upcoming trip to Chicago
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!?
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.
For a summary of the very best, most creative chefs and restaurants in town, see this topic:
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:
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:
730 N. Rush St.
162 E. Superior St
Phone: 312-266 DEEP (3337)
439 North Wells Street
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!
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 ??
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