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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.

            1. BOKA could be a good choice for your group. I dined there (under the new chef, who I believe came from Trotter's) with a group of 7 and they were able to accomodate easily. The food was terrific, and the outdoor patio could be a nice fun option.

              I also think that Delacosta is really fun, with good food in a vibrant atmosphere. I think that BOKA is more subdued, but not to the point where a group would feel uncomfortable. I prefer the food at BOKA, but Delacosta might be a good choice if you're looking for a really fun atmosphere where you could hang out for drinks afterward.



              3 Replies
              1. re: jn2001

                I would suggest Avec, MK, Aigre Doux, or Scylla (in Bucktown) for your group. All terrific food with a great ambiance, in my opinion!

                1. re: DKS1

                  You may want to take Scylla off your list. It will be closed by 9/1, and restaurants, like employees, are not often at their sterling best once they've given notice. More here:


                  1. re: jbw

                    NOOOOOOO!!!! Scylla is my favorite restaurant right now.

              2. If you are staying near the airport I am big fan of Cafe la Cave. Upscale steakhouse.

                1. Thanks for the advice everyone. We've decided to go with Blackbird. We're going tonight. I'll let you know what we think. Some of our other weekend eats will probably include Lou Malnati's (or some other deep dish) on Saturday night and The Bongo Room for brunch on saturday or sunday.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: eddie money

                    I'm very curious to know how you enjoyed your meal/experience at Blackbird. My husband and I have reservations for this coming Friday. Any reccommendations?

                  2. You should at least pop in Avec. It's right next door to Blackbird. It's a bit more of a relaxed/laid back atmosphere than Blackbird, and it's run by the same people. It's just a wine bar with mostly creative app's that are fun to share. I'm in love with their Spanish/Italian/French wine list, too. The servers are very knowledgable about the unique wines and food. The communal tables always make for an interesting time as well. When we're in that area, we like to stop down the road for a nightcap, (about a mile or so west on Randolph) to the Tasting Room. Go up to the 2nd floor, grab a glass of wine, beer, or martini and enjoy the Chicago skyline.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: naperwino

                      I remember the Tasting Room! I liked that place. Thanks.