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Feb 15, 2007 06:00 PM

Chow by Tribune Tower

So. Cal. woman will be staying at the Intercontinental next week. I hear it is too cold to go out exploring. Any thoughts on REALLY close places? I'm not too particular, in these circumstances, but prefer "interesting" over "hotel." Thanks.

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  1. Welcome to Chicago. All of the following are east of Michigan Avenue:

    Sayat Nova, reliable, low-key Armenian, on Ohio

    Blackie's, cheeseburger joint cum bar, on Grand

    Coco Pazzo Cafe, good-value stylish Italian, on St. Clair

    Fox & Obel cafe in namesake gourmet grocery, on Illinois

    Have fun. Favor us with a report if you can.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Mugs

      Sayat Nova is the only remaining Armenian restaurant in Chicago, has very moderate prices for the area and has excellent food. It is also off the tourist radar. Several lunches and dinners there at the height of the tourist crush in July and August were quite peaceful. They are in the first block east of Michigan Avenue, a bit over a block from the Intercontinental Hotel.

      Sayat Nova
      157 East Ohio Street

      1. re: Eldon Kreider

        Thank you. I just found it on my map. I will be going there for sure.

    2. Thank you for the recommendations. Armenian sounds GREAT. I will report on my experiences.

      1. But it's not really too cold for exploring. Weather is set to get up into the 40's next week. Try a cab, or even the El, to get to some of our neighborhoods where great chow can be had! Depending on what you want, we can direct you to some really good places just steps from an El stop, or a short cab ride away! Chicago has some great stuff here, so don't let a little chill scare you away from it.

        1. Here are more excellent places within a couple of blocks of your hotel:

          Heaven on Seven (Cajun)
          600 N Michigan Ave
          Chicago, IL 60611
          (312) 280-7774

          Shaw's Crab House (seafood)
          21 E Hubbard St
          Chicago, IL 60611
          (312) 527-2722

          Joe's Seafood Prime Steak & Stone Crab
          60 E Grand Ave
          Chicago, IL 60611
          (312) 379-5637

          David Burke's Primehouse (steaks)
          616 N Rush
          Chicago, IL 60611
          (312) 660-6000

          Pizzeria Uno
          29 E Ohio St
          Chicago, IL 60611
          (312) 280-5120

          Les Nomades (French)
          222 E Ontario St
          Chicago, IL 60611
          (312) 649-9010

          And I wouldn't *automatically* rule out restaurants in hotels. Some chefs of restaurants inside hotels are given a lot of autonomy and are some of the finest places around (may others aren't, of course). For example, David Burke's, which is located in the James Chicago Hotel, is one of the best steakhouses in the city.

          1 Reply
          1. re: nsxtasy

            Thank you for the links. I love to read about the food before I eat it (or why would I know this website.) I'm not dissing hotel food, it's just that I know Chicago has great restaurants and eating at the same place every night would be a bore. I think I passed Shaw's Crab House last time I was there and kick myself for missing that opportunity. I'm glad you reminded me about it.

          2. You'll want to stay away from Pizzeria Uno unless you want to stand in line with the rest of tourists from Indiana who are marched in like cattle, order taken while still in line, and rushed out. The Intercontinental now has a really cool wine bar which looks out on Michigan Avenue and has an amazine wine list, cheese and not so great chocolate. Stick with the wine and cheese. Not one block away and on Michigan Ave is Bandera which has very good food (get the mashed potatoes)...more of a lunch place though. And, if you like to hang out with media types, the Billy Goat is about a block away for beer and less than average burgers. The Heaven on Seven listed above is a cattle call as well. It's the tourist version of the far better original.