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1st Chicago Visit - Shopping Spree on N. Mich. Ave. - Please help plan my trips! (not the same as equinoise's post)

Hi Fellow CHs,

My friend and I are visiting Chicago this Saturday and leaving on Monday evening. This is totally a last-minuate decision and I haven't had a chance to plan anything yet! All I know is we will spend most of our time on N Michigan Ave and shop till we drop. This is my first time to Chicago so I need help from the ever-so-kind and knowledgable CHers to help me out on where to eat out!

Things to consider for planning my meals are:

1. We have 2 lunches and 2 dinners (we don't really eat breakfast, but if there is any recommendation we will be happy to try!), and probably need to refuel in the afternoon after all the shopping.

2. We prefer dinning options within walking distance or easy to get to with cab (without breaking the bank)

3. Places that do not require long-time reservation before the dinner (since our trip is this Sat)

4. Places that we are likely to get a table on Sat / Sun (this is a tough one)

5. Budget is NOT an issue!

Fellow CHs, please help out!

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  1. I'm not sure of the difference between your items number 3 and 4. In any case, don't rule ANYPLACE out without calling to see if you can get a reservation. Often people claim that it's impossible to get reservations when that is not always the case, particularly if you're flexible with your time. It doesn't hurt to call and ask.

    Here's my suggestion for a place that is excellent and unique, in a splashy setting, and might not be too hard to get a reservation: The Lobby Restaurant (that's what it's called) in the Peninsula Hotel. The setting is wonderful (very high ceilings with floor to ceiling windows), the food is outstanding, and the service is exquisite. On Fridays and Saturdays beginning at 8:30, in addition to their dinner menu, they serve the "Chocolate Bar", an all-you-can-eat buffet of smallish portions of 40-50 chocolate desserts ($30). (But the Lobby is worth going to even for non-chocoholics.) You can peruse their menu on their website at http://chicago.peninsula.com/pch/dini...

    Also, make sure anyplace you're considering for Sunday is actually open on Sundays. You can look up listings showing hours on the Metromix website at http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/di...

    1. The Atwood Cafe in the Burnham Hotel at Washington and Wabash is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is located in a beautifully restored Chicago Landmark. Beautiful space.

      Go to;

      Greek Islands at Halsted and Adams for amazing Greek food for reasonable prices. Atmosphere is quite nice as well. Short cab ride. Open for lunch and dinner.

      Salpicon in Old Town on Wells Street for upscale Nuevo Mexican. Also try Adobo which is very good, has great atmosphere, and a few dollars less expensive.

      Cafe Spiaggia at 900 N. Michigan / at Oak Street for amazing Italian Food with a view of Oak Street Beach & Michigan Avenue. Award winning Chef here. Much less expensive than Spiaggia (same chef same address).

      Portillo's on West Ontario for great Chicago Style Hot Dogs, Italian Beef, ribs, etc. This chain restaurant is excellent.

      Avenue's in the Peninsula Hotel

      Gibson's is a Chicago Tradition for topnotch Steak and Seafood. Great central location, local crowd, great vibrant atmosphere, and great food. Not cheap but well worth it. The fried Calamarie, crab cakes, and creamed spinach are standouts. Forget Morton's...too stuffy and corporate.

      1. Here are the places I hit every time I visit my hometown Chicago for a shopping spree:
        The Ralph Lauren Restaurant
        Papa Milanos (casual, but a fantastic local neighborhood experience)
        Cru Cafe & Wine Bar
        Alinea (if there's a cancellation)
        Have Fun ! ! !

        1. I second the RL recommendation. While it may seem cheesy, I guarantee you it's not. I am always sure to grab a nice lunch there when my folks are in town as they usually stay down near the Mag Mile.

          1. Known for its prime rib and spinning salad bowl (very cheesy), I find Lawry's to be a good value for a Mag Mile lunch, particularly if you're partial to carved meat sandwiches in a clubby atmosphere.

            1. You must go to the Drake Hotel - atleast for afternoon tea (make a reservation). It's a tradition in Chicago to go for tea especially during the holidays. you won't be disappointed.
              For a great lunch or dinner - try Bistro 110. It's perfectly cooked French bistro style cuisine. I highly recommend the artichoke appetizer in a grainy mustard sauce. Yum. the French onion soup has broiled cheese on top that will warm you to your toes!
              Have a great time in Chicago. Bon appetite.

              1. Le Lan - maybe a 10 minute walk to the west of Michagan on Chicago and Clark. Closed on Sunday. http://www.lelanrestaurant.com/

                My favorite Bistro in that area is Brasserie Jo on Hubbard a few blocks west of Michigan.

                Coco Pazzo Cafe might be a good lunch on day. Italian food. http://www.cocopazzocafe.com/

                I agree with RL recommendation. Run by the same people who run Gibson's Steak house, but not a steak house menu. http://rlrestaurant.polo.com/

                1. Alot of people post this question... "where should I eat, I'm staying in the loop or river north or michigan avenue"... well that area probably has at the least HUNDREDS of bars and restaurants.

                  If you give some idea of a few cuisines you really like, then you'll get much more satisfying and useful suggestions, IMO.

                  1. You should try Coco Pazzo Cafe @ 636 N. Saint Claire. Good for a quick bite or a prolonged dinner they are also open for lunch and dinner.

                    1. Ok, this isn't Chowish perhaps, or maybe overlooked..but any destination lunch during a day of shopping is going to take some time...and it is shopping or dining that is first and foremost? I spent lots of time in Chicago a few years back, and always had a fun time at Foodlife in the Water Tower.

                      You go in, get a 'credit card'...use it at various and many varieties of food stations....like any food court type place...but some of the selections are/were incredible! Then, after dining...they swipe the card and you check out all at once! Huge variety of cuisines, and was a fav lunch place for me in my Chicago days! Especially when shopping/strolling!


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Jesdamala

                        Foodlife is a fun "feed bag" for shoppers...