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Mar 12, 2007 10:52 AM

Frontera Grill vs. Topo for lunch

I'm going to be in chicago in about 10 days and I've been hearing great things about Rick Bayless' restaurants. As a recent college grad, $$ is a consideration so I'm thinking about going to either Topo or Frontera Grill for lunch (for 2 people to celebrate a birthday). Which one would you recommend? I know Frontera doesn't take reservations but does it get really crowded for lunch? Thanks!

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  1. Frontera accepts reservations for lunch. I called on a Thursday @ 11:00, and go a 12:00 table for the same day. The restaurant was packed by 12:30.

    My wife and myself had lunch and the tab was $70 that included 3 tequila tasing flights. The food was excellent, and you may just see Chef Bayless as we did on our visit.

    1 Reply
    1. re: swsidejim

      Frontera Grill accepts reservations, but only for that same day, starting at 8:30 a.m. Call them the morning you wish to have lunch there, as close to 8:30 as you can.

      Frontera Grill is less expensive than Topolobampo. You can view the current menus for both, including prices, on their website at

    2. Topo's lunch prices are far cheaper than dinner - to the point that they're almost the same as Frontera's. Check out the menus and see what you'd probably eat.

      Is a quieter atmosphere, guaranteed reservation now. and somewhat fancier food worth an extra $15-20? Go for Topo.

      We've been to Frontera for lunch....arrived right when they opened (11:30) and the place was quiet, by the time we had our appetizer the restaurant was at full throttle, and by the time we left, I overheard the hostess say the wait was one hour. My advice is if you prefer Frontera to get there early.

      1. When I was in Chicago 3 years ago, I had an early dinner at Frontera Grill. If they offer a ceviche appetizer (I recall it having white fish and green olives in it) GRAB IT. It was phenomenal!!

        1. Thanks for all the advice, I think I've decided on Frontera since I'd rather the casual atmosphere. I'll try and call that morning for a reservation or I'll get there early. Any suggestions for what to order? Would you recommend splitting some of the smaller plates or just going for the entrees?

          1 Reply
          1. re: AnjLM

            I was able to make a lunch reservation at Frontera a couple days in advance the last time I tried (about a month ago). It can't hurt to give them a call earlier.