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Aug 21, 2006 02:40 AM

Are there any good sake bars in Chicago?

Hi. I'll be in Chicago next weekend and am wondering if there are any nice sake bars. Also, a very nice restaurant with an excellent sake selection would be good. Thanks!

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  1. Oh boy! I get to recommend Meiji once again! This is by far the best Japanese restaurant in the city, with excellent sushi, innovative makimono that actually taste good (as opposed to just being a jumble of flavors), and a nice selection of zensai (small dishes), as well as a few entrees. The room is elegant and Zen-ishly spare. But the best thing at Meiji is their omakase (chef's degustation) - seven courses for $95 per person, stellar "kaiseki" style cuisine (and perhaps the only kaiseki in the city since the departure of Chef Matsumoto - yes, yes, I know Chiyo's is still offering it, but I haven't been, so it's a total unknown, and without Chef Matsumoto I'm sceptical). Meiji also has a very nice selection of sake. Here's a link to their web site: Call in advance for the omakase meal.

    Here's a link to my review of the kaiseki omakase:

    I don't know of any true sake bars in town (if by that you mean izakaya). Oysy ("oishii") bills itself as an izagaya (sic), but I've never been impressed either with the atmosphere or the food. There are one or two izakaya in the suburbs catering to the many Japanese companies in the area, but others will have to tell you about them, as I haven't been.

    1. There's a longtime Japanese Bar on Sheffield in Wrigleyville where Clark meets Sheffield. It's accross from Einsteins Bagels. Don't know the name.

      1 Reply
      1. re: amoncada

        I believe you're thinking of a place called the Nisei Lounge. Long a gathering spot for Japanese-Americans in the old Japanese neighborhood on Clark Street, it is really just a sports bar (if it's even still there) - the drink of choice was always beer.

      2. I've always liked the food at Tsunami, and upstairs there is a very cool lounge that bills itself as a "sake lounge". I never went specifically for the sake, but the atmosphere in the lounge reminded me of many places I've been in Roppongi, Japan, in the clubs. The food at the sushi bar (downstairs) is great as well.

        1. Thanks everyone! I have a reservation for tomorrow night at Meiji and, if I'm lucky I'll get to Tsunami on this trip too.

          1. Well, we went to Meiji and had a really great time. Didn't make it to Tsunami, but I get to Chicago regularly and this is now at the top of my list.

            If you are interested, I have a short review of our dinner, mainly of the sake, on my blog at: