HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Do you create unique foods? Tell us about it
TELL US

Dining alone in Chicago--Loop/Downtown area suggestions?

c
CubanPunkInEmeryville Jan 15, 2007 08:34 PM

I'm going to be in Chicago for a few nights next week and will be probably dining alone for dinner...I ususally resort to sitting at a sushi bar when this happens (luckily not so frequently--I don't really like eating alone!), but am hoping to break out of that mold. Is there anyplace with great food and ambience, not stuffy, in close proximity or centered in the heart of Chicago? NOTE: I am not into steakhouses at all, or anything that would scream out at you 'dining haunt for buisness-types on expense accounts'.

  1. a
    Amata Jan 15, 2007 09:09 PM

    Avec.

    http://www.avecrestaurant.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: Amata
      c
      CubanPunkInEmeryville Jan 16, 2007 08:56 PM

      I've eaten there before and it was very good--great suggestion, thanks!

    2. l
      lbs Jan 15, 2007 09:13 PM

      Where exactly will you be in Chicago? That could help with suggestions. Will you have time (or the inclination) to take the train to some neighborhoods (15-30 mins tops away from downtown)? A lot of our neighborhoods have good places to eat for single dinners that are unique to the city.

      That being said, Avec and Blackbird have been mentioned on this board for excellent solo dining. You may want to do a search on those two names (and I see that Amata just wrote in Avec)

      2 Replies
      1. re: lbs
        c
        CubanPunkInEmeryville Jan 16, 2007 08:58 PM

        I'm staying at the Palmer House Hilton...I have travelled out of the center before to great spots for food (Spring, Jane's, Green Zebra) on other trips. I am El-friendly ;)

        1. re: CubanPunkInEmeryville
          sheilal Jan 17, 2007 12:57 PM

          The Big Downtown at the Palmer House is tasty. They have a lobster ravioli that is excellent. And GREAT dirty martinis!

          Bistro 110 (next to Ghiradelli'/near the Water Tower) is wonderful. One of my favorite places in Chicago. It's a bit touristy being that it is right of the M Mile, but the roasted garlic and bread is to die for.

          The Atwood Cafe (a couple of blocks from the Chicago Theater on State Street) is very good, but can get crowded around theater times. It's very popular with the theater crowd.

      2. nsxtasy Jan 15, 2007 09:24 PM

        I occasionally dine alone. I am not reluctant to go ANYWHERE to dine alone. Any good restaurant should make you feel totally at home in doing so. You can sit at the bar or at a table - sit where YOU want to sit - and they should be extremely accommodating, either way. So I would recommend that you feel free to go anywhere you like, for whatever cuisine you like.

        There are two places I have dined in/near downtown Chicago where the service stands out as extraordinary. One is the Lobby Restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel. That's the name of the restaurant, and should not be confused with Avenues, which is also in the Peninsula. The setting is beautiful, with high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows along one wall. The food is outstanding, and later on Friday and Saturday nights, they offer the all-you-can-eat chocolate dessert buffet. I have eaten there alone, and their staff was extremely accommodating and welcoming, showing me to a desirable table (not one stuck off in the corner!), asking me if they could bring me a newspaper, etc.

        The other is Everest. While I have only eaten there with others, I have seen how sensitively (and friendly) their service has been with children, and I can only imagine that they can do the same with solo diners. The service is excellent (but if you define "stuffy" as jacket and tie, well, that's what men wear there). Everest is one of the best restaurants in the city (THE best, IMHO), with incredible food and a delightful view (from the top of the Chicago Stock Exchange building) to go along with the impeccable service.

        The Lobby
        The Peninsula Chicago
        108 East Superior Street (at North Michigan Avenue)
        Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA
        312-573-6760
        http://chicago.peninsula.com/pch/dining_03.html

        Everest
        (312) 663-8920
        440 S. LaSalle St., 40th Floor
        Chicago, IL 60605
        http://www.everestrestaurant.com

        I am not sure from your comment about "anything that would scream out at you 'dining haunt for business-types on expense accounts'" whether you are referring to price (high price alone?), or value (high price for mediocre cuisine?), or atmosphere (loud obnoxious types who don't appreciate food?), etc. FWIW, the prices at Everest (entrees $32-46) are consistent with its reputation as among the best in the city, although it is less expensive than some others in this group, such as Alinea, Tru, and Charlie Trotter's. The prices at the Lobby are lower, with entrees in the $15-30 range, as I recall. (The weekend "Chocolate Bar" is $30.) If you are looking for more moderately priced restaurants in the downtown area, check out this topic (for its dinner suggestions, not its lunch suggestions): http://www.chowhound.com/topics/360453

        1 Reply
        1. re: nsxtasy
          c
          CubanPunkInEmeryville Jan 16, 2007 04:18 PM

          ...I definitely mean 'anything that would scream out 'dining haunt for business-types' in terms of atmosphere...these are great suggestions, thanks so much! I've wanted to eat at Everest for many years now...so maybe it's time.

        2. j
          jbw Jan 15, 2007 09:28 PM

          If you're into wine and cheeses Bin 36 can be fun and their first floor is very amenable to singles, where you can dine at a small table or the counter.

          http://www.bin36.com/index.php

          1 Reply
          1. re: jbw
            c
            CubanPunkInEmeryville Jan 16, 2007 08:59 PM

            I've eaten there a few times--thanks for the suggestion.

          2. r
            rmurphy1 Jan 15, 2007 09:41 PM

            A fun place with EXCELLENT cocktails is NoMi just north of Chicago (800N) on Michigan.
            It has a chic ambience and a fun lounge area where you can enjoy cocktails, wine, and/or dinner at the bar, in the lounge or one of the beautiful wine tasting tables right off of the wine cellar.
            I would recommend a small sushi platter with a glass of champagne, or the sliders with a Negroni at the bar.

            Another fun place is the bar at Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill. Modern and savory Mexican, I would recommend a margarita, straight up, with your choice from the Ceviche bar alongside the Tamales de puerco. Just north of the river on clark (around 400N.)

            Cannot miss.

            Late night food if you catch yourself out, the Wiener's Circle.
            Open till 4am, you get the char polish (or all beef red hot) with everything on it, grilled onions. Don't fear yellin your order out ahead of people. The les demoiselles d'avignon will give you a hard time if they smell fear on you.
            Bring someone with you if you get the fries. 2600 N. clark.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rmurphy1
              c
              CubanPunkInEmeryville Jan 16, 2007 04:19 PM

              thanks--great suggestions...have been to Frontera a few times before, so will pass this time, but Wiener's Circle sounds brilliant...

              1. re: rmurphy1
                leek Jan 17, 2007 12:48 PM

                Note that at NoMI in the afternoon, particularly on weekends, you will find boatloads of tourists in Disney Store sweatshirts. Mostly parents stunned and in need of sustenance after taking in American Girl Place with their daughters (and possibly the daughters, totally absorbed in their new dolls)

              2. sundevilpeg Jan 16, 2007 01:54 AM

                Agree completely about Everest. I have eaten there solo twice, have received impeccable service both times, and was even seated windowside on my second visit. I'd recommend it highly.

                Show Hidden Posts