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Chicago restaurants - your top 5?


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Hello i just wanted to ask the good poeple of teh chicago area for some advice. I just wanted to know what everyones top five places are. I mean top five destinations places. Im talking trotters and the like. I have my list and i was just curious how it matched up with the people who actually live there. Thanks ahead for the help.

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Alinea - so looking forward to their anniversary dinner!

Schwa - I fear Schwa in it's current state will not be around for very long - meaning bye-bye humble BYO.

North Pond - what a location for seasonal food

Blackbird/Avec - I'll take either place at any opportunity I can get

Le Colonial - upstairs or on the terrace in the summer, good food(not great), however great atmosphere.

Worst destination restaurant for ME - Tru. Ugh - can't stand the pretentious service and have been hosed by the wine stewart. Never again.

Edited by rhinopias (log)
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Here are my top choices; destinations all:

Alinea

Tru

Avenues

Topolobampo/Frontera Grill

Blackbird/Avec

Spring/Green Zebra/Custom House

or

Lou Malnati's

Al's Italian Beef

Weiner's Circle

Greek Islands

Nuevo Leon

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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...off the top of my head...

Avenues

Blackbird

Spring (although it's been a while)

NoMI (under Gamba, can't speak for C. David's cooking)

North Pond

[edited to add: I've been everyone of the restos listed above except Custom House and Le Colonial]

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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r

Alinea - so looking forward to their anniversary dinner!

  Schwa - I fear Schwa in it's current state will not be around for very long - meaning bye-bye humble BYO.

  North Pond - what a location for seasonal food

  Blackbird/Avec - I'll take either place at any opportunity I can get

  Le Colonial - upstairs or on the terrace in the summer, good food(not great), however great atmosphere.

  Worst destination restaurant for ME - Tru.  Ugh - can't stand the pretentious service and have been hosed by the wine stewart. Never again.

I would like to add my 2006 dining favorites: Alinea, Schwa, Spring, Moto, Charlie Trotter; these five dining destinations are, IMO, all stellar operations. If it had been 10 I could have included other great Chicago talents. You requested five. I truly think Schwa is THE best priced, most adventuresome talent in Chicago. I truly hope the cynical views of Schwa's future are without subtance--at least for the near future.

I again appeal to every serious diner to sample the talents of these two remarkable chefs Michael Carlson and Nathan Klingball. In another setting, they would be 4 stars, not three. Enjoy them while you can and embrace their culinary prowess! Their collective talents are extraordinary. Judith Gebhart

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Hrm, tough. Thus, I give you three lists.

Money is no object:

Alinea, Avenues, Charlie Trotter's, Blackbird, Frontera Grill

Good dining without taking out second mortgage:

erwin, Kiki's Bistro, Jackie's Bistro, Co Co Ro for shabu shabu, Emilio's Tapas

Hand me that bottle of Tum's:

Ribs n Bibs, Dear Frank's, Mustard's Last Stand, Cedars of Lebanon (now renamed, the one in Hyde Park), Al's Italian Beef

What do you mean I shouldn't feed the baby sushi?

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Wow.

Can't really say a top five since I haven't had a chance to really explore much of the Chicago restaurant scene. But I truly enjoyed dining at:

1. The Lobby at the Peninsula Hotel (Chocolate Bar and Shanghai Terrace)

2. Morton's Steakhouse

3. La Creperie

4. Lao Sze Chuan

I'm guessing the list might change. Now that I can drive around the city...I'll def be checking out more restaurants!

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  • 1 year later...

I just noticed this topic, which sounds fun. I thought I'd contribute my two cents. And more.

I agree with the implication in several other posts that it's not fair to compare restaurants in vastly different price categories. So I won't.

I'll also assume that this is for places in Chicago and its suburbs.

So without further ado...

(Prices quoted are per person including moderate alcohol, tax, and tip.)

$200-300+

1. Alinea

2. Avenues

3. Everest

4. Charlie Trotter's

5. Tru

$100

1. Tallgrass

2. one sixtyblue

3. Michael

4. Oceanique

5. Vie

$10-50

1. Thai Sookdee

2. Flamingo's Seafood

3. Giordano's

Honorable mention for breakfast

1. Walker Brothers

2. Bongo Room

3. M. Henry

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1. Wild Tuna in Naperville. The best sushi in the Chicago area.

2. Heaven on Seven. The original one on Wabash.

3. Manny's. 1/2 pastrami 1/2 corned beef, matzo ball soup, extra pickle.

4. Volare on St. Clair at Grand. Try the gnocchi or the osso buco.

5. Carlos' in Highwood.

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1. Alinea - Forward thinking without be overly molecular, as opposed to popular thought. Do the tour.

2. TRU/Trotter's - two tried and true classics in Chicago, TRU is a little more cutting edge than Trotter's, but Charlie gets some amazing, you-won't-find-anywhere-else products in his back door.

3. Blackbird - Cannot speak about this with his new chef de cuisine, from WD-50, but it was divine when I have eaten there in the past. Not a huge fan of the atmosphere however, which probably keeps it from a four star.

4. 160blue - Martial is a great chef. Love the space, and probably the best service

I have received in a restaurant.

5. Gibson's/Harry Caray's/Chop House/Gene and Georgetti's, etc. - A Chicago steakhouse experience is a must have, those four are probably the most Chicago like. Luger's is a different element than Chicago's places of meat. They all serve a good steak, with flair and servers with robust, grumbly personalities, and their sides are huge, but still good.

Ryan Jaronik

Executive Chef

Monkey Town

NYC

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  • 1 month later...

Here's another take on Top 5 in Chicago:

I have only one night to play with. Which of the following 5 should I visit (all restaurants that have opened since I've been up to the Windy City last)?

Sepia

Aigre Doux

Table 52

The Gage

Otom

The jury's still out on whether Chef Carlson will be opening anytime soon.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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. . . The jury's still out on whether Chef Carlson will be opening anytime soon.

Actually, there's an update in this week's Time Out Chicago . . .

So the big question is: When? “I’m in a hurry to get in the kitchen, but at the same time, I know people are looking for us to put out good food again and I’m not going to rush that and put out shit just to get open,” Carlson says. “Luckily, my dad, Stan, who is partner and obviously wants us open, is being great about me taking my time.” What that means for those clamoring to get in is that Schwa will test out new dishes on friends and family during the last week of January, use the first two weeks of February to honor reservations that were canceled due to the closing, and start taking new tables for February 15 and beyond.

The comeback kid by Heather Shouse.

Looking back at my Top 5, I can't believe how much it's changed. I'll have to update it one of these days.

=R=

Edited to repair link

Edited by ronnie_suburban (log)

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I have only one night to play with.  Which of the following 5 should I visit (all restaurants that have opened since I've been up to the Windy City last)?

Sepia

Aigre Doux

Table 52

The Gage

Otom

Of these five, my vote goes to Aigre Doux. If you have not been to some of our other places that have been around for quite a while - one sixtyblue, Blackbird, and North Pond - those are still as great as ever, and also worth considering.

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Here's another take on Top 5 in Chicago:

I have only one night to play with.  Which of the following 5 should I visit (all restaurants that have opened since I've been up to the Windy City last)?

Sepia

Aigre Doux

Table 52

The Gage

Otom

The jury's still out on whether Chef Carlson will be opening anytime soon.

UE,

Of those I've only been to Aigre Doux and, honestly, I wasn't that impressed. I'm really into A Mano right now, which is Italian small plates and recently opened in the space below Bin 36. Housemade pastas and gellati. We've been there a couple of times and it was excellent both times.

A Mano

335 N. Dearborn St.

312-629-3500

-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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Short of giving you a list of restaurants I've already been to, I'll simply say that I want to limit my considerations to those five - and perhaps Custom House - all restaurants that have opened within the past year.

A Mano I will have to look into.

What is the name of that small plates restaurant that has salumi and cheese, very similar to Otto in concept - looks like an Italian delicatessen collided with a French bistro/ice cream parlor (I'm going off of very rough, months-old impressions from the website)? Is that A Mano?

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I think you're probably talking about Quartino.  I like Quartino a lot, but A Mano is slightly more upscale and definitely less hectic in terms of atmosphere (Quartino is LOUD).

Also, I'm a huge fan of Custom House.

Ahhh, yes, Quartino. I'll take ear plugs, thanks for the tip. :wink:

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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We'll be in Chicago in July for a few days for my nephew's wedding. One night we'd like to take him and his bride-to-be to dinner. Something really nice - but ok for younger people who don't have much fine dining experience. IOW - yummy food - excellent service - not weird. I was looking at Tru as a possible. What do you think? Robyn

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Something really nice - but ok for younger people who don't have much fine dining experience. 

IMO, TRU tends to be more fussy than most restaurants, in terms of syle and service. That being said, I don't know your "young" guests - their preferences and eating habits.

As an alternative to TRU, I'd suggest a table at North Pond, Spring, or even blackbird (though not technically "fine dining"). Those seem like more approachable choices for a younger crowd.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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