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Sep 15, 2003 12:42 PM

Amarit or other neighborhood options?

  • m

Have booked a babysitter and am going out for a rare dinner and movie tomorrow. (Rare as in "infrequent," not undercooked.)

The movie is at the Esquire. Considering Amarit for dinner. Have never been there. Opinions?

Alternatively, any opinions on other cheap to moderate options in the area? Oak St. is not my usual stomping ground for dinner so, while I know the area geographically, I have little neighborhood chowing experience to fall back on.

Any suggestions welcome.

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  1. v
    Vital Information

    Order the hamburger and fries at Hugo's, it's not River Forest Grill cheap, but that does not mean it aint a fine value (and under $10). You will not spend too much, but you will feel like you hit the town.


    5 Replies
    1. re: Vital Information

      Do not go to Amarit...noone goes there...

      Goto Hugo's, Big Bowl, Pizzano's, Ben Pao (bit of a walk - but very cool) or le Colonial...

      1. re: awbrig

        Thanks, I was just starting to get that vibe about Amarit. Even the posted customer critiques on Metromix were running about 50% negative. Le Colonial is a bit over budget for this evening, but Big Bowl is looking like a decent option. (As I don't frequent the neighborhood, it's a little surprising how limited the options for an interesting, reasonably priced bite seem to me.)

        I've only been to Tempo for breakfast. Anyone have an opinion on their dinner food? Is it good, comforting diner/coffeshop fare?

        1. re: mrbarolo

          You could do worse than Papa Milano, which is less than a block away from the Esquire. "Old school" Southern Italian. I've heard their gnocchi is good, also the chicken or eggplant parm. Adjoining Mondelli's bar has something of a local, corner-bar feeling, rare for this part of town.

          1. re: JohnJeter

            I always wondered about Papa M's. It looked soooo old school that I was afraid it would end up being a 70s sort of place fallen behind the times and given to microwaving pasta with red sauce from a jar.

            Would be great if it's just an honest simple red sauce/stuffed shells/baked clams kind of place.

            Thanks for the tip.

            1. re: mrbarolo

              Fwiw, their red sauce is why I go. Nice and simple. They're stuck in the '70s from the standpoint of still using the paper placemats with a map of Italy on them. Cracks me up.

    2. I think Amarit may be owned by the same people who own Star of Siam (behind Nordstrom's) and Dao (Ohio near Fairbanks) as menu is identical. Food is fine, prices very reasonable.

      Consider also Big Bowl (Cedar just around the corner from where Rush and State come together) a five-minute walk from the Esquire. A fun place featuring stir-fry, very tasty, used to be owned by Lettuce Entertain You, most meals cost less than $10. Their menu is online.

      6 Replies
      1. re: N Tocus

        Thanks. Didn't know there was a Big Bowl over there. I haven't been there since it was a Lettuce place. Might be more interesting than run-of-the-mill Thai. Especially as I live in Uptown anyway.

        1. re: mrbarolo

          If you live in Uptown, Big Bowl is going to be a big disappointment. I've been a couple times and found the noodly soup combos uninspired and dumbed down.

          How are you getting around? Several good cabby joints are within striking distance by car and maybe by foot if your in the mood for a walking date. Along orleans north of chicago there's Baba's, Zaiqa, and Kababish: all excellent and entertaining options with plenty of chowhound history.

          What about Iberico? or The CHIC cafe? or a bevy af appetizers at CRU? I'd sooner go any of those places than Big Bowl.

          1. re: Seth Zurer

            While for the most part I agree with your post and feel that Big Bowl is most suitable for delivery of dinner for a late night at work (cheap and quick), I wouldn't recommend CHIC Cafe as a destination. I have found that it is hit or miss (mostly more hit than miss).

            1. re: MAG

              Okey doke. I've never been, but it sounded nice.

              1. re: Seth Zurer

                I know this is an old thread, but I went there and was totally impressed. The desert was pedestrian, but all of the other courses were great. I had the best salmon filet Ive ever had. As someone somewhat wary of seafood I was really happy

            2. re: Seth Zurer

              The cabby joints are on my "to do" list, but tonight we're on foot and a little bit tight for time to make a movie. Also, from the descriptions I've read here, I'm not sure my wife is entirely ready for them. (Though I would never want to 'misunderestimate' her.)

              I'm not sold on Big Bowl for exactly the reasons stated. There just seem to be a paucity inexpensive options right around. Ibirico or Cru sound like good alternatives.