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Where do all the 20-somethings dine out?

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I've visited Chicago a few times and been wined and dined by my doting parents. But this trip, they won't be there to foot the bill. Where can I come close to Aigre Doux and Blackbird on a more moderate budget? Better yet, is there somewhere that's a steal for fine-ish dining that might be even more interesting?

I'm not talking super-trendy or hyper-hip, just something with a nighttime going-out feel and a bit of sophistication.

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  1. Avec is pretty good and not ridiculously expensive. May Street Cafe in Pilsen.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cherrypielover

      I'll second Avec - although I haven't been a twenty something for a while... Its the more causal neighbor to Blackbird - same owners. Long communal tables. Lots of smaller dishes and wines by the glass.

    2. **Better yet, is there somewhere that's a steal for fine-ish dining that might be even more interesting?**

      You might try the Back Street Bistro on North Wabash in the Loop which is run by the culinary program at the Illinois Institute of Art.

      http://centerstagechicago.com/art/gal...

      1. What about Deleece at Southport/Irving or Hopleaf on Clark? In a similar vein as the previous post there's also the Dining Room at Kendall College.

        1. I know I sound like a broken record, but Lula Cafe in Logan Square is always good. You can order from their "regular" menu which is great (and cheap) or the specials which are...special...and even better.

          It also has the added bonus of being totally cool and as organic as they can be.

          1. Scylla (while its still there) is great and it is a little less expensive than most of the casual fine dining places.

            Other places to try:
            - Jack's on Halsted
            - Adobo Grill (for drinks and appetizers only, the entrees aren't that great)
            - Vong's Thai Kitchen (although it's not really a deal at dinner like it is at lunch)
            - Quartino's (only if you sit outside, inside is too noisy to enjoy)

            If you are willing to skimp on the sophistication:
            - Inn Joy - fun place in a fun neighborhood (Wicker Park). Very good bar food (I highly recommend their veggie burgers and I'm not a vegetarian).
            - Andalous Moroccan (BYOB)