Dining alone near Swissotel?
Did I even spell it right? Its on Whacker Drive, downtown I guess. (Can you tell I don't know Chicago very well?)
Anyway, I have a meeting there Friday and arrive Thursday pm. It looks like I'll be alone, and I'll be hungry. Any ideas? (I know that there is a Palm restaurant in the hotel, but I'm sure that will be the site of one of the group dinners during the meeting...). I don't want to have to walk more than a block or two as I'm sure it will be freezing.....yep, I'm a wimp.
Thanks! Any cuisine is ok, but inexpensive is better.
Just wanted to thank you all for your suggestions. I'm filing them away for future use; maybe later in the weekend. Because the chowhound curse hit me...whenever I post asking for suggestions for the night I arrive somewhere I always get delayed....My first flight was cancelled and the second one didn't get me there until 11:00 pm (there were weather "issues" in Chicago yesterday) so dinner was 24 hour room service at the hotel, and not that good at that.....
Chicago-style pizza! The biggest chains for great Chicago-style pizza are Giordano's, which has a double-crust "stuffed" pizza, and Lou Malnati's and Gino's East, which have a single-crust "pan" pizza. All of these are absolutely delicious, IMHO, although many people argue endlessly over which is the best of these. (My personal favorite is Giordano's, because I love their crust along the edge the best, but I like all of them.)
The closest location to your hotel is Giordano's in Prudential Plaza, only about three blocks away:
135 E. Lake St.
The closest locations of Lou Malnati's and Gino's East are about a mile from your hotel:
439 North Wells Street
162 E. Superior St
Phone: 312-266 DEEP (3337)
and this one was a pizza discussion for someone staying at the Fairmont, a couple of blocks from the Swissotel:
Sayat Nova is a low-key, reliable, small Armenian restaurant on E. Ohio a very short cab ride from your hotel. I have eaten there solo many times and have always been made to feel welcome. (Indeed, the place has a whiff of a hideout.)
Cafe Iberico on N. LaSalle is a boisterous tapas restaurant a short cab ride from your hotel. Chicago 'hounds tend to either love Cafe Iberico or hate it. I favor the Galician soup, the dinner salads, and the entrees.
Both places have fair prices, especially if you can catch the lunch menu at Sayat Nova.
I agree with the other posters -- since the location of Swissotel is a few blocks removed from the activity and hubbub of Michigan Ave, your options would increase if you took a short cab ride.
If you're looking for a quick lunch or breakfast place, though, Fox and Obel (401 E Illinois St) is walkable from Swisshotel -- it's about 5 blocks.
It's a high-end gourmet grocery store -- think of it as an equivalent to Dean & Deluca or Zabar's in New York. The cafe has solid breakfast and lunch offerings. It's also open for dinner until 8:00. You wouldn't feel out of place eating alone there, and it's fun to browse the grocery store for interesting (albeit expensive) foods. I especially enjoy their bakery, and I've been told their ($14) Maine Lobster Club is quite good.
To get to Fox and Obel, walk out of the front of Swissotel and turn left (East) on Wacker Drive, walk a couple hundred feet, and take the stairs down to the Columbus Dr bridge. Walk North across the river and continue for about two blocks until you hit Illinois St. Take a right, you'll pass a massive AMC Movie Theatre, go another block, and Fox and Obel will be in a red building on the right.
Janet, if I were you I would take a cab and go to Avec, about 1 1/2 miles west of your hotel.
Open at 3:30 everyday, no reservations, seating at the bar or long communal tables -- I think you would feel very comfortable there dining alone.
Please don't feel that you have to be stuck near your hotel -- this is what cabs are for! :-)
Oh, I'm willing to take a short cab ride...just have to keep the expense down a bit. But I like the small plates idea, so Avec might be good...and I like the no reservations and communal tables.
Sorry about misspelling Wacker. Makes it sound bad, huh? :-).
Any good ethnic a short cab ride away??
"Any good ethnic a short cab ride away??"
As Mugs says (hi Mugs!), there's Sayat Nova for Armenian and Iberico for tapas. I like both of those spots. Rick Bayless's two high-end Mexican restaurants, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, are also a short cab ride away, though Topolo, where you can make a reservation, will be expensive for dinner and Frontera will surely be a long wait (no reservations, always packed) -- perhaps less of a wait for one person if you want to eat at the bar. Also Frontera, though less expensive than Topolo, might be more expensive than what you are looking for.
Greektown is also nearby (basically a few blocks south of Avec) with many choices. I like Santorini, also Venus, which is Cypriot.
South of you in the loop (Adams between Michigan and Wabash) is Russian Tea Time, which also has Uzbeki dishes on the menu (the owners are from Uzbekistan).
Chicago has really great ethnic dining in more far-flung neighborhoods. The Red line el/subway train (go to State Street to catch it in the loop) can take you to a few of those neighborhoods: north for Vietnamese and Thai, or south to Chinatown. But that's probably more of a trek than you want right after arriving in town.
The Swissotel is fairly isolated. You could walk east to Michigan Avenue and the Hard Rock Hotel which has a China Grill. If you want to walk a bit further your options will open up significantly. Keep going east on Wacker and you'll hit a bunch of restaurants. Or, right over the river and you'll be headed to a bunch of restaurants (Blackies, Bandera's, etc.).
You could stay in the hotel and order in some Connies pan pizza.
Well, you're somewhat isolated at Swissotel. A short cab ride will widen your options considerably (and cabs are usually easy to find in downtown Chicago). If you want to stay in the neighborhood, tho, might I suggest Aria in the nearby Fairmont Hotel. I've never been myself, but it's been garnering a few good reviews of late. Here's an earlier review to give you an idea of their cuisine. It's lukewarm, but perhaps they've gotten their act together by now:
McClurg Court, by the way, is not far as the crow flies. But you have to cross the Chicago River to get there and that'll require some hiking.
Lucky for you it's supposed to be in the 50's on Thursday and then dropping down to the low 30's on Friday. So you will get to experience the true Chicago weather drop. (note the sarcasm). I did a quick check for you. A nice place for a drink and some Irish food is Lizzie McNeills on McClurg. It's a little Irish pub that faces the river. Not too far from the hotel. That's the only place I can really recommend within walking distance. If you are willing to take a quick cab ride, that would open a lot more options.
Oh and it's Wacker Drive.