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Looking for a fun and upscale dinner spot

Eight foodies will be making a weekend trip to Chicago. We were looking for a fun and upscale place for dinner on Friday night where a large group will feel comfortable. I used to live in Chicago but I've forgotten some places and I'm sure there are great new spots. I did like places like Marche and Blackbird. Are they still good? I loved Charlie Trotters but that might be a little too upscale for what we are looking for. Any ideas and suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

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  1. Blackbird is still very good. Marche, on the other hand, has gone downhill. To be honest I'm surprised it is still around. Kleiner's been opening a ton of other restaurants which seem to have more focus than Marche.

    You might give Follia a try. It's small, but they take reservations for 8. It's minimalist decor, perhaps a little more modern, than Blackbird. Roman Italian. Very very good, chic, fun. Also in the market district...Fulton Market.

    1. How upscale do you want to go? I mean if Trotters is too upscale, Alina might be, but it's certainly fun.

      1. Blackbird is still fabulous and it would be my choice. I'm not a fan of Trotter's and you can't tell what you're being served at Alinea (molecular gastronomy...bacon on a trapeeze...). Also, Alinea would also be too upscale.

        1. i went to north pond about a month ago and was really charmed. the setting couldn't be nicer (it's on the park) and it was a very good meal of seasonal midwest ingredients. i think the chef shops a lot at the city green market which is also in the park (not sure of the days, def. saturday). anyway we loved it!

          1. I was always underwhelmed by Blackbird, but have eaten almost monthly @ Marche for a few years and still love it.