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Jan 22, 2007 11:48 PM

fantastic place for Birthday dinner????

Hi there-I am looking for a great place to take my wife for her birthday dinner—We generally try and surprise each other with a new place each year (past places have been Rushmore, Bin 36, Schwa, A Tavola ) We are looking to spend ideally no more than 250-300$

Place I have thought of include Blue Water Grill, Topolabambo, Frontera, Alenia, Everest, Boka—any thoughts on these or others I should consider???

Thanks in advance-

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  1. Of the ones you mention, especially for her birthday dinner, I would choose Everest over the others. Definitely. There are many good restaurants in the city, including those mentioned above. But for a special occasion, Everest has a couple of advantages over the others. One, the service is absolutely exquisite - not just top-notch, as you would expect at any expensive restaurant, but delightful and memorable. Two, the view from the top of the Chicago Stock Exchange building is thrilling and romantic. Three, the surroundings are elegant and spacious (contrast this with the cramped tables at Topo/Frontera). Four, the prices haven't hit the obscene levels seen at a few other places in town (you're not going to get through Alinea for $250-300, unless you mean per person). And the food is as good as any place in town. So that's why Everest would be my pick.

    1. Thanks for the reply- I did some research and saw how expensive alenia is- so they are definatley out- about how much PP is Everest?


      1 Reply
      1. re: coopercj

        The dollar amount is going to vary with what you order, particularly with respect to wine and alcoholic beverages. The Tribune reviewed it this past June ( ) and at that time the entrees were $32-46 and the 7-course tasting menu was $89. That's about what I remember from the last time I ate there, I think it was earlier last year. It may have gone up a little bit since then. With one reasonably-priced bottle of wine, I think the two of you can dine there within your budget. Also note that they have a special three-course pre-theater menu (I think it's $50/pp) at 5:30 each night they're open other than Fridays, and at 5:00 (in addition to 5:30) on Saturdays; if the timing works for you, this may even put you below your target range.

        1. re: Chicago Mike

          Blackbird. They treated me like the Duchess of Kent on my last birthday visit there, including rejiggering their schedule to accommodate me and my companion the same day - a Friday(!), giving us a primo table (which is toiugh there), and putting birthday candles on my cheese plate! Great food, still a hot scene. Wear slinky black. Both of you! :o)

          (My last birthday celebration was at Trio, last January, but thinking about how lovely it was and how perfectly awful the place that replaced it (Quince) is that it makes me weepy. Leslee Reis must be spinning in her grave.)

        2. I would caution against a place like Frontera, only because the atmosphere is so hectic and the service is haphazard at best. From prior experience, I can say that it will not yield a very romantic experience. If you want to try a Rick Bayless restaurant, perhaps the best option would be Topolabambo.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hemingwayscat

            Near to Frontera, Coco Pazzo is another good option. A bit on the medium-casual side but still plenty nice food & service, and you're not sardined-in with the next table. We've had birthdays and anniversaries there and it was plenty fine.