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Sep 4, 2006 02:30 AM

Good meals in South Loop or Bucktown / Wicker Park that aren't too expensive?

I'm visitting Chicago from San Francisco, and am looking for good places for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that are reasonably priced.

I'll be staying at the Congress Plaza Hotel at 520 South Michigan Avenue in the South Loop neighborhood, and spending a good chunk of time at The Hideout, in Bucktown / Wicker Park.

Some of my interests include:

- good breakfast places near the Congress Plaza Hotel
- quick lunch near The Hideout (Wabansia & N. Elston)
- late night food (i.e. good food available after 10 PM
on a Friday / Saturday and possibly Sunday)

Will be happy with any and all ethnic offerings, but even just
good sandwiches would be nice. Offerings in other convenient areas are of course of interest too (esp. w/r/t dinner and good food after 10 PM).

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Not knowing what your standard is for "reasonably priced" --or what you like -- in Bucktown you might want to try:

    Toast on Damen for breakfast
    Bongo Room on Milwaukee for breakfast or brunch
    Cafe de Luca on Damen for breakfast, lunch or desserts
    Silver Cloud for comfort food
    Cafe LeGuardia (Cuban) for dinner
    Le Bouchon (French) for dinner

    1. For breakfast or lunch, (it closes at 4 PM) Manny's Coffee Shop and Deli at 1141 S. Jefferson. NYC style deli with kosher type, but not kosher, food. Corned beef or pastrami sandwiches, potato pancakes and cheese blintzes are my favorites. It takes 2 buses and about 20-25 minutes to get there, but I think the food is worth it. Catch the #3 southbound on Michigan and transter to the #12 westbound at Roosevelt (12the StL) to Jefferson. It should take about 20 minutes.

      Downtown, within walking distance of the Congress, Miller's Pub is a good place for steaks, barbecued ribs, sandwiches and Greek specialities. While it's right nextdoor to the Palmer House Hotel and lots of tourists go there, its not a particularly toruisty place. It a sports bar and real Chicago place.

      1. I love Cuatro in the south loop--Latin fusion/Carribean. Fabulous all the way through from apps to dessert. In Wicker Park, try Francesca's Forno for great Italian--loud, but reasonable and great. For brunch on a sat or sun, try Rodan on Milwaukee--chilaquiles, bloody marys, etc. Kills the overcrowded Bongo Room close by.

        1. For breakfast in the South Loop (my old neighborhood):

          Since you are from SF I know you need good coffee. Go to Intelligentsia at Jackson and Dearborn (about 5 blocks from your hotel), founded by alumni of Peet's. They open at 6 weekdays and 7 on weekends. Just pastries/muffins to eat, though.

          Another cafe in the area is Gourmand, on the west side of Dearborn north of Polk. They also serve Intelligentsia coffee and have quiches as well as the usual muffins etc. I'm not sure how early they are opening these days.

          For standard eggs, etc, I'd recommend Blackies at Clark and Polk, which serves breakfast Fri-Sun only. Hackney's on Dearborn just north of Polk has brunch on Sat and Sun, but not till 10:30 I believe. Do not under any circumstances be tempted by the Bar Louie in Dearborn Station (Dearborn and Polk).

          There are also a couple of creative/trendy breakfast places in the area (e.g. "pancake flight, french toast kabab"...): Orange on Harrison between Federal and Clark, and Bongo Room II on Wabash and Roosevelt. The latter would be slightly out of the way if you are planning on catching the Blue Line up to Wicker Park immediately after breakfast.

          On Wabash just north of Bongo Room is a so-called deli, Eleven City Diner, which by all reports is just miserably bad.


          Dearborn between Congress and Polk is Printers' Row, a very pleasant neighborhood. Not much in the way of late night food, but if you are looking for a quick sandwich for lunch or early dinner try SRO on the west side of Dearborn south of Harrison (closed Sun, though). Their chicken sandwiches are good, also their falafel. And the Italian beef (a Chicago specialty) isn't bad either.

          1. It's closed on Sunday, but you could walk a few blocks and grab breakfast at Heaven on Seven on Saturday morning.
            It's a quirky space that always makes me feel like I time travelled into an old movie. It's on the seventh floor of the Garland Building, a 1920's era high rise that played a minor part in a notorious piece of Chicago history.