza order.

As for Sunday dining, some places are closed, but many, many others are open. Sunday dining in Chicago is not a problem at all. And many of our nicer restaurants accept reservations on opentable.com which makes it easy to see what's open on any given day. Alinea, where you're already going, is open Sundays; other such "top tables" open Sundays include NoMI and Spiaggia. For dining that's a bit more casual but still very creative and delicious, places open Sunday include North Pond (notable not only for its spectacular food but also its exquisite setting in Lincoln Park), Custom House, and Spring. There are many, many more places, but these are a few of the most interesting ones food-wise.

Personally, on a short visit, I wouldn't waste my limited time and meals here on hot dogs...

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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There is always room for a hot dog, a couple of tacos, maybe a Potbelly, some pancakes, and a couple more tacos. For hot dogs Superdog. If all else fails there is one in Midway if that is where you are flying out of. For tacos al pastor I like Arturo's, Armitage and Western, For a Wreck, any potbellies will do but the one on Damen in Wicker Park is closest to me. Walker Brothers is so worth the trip. Have the buttermilk and potato pancakes along with some hashed browns (real ones not the home fries we have in NYC) and an Omlete. And may I suggest a cocktail at The Violet Hour after Alinia. Ask your server where it is, they know it well.

Oh I I like the Bocinos on Wacker for deep dish pizza.

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Walker Brothers is so worth the trip.  Have the buttermilk and potato pancakes along with some hashed browns (real ones not the home fries we have in NYC) and an Omlete.

Walker Brothers is indeed a true gem. It's a small chain of locations of the Original Pancake House franchise which seem to take quality to a higher level. However, their real specialty is their huge apple pancake, pictured below. It's simply spectacular. That being said, their locations are all in the north and northwest suburbs, not particularly convenient to downtown Chicago. The OPH chain has a location in the Gold Coast (on Bellevue) and one at Clark and Armitage which are more convenient and where the food is similar.

Another place I really like for breakfast is the Bongo Room. There are two locations, one in Wicker Park a few miles northwest of downtown, and another in the South Loop at Roosevelt and Wabash.

There are also lots of places that do Sunday brunch of various sorts, including the previously-mentioned North Pond, Custom House, and NoMI.

F7M8BPD18ME2Y0R.JPG

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