Hottest Trendy Restaurant in Chicago?! Need Recommendations
I will be in chicago in june for a conference and am hosting a business dinner for clients. They are a very trendy crowd and we want to take them to a chicago "hot spot" downtown. The requirements is good atmosphere, unique or trendy decor, interesting menu,no more than a 10 min cabride from the merchandise mart area, and fun.
Any recommendaitons would be appreciated!
Blackbird is your best bet. It's very trendy and has serious contemporary American food. The design is very minimalist stark white. I think the whole experience is fantastic. Depending on the size of your party, they also have a private room upstairs. It's on West Randolph St., less than 10 minutes from the Mart. If you want Japanese, Japonais on Chicago Ave. would be a good choice.
Aigre Doux is your best bet. It's new (just opened in January) and, based on my dinner there (as reported at www.chowhound.com/topics/365436 ), the food and service are spectacular. The food is contemporary American with a bit of an international flair. It is the restaurant with the most "buzz" in Chicago right now. It's also right across the street from the Merchandise Mart.
I second Aigre Doux! Just dined there tonight and it is HEAVENLY!!!! Probably the best dining experience I've had in a couple of years! My husband and I talked about it the whole way home. The food is perfection and the atmosphere is great. I already can't wait to go back and I know I'll be craving their food. I lived in LA for many years and I definitely see the chef/owners LA influences in this restaurant. Its unlike anyplace else in Chicago. I'll be posting about our experience more in-depth very soon!
Although Aigre Doux is really good...it is your typical upscale, expensive, French/american menu, nice decor type restaurant. If you are looking for a funatmosphere and interesting menu, I would recommend delacosta. It is on the river, has very unique drinks such as poptinis (actual popsicles in your drink), great muddled drinks, great for people watching, and has interesting menu--ceviches, tapas and entrees. depends on what type of a place you want...
I agree with the DeLaCosta recommendation. The food at Aigre Doux is wonderful, but I was recently there on a weekend night and they had overbooked, resulting in a wait for our table, and the servers were extremely overtaxed. Also, the setting is not that great for a group dinner. DeLaCosta, on the other hand, is a big place, so great for a group, and the menu is very creative with many great choices.
I heartily agree with the DeLaCosta recommendations. I have eaten at both Aigre Doux and DeLaCosta and no doubt the food at both are great, here are a couple points that may differentiate the two for you, based upon your situation and requirements -
1. Aigre Doux is newer, so there is more buzz about this place. All that buzz resulted in my party of four being seated for our 7:30pm weeknight reservation after 8:15pm with no apologies. Your clients may not appreciate that.
2. Decor at Aigre Doux is nice and upscale, but not unique or trendy. Again, it's new, so the large, dark, empty, soon-to-be bakery side of the place might look better by June. And the weird, long, unfinished-looking hallway leading to the bathroom downstairs totally detracted from the upscale look of the upstairs. Decor at DeLaCosta is fabulous and fun, it has a great lounge in the back, and a view of the river.
3. DeLaCosta might be better for groups - the restaurant itself is much larger, with a big bar up front and large semi-circular booths that may be fun for groups when you sit down to dinner. Not sure the size of your party, but at Aigre Doux, the bar was very cramped, so I ended up waiting for my table at the hostess stand. There didn't seem to be any large parties the night I went, so I don't know how well they can accomodate.
4. DeLaCosta has a great drinks menu in addition to their food, so you can get all kinds of interesting beverages, instead of just wine and the usual cocktails.
All in all, DeLaCosta is where I take people I want to impress and is my go-to place when I want a great scene and great food.
Coco Pazzo is almost a WALK from the Merchandise Mart. Has good menu, good vibe, well established. Not necessarily the "hottest trendy place", but very solid and fun.