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upcoming trip to Chicago

w
WashDC33 Feb 23, 2007 06:07 AM

I know this is pretty broad but I am coming to Chicago the first week of March for the first time and was hoping you could steer me in the right direction as far as restaurants to try. I am going with my mom who is in the restaurant business and we both truly enjoy food. We are looking for a couple nice, upscale places (where it is possible to get a reservation), some unpretentious restaurants with great food, unique dining experiences, true Chicago restaurants. We are staying at the Talbott Hotel near Michigan Ave. Any help is truly appreciated! Thanks.

PS- Where is the best chicago-style pizza!?

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  1. p
    profjmm Feb 23, 2007 06:53 AM

    For a nice upscale place near the Talbott, try Cafe Spiaggia. The main Spiaggia is wonderful but very expensive; Cafe Spiaggia has terrific food and a more relaxed atmosphere for far less money.

    1. nsxtasy Feb 23, 2007 07:19 AM

      For a summary of the very best, most creative chefs and restaurants in town, see this topic:
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/368683
      The first nine listed there are among the very best restaurants in Chicago (and in the entire country). Those listed after that in that same topic are more casual and you may find them to be somewhat less pretentious. In particular, for sublime food in a casual setting, my top two picks are Aigre Doux ( www.aigredouxchicago.com ) and One Sixty Blue ( www.onesixtyblue.com ). Aigre Doux recently opened to raves and is the hottest new restaurant in town. See my review here:
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/365436

      Regarding reservations, most of the best restaurants in Chicago, including six of the top nine listed in that topic as well as Aigre Doux and One Sixty Blue, take reservations on opentable.com so with a few clicks on your keyboard you can find openings and make reservations at those listed there. If you are having a tough time getting a reservation at any particular place, the concierge at the Talbott may be able to help.

      For the best Chicago-style pizza, keep in mind that there are two basic styles: the double-crust "stuffed" pizza such as at Giordano's, and the single-crust "pan" pizza such as at Lou Malnati's and Gino's East. You can start a heated debate about which is "best" but all are delicious. (Giordano's is my favorite but I enjoy all three.) Giordano's and Gino's are both a few blocks from the Talbott; Malnati's is a bit further. Here are the closest locations to the Talbott:

      Giordano's
      730 N. Rush St.
      (312) 951-0747
      www.giordanos.com

      Gino's East
      162 E. Superior St
      Phone: 312-266 DEEP (3337)
      www.ginoseast.com

      Lou Malnati's
      439 North Wells Street
      Phone 312.828.9800
      www.loumalnatis.com

      For more discussion on Chicago-style pizza:
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/327474
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/319254

      2 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy
        kauai2b Feb 27, 2007 06:08 PM

        Nsxtasy,
        You frighten me with your knowledge and links to the previous posts.(in a good way) Well done! It's really appreciated!

        I know 160 blue is one of your faves. What do you recommend and is dessert as satisfying as the meal? I'm a dessert freak.

        Thx!

        1. re: kauai2b
          nsxtasy Feb 28, 2007 08:43 AM

          I think I had the Belgian endive salad, but I don't remember what I had as an entree. I usually order seafood of some sort if that helps.

          I am a dessert freak too. Yes, the desserts at One Sixty Blue are every bit as good as the rest of the food there. A place with great appetizers and entrees and so-so desserts wouldn't blow me away. One Sixty Blue and Aigre Doux do. The desserts at both places are TO DIE FOR. If you go to Aigre Doux, make sure you order the sticky toffee pudding (which is not a pudding at all, IMHO).

          Thanks for the kind words!

      2. w
        WashDC33 Feb 25, 2007 09:08 AM

        Thanks so much for all the advice. I have made reservations at Cafe Spiaggia and Aigre Doux. Any suggestions for Sunday brunch? Thanks again!

        1 Reply
        1. re: WashDC33
          nsxtasy Feb 25, 2007 01:20 PM

          Suggestions for Sunday brunch:
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/364403

        2. c
          Chicago Mike Feb 25, 2007 01:39 PM

          First off, congrats on choosing the area around the Talbott because you don't get a more central location than that, except maybe Sutton Place, but you're at a great location within walking distance of well more than enough to keep you occupied.

          Again, as I've said on so many threads... it really depends on:

          1) The cuisine you're interested in AND
          2) Your price points.

          Chicago has everything from gourmet thai restaurants with entrees around $6.00 on up to 23 course prixe fixe degustations running several hundred...

          BTW, if you get homesick for a great deli, consider the Askenaz Deli a few blocks north of the Talbott right near the triangle intersection of State and Rush... many New Yorkers have told me they like the food better than at their fave delis in NYC.

          What's your greatest interest ??

          1. d
            dlpens Mar 1, 2007 08:44 PM

            My vote is always Dues on Ontario - the second deep dish pizza restaurant after Unos but for some reason my family has always loved Dues more. The greatest in Chicago INHO

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