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Sep 7, 2006 11:11 PM

Expense Account lunch and dinner recommendations please

I will be attending a convention in Chicago next week and would appreciate Chowhound's recommendations on where to entertain my clients.
Above all - good chow, wine list. Price no object. I need 2 places for lunch & 2 for dinner. Locale can be anywhere from Lincoln Park to downtown. Need not be $$$$. Love all food ; )

Many thanks in advance!

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  1. You might want to put Custom House on your list, not because it's the best restaurant in town (it's definitely one of the better ones), but because it offers an eclectic American menu that should appeal to even the most conservative tastes. Elegant-modern ambience, too, and not overly noisy, a good venue for business talk. Here's their site:

    1. If money is no object, I'd suggest Nine. It's a unique place with great decor, very modern. Service is great, food is excellent, good wine list, circle bar in dining room, dj (hidden to one corner) playing great tunes. Inventive items, especially for dessert- one is a "circus" theme with cotton candy, another (which I ordered) is a make-your-own s'mores plate- YUM! I had the very best scallops I've ever eaten at Nine. Calamari was also top-notch. Menu (at least in December when I went last) was a bit seafood heavy, but they did have some nice meat entrees.

      1. Places I always enjoyed when I was being wined and dined by a vendor -

        Catch 35 - IMHO some of the best seafood in the city.

        Smith and Wollenky's - I know their are better steak houses out there but I always enjoyed the patio seating in nice weather

        Keefer's - casual atmosphere a steak house and then some -

        Topolobampo - always a treat - mexican cuisine taken to the nexy level

        1 Reply
        1. re: weinstein5

          Thank you all ... many fine choices.

        2. Cafe Spiaggia at 900 N. Michigan Avenue for lunch will surely impress. Shares same kitchen as Spiaggia. Award winning chef here.

          Gibsons at Bellview and Rush for lunch or dinner is an excellent choice.

          4 Replies
          1. re: amoncada

            thank you thank you. are these in the loop? need some place near the palmer house.

            1. re: dragonfly

              Most of the places listed are a short cab ride from the Palmer House. The closest of the current recommendations are Catch 35 (6-7 blocks North of the Palmer House) and Smith & Wolensky (across the river from Catch 35).

              Closer to the Palmer House you could go to Atwood Cafe or Tratoria 10, both are Loop expense account staples.

              1. re: dragonfly

                Custom House is also a short walk from the Palmer House, about 5-6 blocks. Two other restaurants suitable for business dinners and practically right across the street from PH are Rhapsody and Russian Tea Time. The first is attached to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has a very pleasant ambience, although in my experience the kitchen has been up and down. Here's their site:,6,1

                Russian Tea Time has a pleasant, quiet ambience (pre-Revolution Russian) and altho not inexpensive, is popular with visitors to the Art Institute. Here's their site:

              2. re: amoncada

                Don't miss these recs. You won't be disappointed. They are conveniently located near the Palmer House. Gibsons in particular offers not only great food but great people watching, vibrant atmosphere, great bar, and a true Chicago Feel.

              3. Go to's on the corner of Chicago and Damen. BEST gnocci in the city! Small and hard to find, it's in a 3 flat that's been restored to a restaurant. One of the best meals I've had in the city.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Jaclyn

                  Wow. Many thanx Chicago Chowhounds! You have really come through for me.
                  ... now to chowdown ; )

                  1. re: Jaclyn

                    cannot find this listed. is it new? sounds right up my alley!