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SF Foodie needs Chicago reccomendations

I will be in Chicago later on in the week and I would like some restaurant reccomendations. I am going for work and my expense account is generous but not unlimited, so looking for $$-$$$ rather than $$$$ type places. I went to Gioco last year when I was in town and thought that was terrific. I would love to go to a really great Italian place and I would also like to try something that exemplfies some of the more innovative food in your city.

Thanks!!

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  1. Here are a few ideas. If you are in the Loop, Trattoria No. 10 has excellent food. A bit north of downtown ($12 cab) is Think Cafe, also Italian and BYO. Check out reviews on Metromix (the Chicago Tribune's site). For Japanese (and some great cooked items in addition to sashimi/sushi), try Oysy.

    1. Check this topic for a discussion of the best Italian places in town:
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/360990

      For innovative food, the nine chefs and restaurants listed in my post in this topic are arguably the most creative in town:
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/368683
      However, all of the nine are at least fairly expensive and a few are extremely so. Schwa is BYO so has a cost advantage for wine drinkers. The regular menu at Everest is a bit less than many of the other top places, and in addition, they have a three-course pre-theater menu for ~$50 at 5:30 each evening they're open except Fridays (also 5:00 on Saturdays in addition to 5:30).

      For a little bit less creativity, and a lot less money, but absolutely outstanding food, consider Aigre Doux, a new place that opened last month and has a huge amount of "buzz" - it's absolutely wonderful, see my report in this topic:
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/365436
      or else One Sixty Blue ( www.onesixtyblue.com ) or one of the other places mentioned in that other topic (Blackbird, Avec, mk, Les Nomades, Ambria, Spring, Custom House, Naha, Sweets and Savories).

      Make sure you make a reservation. Many of the top places in Chicago use opentable.com for reservations, and it's an easy way to check, especially at the last minute. Six of the nine "top chef" places use opentable, as do Aigre Doux, One Sixty Blue, and many of the others.

      1. Thanks a lot! These look like wonderful reccomendations

        1. If you liked Gioco then you'd probably really like Riccardo Trattoria also....

          1. Hot Chocolate in Wicker Park. Avec and Blackbird are fantastic. They are also next door to each other and are sister restaurants.