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Brazilieros are coming (sp?) Help!

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Crazy Carlos and company is coming to Chicago next Thursday and would like to dine at a special place on Friday night. He lives in downtown Sao Paulo and travels extensively worldwide so he's used to cosmopolitan eats. I need a place with cool atmosphere, great food, but not incredibly expensive. It's been ten years since his last visit so we'll definitely be in a festive mood and maybe a bit rowdy.

Here are a few ideas off the top of my head; He doesn't get to experience Mexican Food very often so I thought about...Cuatro, Carnivale, or Salpicon.

Tizzi Melou, Santorini or Greek Islands, or maybe old school Italian...La Scarole or Gibsons.

What are some other restaurant ideas, in Maybe Bucktown or Wicker Park? Music & drinks afterwards?

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  1. Hey Amoncada - you've been so good about coming through with ideas for me - that I hope others can come through you on this one (I sure know what it's like to have a "Crazy Carlos & co. coming to town and how huge it can be to live up to that kind of enormous challenge...

    Sans good advice - I did just want to warn you, CUATRO was on CHECK PLEASE tonight... so please do take proper heed...

    And also I offer this aside: My Mom told me that back in ancient American history, one Sunday when Bayer aspirin decided to advertise it's brand in the New York newspapers - the sales for ALL BRANDS OF ASPIRIN went sky high the next day.. so what ever you decide - maybe you should make reservations...

    6 Replies
    1. re: Jesster

      I know I took two good clients to Cuatro today for lunch (did not know about the Check Please! exposure). I had to explain to them why I wanted to head so far south from their River North office. We got there and there was a sign in the window that said, "Sorry for the inconvenience, but we are closed for lunch starting Friday, October 13th." Needless to say, I'm not real happy with them and may not head back there any time soon. I checked their website before heading down there and it said they were open for lunch. I realize many places don't update their website very often, but if you're gonna hang a sign in the window, you might want to call your website guy as well. They wasted a lot of our time today.

      1. re: Jesster

        Hey Jesster, I'm very pleased that you like my recommendations!
        The name "Carnivale" has sort of a South American ring to it...is the menu mostly Mexican?
        I'm thinking that Bucktown will offer both great choices for dinner, drinks, and live music afterwards. My Bucktown friends recommended Del Toro but from the looks of the portion sizes I think we'll go hungry.
        On the other hand, Greek Islands is group friendly, delicious, and reasonably priced...and close to Bucktown.

        1. re: amoncada

          Del Toro is definitely hip. The portions are small because it's tapas. You order a bunch of small plates and share. You can get as much or as little as you like.

          1. re: leek

            Yes, I know that the portions are tapas but they appear to be more like mini tapas. I'm basing my information on the Del Toro footage from the 190-North program. I could be wrong though. How is the food?

            OK, so I'm down to two choices; Carnivale and Del Toro. Del Toro in Bucktown has a lot to offer afterwards as far as live music and bars and clubs, etc. What choices for drinks and entertainment after Carnivale?

            Don't get me wrong Wak, Crazy Carlos is definitely at home in a more refined environment it just doesn't bring out the best of his personality. He is extremely friendly and outgoing like many Brazilian's. He is like the pied piper. Everywhere we go he makes friends with everyone. He's quite the character.

            1. re: amoncada

              The food is good.

              1. re: amoncada

                If you want to move on from Carnivale, you would have to cab it somewhere. Probably Streeterville/Goldcost, although Randolph is very close, and Greektown not much farther.

                I've never been to Del Toro, although its near the top of my to-do list to check out one of these days. If you end up there, please let us know how it is.

                Good luck with CC.

        2. Carnivale is my old standby for out of towners who want to eat and drink without breaking the bank. The food is always very good (I'm addicted to the Guacamole) and its a great atmosphere - especially coming in off the street, into the darker front bar area, and then through the curtains and BAM (as Emeril would say) you are in the middle of that huge room. It helps set the mood. Plus good people watching later on the weekends. The only drawback is that its kind of out there on its own, but hey, that's what cabs are for.

          I tried Cuatro once for a party and was not overly impressed. It was OK. The live music had not started, so maybe things had just not picked up yet. I might go more often if I lived on the South side. I pass too many better places on my way down.

          Salpicon has excellent food, but it might be a little refined for someone called Crazy Carlos. Tizi Melloul is another good choice, although not quite as happening as Carnivale.

          I'm also a fan of Japonais, but that can get pricey. Its a very impressive place to visit, and I have found the food and service very good, and a lively crowd.

          1. Have never been to either Carnivale or Del Toro - but our neighbors swear by the BRUNCH at Del Toro (especially after a live-it-up Saturday night.

            Whatever you decide - please do give us your feedback on the experience. I think we all have (or SHOULD have) a crazy Carlos type personality coming to visit from time to time.

            If you don't let the mostly imaginary pressure get to you (Chicago has SO MANY good choices) - half the fun is figuring out where to go.