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Aug 22, 2006 11:11 PM

ANY ??? nice restaurants that don't need reservations on Sat. eve?

My friends are coming into Chicago from England, and my husband and I are meeting them in the city for dinner/bar afterwards.

We need something nice, midpriced, NOT!! Italian, and with veggie choices. Japanese is out, as well *sob!*. The main problem, my husband is also English and a VERY fussy eater (hates Italian, not too keen on Japanese, hates pizza...) and my friend has recently turned veggie. So many great places have almost no veggie options (except for a pasta dish maybe), and as she'll only be here a few days, I don't want her to have to make do with a boring salad she can get anywhere!

Any suggestions? I feel that if I don't make a reservation of some sort, we will be forced to eat at a mediocre place....

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  1. On Saturday night with no reservations, there will be a wait.

    One place to try is Bistro Zinc [1131 N State, Chicago, IL 60610-2717 - (312) 337-1131 ] - French food at a reasonable price.

    This has become my favorite neighborhood place. The staff is always friendly and the food is consistent and very good - you might also like the desert! Every time we go back I have the same feeling, love this place.

    Map Location: http://yyyz.net/GoogleMap.Aspx?Map=Bi...

    1. Though a bit far from downtown, Lula Cafe might have something to satisfy everyone:


      1. Two non-Italian, non-Japanese, non-pizza places we always enjoy, that seem to never have a wait: Magnolia Cafe, on Wilson in Uptown. They serve contemporary American, and the food is very good. They usually only have one vegetarian entree. Of course, there are non-meat salads or appetizers.

        Secondly, Jackie's Bistro, in Evanston. If we call for a reservation the same night, we always get in. The food is excellent, and they always have at least two vegetarian entrees. It's our favorite French bistro. You would have to drive to both places, but you can find street parking in either place.

        Here is a link Magnolia Cafe that will give you an idea of their menu:http://chicago.menupages.com/restaura...

        Here's one to Jackie's Bistro: http://www.jackysbistro.com/

        1. Vermillion (Indian/Latin American fusion) would probably be too adventurous for your hubby, but it has lots of veggie options. It's on Hubbard in River North.

          Spring or Green Zebra have excellent food and vegetarian options (especially Green Zebra, which is an almost entirely vegetarian menu).

          I took a vegetarian friend to BOKA on Halsted and Willow in Lincoln Park recently, there weren't a lot of different vegetarian options, everything we had was really good. The food is trendy, basically American food. I had a small plate of a vegetable ravioli and an heirloom tomato salad, which was plenty of food, and both were amazing. We also shared a couple of outstanding desserts. It is overly trendy, but there is a beautiful outdoor garden area. Also, the Black Duck is a great bar to head to for drinks afterwards, just across the street (it also has good food, but no vegetarian options).

          1. You say Japanese is out, but what about Chinese? Opera in the South Loop (13th and Wabash) is one of my fave places in the City, and I'm pretty sure you can get in without a reservation these days (while it always seems fairly busy, it's a big place and rarely seems *full*). If you're not familiar, the concept is high-end Chinese; their "beef and broccoli", for example, is a tenderloin filet atop Chinese broccoli with a buerre blanc sauce. The "peking duck" is duck served three ways - very nice, very fun and lively.

            They also have a vegan menu in addition to their regular menu, and I think there are noodle dishes on the regular menu that are probably vegetarian.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jlynch9

              I don't know about Saturdays at Opera, but I second the hearty compliments for both food and service. I LOVE OPERA! Their Tuesday $25 3-course prix fixe option is one of the best unkept secrets in dining.