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Fam of 5 (kids 4,6,8), 2 nights in Chicago- Best downtown?

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We will be in Chicago for 2 nights, where are the best restaraunts to take our family of five? We want family friendly food and fun (and a decent wine list)!

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  1. Does "a decent wine list" mean "fine dining"? Because three children ages 4, 6, and 8...I wonder. If I had three that age in tow I would think of Buca di Beppo where the Italian food all comes in family-size portions and (I can say from experience) children, not always of the quiet variety, are welcome. See their website.

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    1. re: Querencia

      Decent wine list tends not to equate to family friendly food and fun. When you say 'downtown' - I'll assume you'll be on the near north side in hotelville.

      Family food/fun- I know we adults all hate the rainforest cafe, but three kids under 8 would be estatic. Ed Debevics is another fave of kids. Dave and Busters, ESPN zone all have food, fun and games. But you might know this stuff already. But dont be a kid restaurant snob... deal with the applebees quality food so the kids can eat in a rainforest. Dont forget to talk to your hotel concierge to get into these places more quickly than you can off the street.

      If you are looking for more interesting food, you might want to shoot for Big Bowl - good pan asian stuff, and the kids get really cool stuff- these wiki stick things, really cool kiddie cocktail glasses, etc. A decent wine list can certainly be had. You can try places like Reza's for middle eastern kabob like food , Scoozi or Maggiano's for Italian, or take a cab to Greektown and see some belly dancing!

    2. If you are downtown I recommend (a) Wildfire. It has lots of steaks, grilled chicken, etc. that kids will understand and like but that it a quality dining experience for adults. My nieces love the place. Also, (b) Fogo de Chao. A Brazilian steakhouse and meatfest, although the salad bar is excellent, as well. Both restaurants have quality wine lists, although both are pricey because of the location (River North, just north of downtown). You can do more research on Metromix.com. Have fun.

      1. I suggest going to one of the places that specialize in Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Perfect for the kids. All the chains have multiple locations downtown (although "downtown" is quite a big area!):

        Places that specialize in double-crust, "stuffed" deep-dish pizza:

        Giordano's - www.giordanos.com
        Bacino's - www.bellabacinos.com
        Edwardo's - www.edwardos.com

        Places that specialize in single-crust, "pan" pizza:

        Gino's East - www.ginoseast.com
        Lou Malnati's - www.loumalnatis.com

        Access their menus on their websites, and call ahead to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes in the restaurant for your pizza to bake. Follow the menu recommendations regarding how many people (adults) each pizza serves (no, they're not kidding, a large pizza really does serve 3-4 people).

        For discussions over whose is best:
        www.chowhound.com/topics/327474
        www.chowhound.com/topics/319254

        2 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          My suggestion is Grnad Luxe Cafe at Ontario and Michigan (2nd floor, entrance across from Lawry's). Huge menu, huge portions, great decor, enough variety to satisfy kids and parents.

          1. re: patrickw

            We stayed in a hotel in River North when we first moved to Chicago, for two weeks, with 2 kids ages 6 and 8. We ate at Quartinos on State Street and all loved it. The restaurant is noisy enough that kids blend in. And great wines. We also ate at Big Bowl a couple of times. And we went into this place called Bijan Bistro, also on State Street. It's tiny, but if you go early enough, I don't think kids are a problem as long as their older and quiet--and aren't excpecting chicken fingers or grilled cheese. Both times we ate there, the staff was friendly to the kids. Gave them extra olives. The deep dish pizza places are fun for kids too.