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Wrigleyville dinner

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joanW2002 Oct 16, 2006 02:11 PM

We are hosting out of town guests on October 28 and will be in the Wrigleyville area. Looking for suggestions for a really nice place but not too pricey. Raw Bar has been suggested but we have never been. How is it? Any other ideas? Thanks

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    sapient RE: joanW2002 Oct 16, 2006 08:15 PM

    I've always loved Raw Bar and have had great service every time. Another suggestion might be Socca further south on Clark.

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      Jesster RE: joanW2002 Oct 16, 2006 08:37 PM

      We are very partial to Tuscany Restaurant (3700 N. Clark, 773/404-7700) especially if good, reasonable Italian (in a rather romantic setting) strikes your fancy. They start you out with the divine roasted garlic spread and quality bread. This stuff is addictive!

      The pastas are exceptional - especially the raviolis. We've always very much enjoyed our experiences there.

      1. Gweck RE: joanW2002 Oct 17, 2006 06:02 AM

        We like Chens at like ummm 3502 or 07 N Clark really awesome chicken sizzling rice soup. nice atmosphere awesome Lyche martini! UGH I want to go just mentioning it! hahaha

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          amoncada RE: joanW2002 Oct 17, 2006 06:48 PM

          Raw Bar is excellent. Be sure to try a few Persian items. The lobster tail appetizer is very good, great babaganouj, tabboulei, hummus, steak, seafood, etc. etc. Ask for the owner, he'll steer you in the right direction. This will not be your last visit. I love this place! Fun cool atmosphere as well!

          1. abf005 RE: joanW2002 Oct 17, 2006 07:21 PM

            I second the recommendation on Chen's, great Chinese.

            Also, near Wrigleyville is the Leona's Italian on Sheffield Belmont, always good fun with a group.

            4 Replies
            1. re: abf005
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              amoncada RE: abf005 Oct 17, 2006 09:33 PM

              As far as the Leona's recommendation goes, I would compare it to the Olive Garden. Tuscany, Francesca's, or Socca (I hear that it's very good...is it Italian?) would far surpass anything that Leona's can offer. Agreed though, that it's a fun place and it's cheap. What's the name of the restaurant nextdoor to Leona's? It's pretty good for an Italian chain restaurant.

              1. re: amoncada
                abf005 RE: amoncada Oct 18, 2006 06:41 AM

                Leona's compared to Olive garden? Ouch, that's hardly accurate! While they are both casual Italian dining establishments the similarities do end abruptly right there.

                Leona's is still a Chicago family owned restaurant and yes, it is a chain of about 15 area restaurants but it is clearly not as soulless as the Olive Garden. Plus factor in, that Leona's has a far more expansive menu to boot! Olive Garden hardly has any meat on its menu, and it seems like most people only there go for the salad, breadstix & soup.

                Just as Rosebud and Tuscany have spawned several Chicagoland locations, Leona's has been no different, especially since everyone was originally born on Taylor st.

                So while I would never go so far as to call it "the best Italian place", I selected it based on the Sheffield locations ambiance and the fact that food is good, and so I still stand by the recommendation.

              2. re: abf005
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                chris RE: abf005 Oct 23, 2006 03:18 AM

                Chen's is a good suggestion and personally, I like Leona's.

                I think heading over to Goose Island before and/or after dinner for a beer, if they go for that sort of thing, is a good idea. They have a sampler where you can try a few different four ounce servings of their beers.

                1. re: chris
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                  Jesster RE: chris Oct 23, 2006 01:45 PM

                  We've actually had some decent food at Goose Island (though you go for the beer experience.) We've had a good salad, respectable, burger, (pulled pork sandwich was good, Frnech Dip was NOT.) A crab cake appetizer was pretty okay. - Though actually, I'm not sure if they have tables that can accommodate more than six.

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                amoncada RE: joanW2002 Oct 18, 2006 08:09 PM

                abtfoo5, I agree with some of your previous recommendations but I can't agree with you on Leona's. Let's agree to disagree. Leona's consistently gets bad reviews on chowhound and most other food review publications and websites. This place has seen better days...it was much better 15 years ago. Like I said, the atmosphere is fun and festive but the food is not of chow caliber...Rosebud , Tuscany, and Mia Francesca may not fit the bill either. They are however a better choice if you're looking for competent Italian or any other food in the wrigleyville area.

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                  Jesster RE: joanW2002 Oct 18, 2006 08:22 PM

                  I'm with amoncada on this one. While I have many happy memories of great times and even pretty d good food (at many of their different locations) - just don't think Leona's is in the same catagory as Tuscany, Mia Francesca, etc. when it come to memorable Italian dining and all around atmosphere/ambience.

                  By the same token - I would not delegate Leona's to Olive Garden status. Leona's has many many redeeming qualities - just not a place where I'd take an out of town guest (unless they were a "partyin' undergrad" type)for a memorable DINING EXPERIENCE in the city.

                  Please don't take offense - there's still/always a place for Leona's in our hearts (and I DO appreciate that it still has a fun, familiar, downhome familty feel to it) like a jolly get together/causual celebration location for getting together with old friends (the more the merrier...)

                  1. abf005 RE: joanW2002 Oct 19, 2006 05:26 PM

                    No offence taken folks, we cant all have the exact same tastes or reviews & posts would not be required here right?

                    Like I said earlier, Leona's is usually "fun" and "not the best". I just thought the Olive Garden comparison was a little to harsh, especially since I truly LOATH The Olive Garden. Maybe comparing it to Maggiano's would have seemed more on target.

                    Either way, in all honesty it has been at least 5 yrs since I ate at the Sheffield location (as I tend to go to the Des Plains location once or twice year, but have not been this year) but if the quality has degraded in the opinions of other chowhounds with more recent experiences there, then I am truly sad, as I've always thought it was a pretty good place over the many years that I've patronized it.

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                      RMA RE: joanW2002 Oct 19, 2006 06:15 PM

                      You may want to consider Erwin (2925 N. Halsted). It's nice, and not terribly expensive, with a good wine list and very good food.

                      Hate to beat a dead horse, but I have to agree with the previous criticism of the Leona's rec. Maybe okay for recent college grads (or for takeout), but hardly fits within my definition of "really nice place", and I've experienced some pretty awful service at the Sheffield location.

                      1. j
                        jlynch9 RE: joanW2002 Oct 19, 2006 09:14 PM

                        Erwin was also the place that first came to my mind. I think it's a great call.

                        Leona's is sooo bad. Love the "great for recent college grads" quote - "dude, their lasagna tastes like deep dish 'za!" I think I actually said that 10 years ago, thinking that was a good thing.

                        1. cinzia RE: joanW2002 Oct 19, 2006 09:26 PM

                          I live in LA now but LOVE and always return to Mia Francesca - nobody does fresh, interesting italian like Scott & Co. Apps: the lentils, calamari, francesca salad; love their fish dishes w/ fresh veggies; etc.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: cinzia
                            deepeshbanerji RE: cinzia Oct 21, 2008 07:43 PM

                            I was visiting my cousin in Wrigleyville this weekend and went to Mia Francesca. AMAZING! So fresh so tasty with so few ingredients. One of the best simple italian places ive ever been to. They change their menu regularly too so they always have some interesting twists on classic dishes. And the prices are unbelievably great too.

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                            selliot1958 RE: joanW2002 Oct 20, 2006 06:21 PM

                            Ricks and Yoshi are some of the nicer upscale places in the neighborhood. Good food and decent service but nothing out of this world in that neck of the woods

                            1. k
                              kjerstin RE: joanW2002 Oct 22, 2006 02:37 AM

                              Don't forget Hearty Boys, on or about 3400 N. Halsted...excellent food and fun atmosphere, so long as no homophobes in the party. Also, regarding previous recommendations, I was at Raw Bar last night and had wonderful martinis and appetizers...can't go wrong there!

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                                jennsmith RE: joanW2002 Oct 22, 2008 09:45 AM

                                Hey you should definitely try Home Bistro at 3404 N. Halsted. We went there a couple weeks ago, not knowing what we would find and we were blown away. The food was outstanding...fresh, local ingredients, amazing flavors, great service, and warm atmosphere. It's BYOB, no corkage fee and I can't recommend it enough. Also, thought the prices were very reasonable.

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                                  acer109 RE: joanW2002 Oct 22, 2008 11:01 PM

                                  HB Home Bistro is a good bet. The forgotten outfit on Broadway always seems to be Sura. It is innovative Thai in a 2001-esque setting that is, to be blunt, cheap as hell. Also, Deleece on Southport and Irving Park does a classy meal at a reasonable price.

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