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Jun 6, 2007 03:01 AM

Business Dinner in Downtown Chicago

I'm a going to be in Chicago for business next Monday night and I have to take some clients for dinner. Just wondering if anyone has a recomendation in the downtown area (client offices are somewhere around Aron Centre). I'm not looking for something at the Charlie Trotter price level, but the next rung down would be fine (we're on an expense account). We're a 30 something crowd,so something a little trendy and not too stuffy would be a good fit. As for food preferences, better keep it relatively accessible as I don't know my clients' food likes and dislikes (so no trendy Indian for example). Thanks in advance for your suggestions.


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  1. So many choices, so little time. If your clients are native Chicagoans I would suggest skipping the steak places. We professionals wine and dine steakhouses all the time. It gets kind of boring.

    Some of my most memorable and complimented business dinners have been at Allen's New American Cafe (River North, a 5 minute cab from AON). I will admit that Allen is a personal friend, but that has no bearing on how great of a meal you will have. It's low key and in the gallery district. There are the standard steak and fish, but Allen is a master with game and local ingrediants. Check it out, you will not be disappointed and many of your clients will not have been there before.

    For a fun 30-something (that's me too) standby there is Blue Water Grill. My friends and I often cocktail and sushi there. They do have an extensive sit-down menu and the scene can be quite fashionable (but sometimes quite convention) depends on the day.

    1. I suggest Custom House, which is a short cab ride from AON. It's very good, not stuffy, but not so trendy that that you'd feel out of place on a business dinner. If proximity to AON is important, there's a very good restaurant next door in the Fairmont Hotel--Aria. Unfortunately, on a Monday, I'm thinking Aria may be dead.

      1. Head to Blackbird on West Randolph. A short cab ride is well worth it.

        their sister restaurant, Avec, is excellent too, but does not take reservations.

        1. If you are interested in Italian, Cafe Spiaggia or Coco Pazzo are great options for a business dinner (both are short cab rides from the AON Center).

          1. Thanks for the suggestions. Client dinner was cancelled and I ended up going for dinner with some colleagues to Phil Stefani's at 437 Rush. It was a very dissapointing meal. The steak was OK, but I've had better. Same goes for the shrimp cocktail I had as an appetizer. I know Chicago has better to offer but unfortunately we followed the dining advice of the concierge at the Sheraton. I'll know better for next time.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ottawagy

              Well, at the very least, you were eating on hallowed ground. Stefani's used to be Riccardo's, a #1 hangout for Chicago writers, journalists, and other hard-partying folks in the fifties and sixties.