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Restaurant recommendations / Peninsula Hotel

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Hi Chicago area residents!
My girlfriends and I (7 total) are going to be in Chicago soon for a weekend and we're staying at the Peninsula Hotel. We are interested in a nice dinner Saturday night and we're looking for some recommendations as none of us are familiar with Chicago restaurants. We'd be open to American, Japanese, Mediteranean, Thai, Mexican, Spanish, Italian, basically any type of cuisine. Can anyone give us some restaurant recommendations? Our price range would be ~ $20.00 entree or somewhere in that area, with a fun atmosphere of course. We obviously are willing to take a cab, but don't want to go too far.
Any feedback would be appreciated.

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  1. Only 2 blocks from the Peninsula (North) is my favorite not-too-pricey place to eat, Bistro 110. It is casual upscale French, great freindly atmoshpere with always amazing food.

    A nice place for Tapas is only a few blocks West at Cafe Iberico, but it gets crowded! They have great Sangria as well.

    1. A block west (if that) is a Giordano's. I personally don't like Giordano's as much as others on the board but it is good and fits your price range. If you do go, definitely get the stuffed cheese and spinach and be prepared for a) 45 mins to get your table and b) use your fridge for leftovers. Re-reading your post, this is not fancy by any means. You may want to go as a lunch/early dinner on another night. Also, the Pennisula has a chocolate buffett that may be up your alley. You picked an awesome hotel BTW. Very convenient and elegent!

      1. For Mexican, definitely Frontera, which is within walking distance of the Peninsula (and will take a reservation for a large group like yours). Another recommendation for Mexican is Salpicon, also within walking distance (now that it has gotten "warm"). This is slightly off-topic, but Pierrot Gourmet, on the ground floor of the Peninsula, serves terrific breakfasts.

        1. For sushi and Thai, oddly enough, consider the Silver Spoon. I've only had sushi there so far but it was a great value and I've heard good things about their Thai. Don't be scared off by the name or two cuisine options. I was once a sushi chef, part time for a year, and I really appreciated the freshness and straight forward approach as well as the maybe too sedate for some vibe of the place. And the location is just one block off the Mile.

          1. Quartino is pretty close. It's Italian small plates and pretty reasonably priced given both its location and the quality of the food.

            Quartino
            626 N State St
            (312) 698-5000