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Overwhelmed by Chicago!

b
bryantuga Oct 9, 2006 09:33 PM

I'm visiting Chicago for the first time this weekend. I'm very excited, but I'm overwhelmed by the culinary options. Is there a "best-of" thread or a good thread with recs for first-timers? If not, can someone suggest two or three places for dinner that are unique, under $75/person w/o wine, and fairly easy to get to via CTA? Modern design is a plus. We're staying near Logan Square, but we will probably be downtown a lot as well. Thanks a lot!!

  1. Chargenda Oct 10, 2006 03:04 PM

    Go to Cafe Lula in Logan Square. Great food and great atmosphere right by where you are staying.

    1. g
      gillespie412 Oct 10, 2006 05:06 PM

      I agree, Lula is a great restaurant. What kinds of cuisine are you into? I can help you narrow the downtown restaurants down that way.

      4 Replies
      1. re: gillespie412
        b
        bryantuga Oct 10, 2006 05:32 PM

        After talking to a lot of folks and finding some good threads on chowhound, I'm thinking Frontera and Avec for my two nighttime meals and have yet to choose a pizza place and a spot for Sunday brunch. Does Cafe Lula serve lunch/brunch on Sunday? Also, and this is off-topic, but is Logan Square fairly safe - i.e., can we walk around that area after dark or should we try to stick to taxis?

        1. re: bryantuga
          g
          gillespie412 Oct 10, 2006 06:41 PM

          Honestly, I don't think Logan Square is the best neighborhood to be walking around in at night. I would stick to taxis if you want to go out at night.

          Here's a pretty good map of the neighborhoods:

          http://www.dreamtown.com/services/chi...

          Frontera and Avec are both great restaurants. Lula does serve brunch on Sunday.

          1. re: bryantuga
            w
            wak Oct 10, 2006 07:47 PM

            Avec and Frontera are good choices. Keep in mind that Avec does not take reservations, last I knew, and its a small place that fills up fast. Communal sitting, so be prepared to meet your neighbors. Great Chorizo stuffed Dates.

            No reservations at Frontera for groups less than 5, so if you can't make them, get there real early or be prepared to wait an hour (or more?).

          2. re: gillespie412
            s
            smellen Oct 10, 2006 08:37 PM

            actually, i prefer going to lula cafe for brunch; just be prepared to wait a bit on sundays. so good, though. i always bring out of town friends here & they can't wait to go back.

            in addition to the brunch menu, they will also be serving their usual daytime menu. if you'd like to see what types of food, here are the links (brunch menu from last weekend):
            http://www.lulacafe.com/lula/menupage...

            as to the safety of the neighborhood, i wouldn't say you should be afraid to walk around at night, but with anything, be cafeful of your surroundings. also, taxis are not easy to come by in logan square, so you typically have to call ahead for one to pick you up.

          3. a
            amoncada Oct 10, 2006 05:31 PM

            Try Dunlays on the Sqaure for great bar food. Great Bar with eclectic crowd.

            For something totally different try Raw Bar in Wrigleyville on Clark Street. They serve delicious Persian and Egytian spiced Steak, seafood, chicken, etc, for reasonable prices. This place is way underrated. Try it...you'll will be impressed. Unique atmosphere.

            Hugo's (or Gibsons nextdoor...same kitchen) Frog Bar at Bellview and Rush in the Gold Coast for great people watching, location, and Food. Great steak and seafood.

            Viceroy on Devon Avenue for fantastic Indian Food for reasonable prices. Located in Indian Town where browsing is a must. Great shops here.

            1. s
              smellen Oct 10, 2006 08:39 PM

              the ice cream cookie skillet from dunlay's is a great dessert to split with a few friends :D usually at least 3-4, otherwise you'll be hurting afterwards. nice bar food at decent prices. sometimes service can be a bit, uh, slow.

              1. b
                bryantuga Oct 10, 2006 08:42 PM

                Thank you all so much! I'll give a full report when I get back. Let me know if you need Georgia recs :)

                1. g
                  gumbo Oct 10, 2006 08:49 PM

                  for pizza, are you looking for chicago deep dish/pan/stuffed pizza, or just darned good pizza? for deep dish/pan, you can't go wrong with Gino's East (downtown location - 633 N. Wells, www.ginoseast.com), even though the atmosphere is not what it used to be, the 'za is pure heaven...for a true Neopolitan pizza experience, try Spacca Napoli at 1769 W. Sunnyside (near Ravenswood) - best thin crust pizza I've had outside of Italy.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gumbo
                    g
                    germuska Oct 10, 2006 10:51 PM

                    Gino's East has re-opened in their original location (162 E. Superior) (as well as maintaining the Wells street address, in a former Planet Hollywood).

                    The Chicago Reader recently did a rundown of pizza:
                    http://www.chicagoreader.com/feature/...

                  2. n
                    NDJ Oct 10, 2006 10:37 PM

                    For modern design and great food, go to Follia. It's a very Roman Italian place...not boring Italian...modern, fresh, Roman style. It's in the meatpacking district on Fulton St. which has a bunch of clubs and restuarants on the modern side. The pizza at this place is a great appetizer. Everything I've had there is great, but the veal milanese is to die for. Also, a great caprese salad with mozzerella imported from Italy.

                    1. abf005 Oct 11, 2006 01:30 AM

                      germuska: Sorry but the Reader link appears to be dead, bummer too since it sounded interesting.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: abf005
                        g
                        germuska Oct 12, 2006 08:41 PM

                        My bad. I always tell my colleagues to copy/paste, but in this case, I typed the URL and typed it wrong.

                        This one works: http://www.chicagoreader.com/features...

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