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Oct 10, 2006 10:03 PM

Nice dinner without a coat and tie?

I'm coming to Chicago next week and would like to get a few recommendations for good places close to downtown without a coat and tie requirement. Preferably restaurants, not pizzarias and hotdog stands!

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  1. A friend of mine just told me about Kiki's Bistro. Do you know if it requires a jacket? Is it any good?

    1. I would say Avec or Blackbird.

      Blackbird is one of the nicest restaurants in the city, and you don't need a jacket and tie. It is a little 'sceney' so you may still want to look nice (not sure how informal you are going), and also quite expensive. I was there drunk and super late one night so I'm not the best person to ask about it - there are a ton of posts on the place I'm sure.

      The owners of Blackbird have another restaurant next door called Avec. This is one of my favorite places in the city. The food is excellent - mostly eclectic small plates for sharing but they have entrees as well. It's not stuck up and it's reasonably priced. Get the focaccia, the bacon wrapped dates, and the octopus.

      The downside - it's always busy and the place is pretty small so you dine in close quarters. Plus, they don't take reservations, so unless you eat early or late you have to show up way in advance to put your name on the list.

      3 Replies
        1. re: JojoSF

          I haven't been to KiKi's in some time, although it has always been one of my favorite French bistros in Chicago. But unless you're set on a French bistro, I think Chicago offers better options. I don't know your price range or the type of food you are looking for, but you will not do better (foodwise at least) than Blackbird and Avec. North Pond in Lincoln Park can be a little pricey (as can Blackbird) but the food is fantastic and the setting (especially this time of year) could not be better. Blackbird, Avec and North Pond are all short cab rides from downtown. Here's a link to North Pond's menu:

          If you are looking for a specific type cuisine or price range, you should let us know to tailor the recommendations.

          1. re: BRB

            North pond is a jacket ant tie type of place.

      1. I know of no restaurant in Chicago which requires a jacket AND tie. And at those which require a jacket, you can walk in with the jacket on, then remove it and put it on your chair.

        But overall, there are very few Chicago restaurants which require a jacket. As long as you avoid places like Trotter's, Tru, and Alinea (places where you would expect such a requirement), you should have no problems.

        1 Reply
        1. re: markh

          When we went to Alinea, we were told that they require a jacket for men. Shortly after we were seated, in walked a party of six, and several of the men were not wearing jackets. They were dressed neatly though (no sweatshirts or cut-offs), and I think that's what the restaurant really cares about. I suspect many places say these things just to set a tone.

        2. So - where did you go and how was it?