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Jul 20, 2007 11:34 AM

Unique Chicago Restaurant

Need some help, my inlaws (who are not foodies) are coming to town in about a month and I need someplace unique in Chicago to take them to eat. It shouldn't be too pricey (roughly $10 -$20 entrees), be fairly casual, and I'd like it to be something sort of cool - maybe a great view, a cool neighborhood, or a nice outdoor patio.

Somebody told me about NoMi's outdoor dinning as, I guess, they serve some sort of "bar menu". Anybody been there? Is that a good choice? Is their bar menu priced reasonably?

Any suggestions are appreciated.

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  1. Somewhere in Greektown might be a possibility -- the prices are within your range, it's quintessential Chicago, and you could try to get a table on the roof deck at Pegasus for a nice view.

    Timo (corner of Halsted, Grand, and Milwaukee) has a beautiful patio. The entrees may be a bit more than your guidelines (low $20's).

    West Town Tavern might be a possibility as well. Really good food (mostly American), a neighborhood place, nice room. As I recall the entrees are about $18-25.

    Pegasus Restaurant
    130 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60661

    Timo Restaurant
    464 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60622

    West Town Tavern
    1329 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

    1. Using the key words "unique in Chicago," I can maybe throw something at you - although I can't rec NoMi - never been. I have non-foodie in-laws, and depending on WHERE they are from, they might be quite easy to please. For "unique to Chicago," My in-laws have been absolutely ENTHRALLED by:
      Dick's Last Resort (last time the food was just god-awful, but the service makes it "unique")
      The stuffed pizza joints (take your pick here)
      Higher - end mexican (adobo, frontera / I'm not a salpicon fan) higher -end Mex fare is not very prevalent outside of larger metropolitan areas.
      Lower-end mexican - they LOVE the giant burrito
      Greek-Town (the rooftop place?)
      China Town (cool neighborhood?)
      Irazu. (nice outdoor patio, Costa Rican fare - cool neighborhood view)
      These are recs for non-foodies who do not have a major metropolitan area near their home. My in-laws can't get this stuff where they live, so they are happy with this "unique to Chicago" stuff. Sometimes it's quite a drag, but it also keeps everything in perspective as in - this is really a great food town if I can complain about Giordano's not being the best stuffed pizza.

      1 Reply
      1. re: gordeaux

        interesting that you'd say chinatown because it can be so hit or miss - you really have to go there with a game plan.

      2. I'd take them to Topo Gigio and eat on the patio. Good, solid Italian food in a nice atmosphere in Oldtown, nearly all entrees are under $20, and they can put together an appetizer platter for the whole table for another $20 or so.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pete Oldtown

          I'll second Topo Gigio. I prefer it to Quartino's, and I like the neighborhood feel more than Quartino's location in the middle of all the tourist busses and high rises. Its not really a unique Chicago experience, but a solid, enjoyable Italian meal.

          Before or after, you can walk up and down Wells St. which is very nice. If you like to cook, Chicago's best spice store is also a few doors down (The Spice House) with several Chicago themed spice mixes that make good Chowhound souvenirs.

        2. NoMi's outdoor dining is beautiful, and the food is very good, but it's not within your price range. The food is sushi rolls and small plates, and they tend to be expensive.

          1. I would try Quartino. Great food, fun atmosphere and very low prices for both food and wine. We have taken several non-foodie friends from out of town there and they always love it. It's all small plates so everyone gets to try a little bit of everything

            2 Replies
            1. re: elc515

              Second on Quartino. Fine for the less-than-knowledgeable and less-than-adventurous, with enough to interest those wanting to range further afield. Outdoor patio though it's nothing special (on a State St. sidewalk). Genuine enthusiasm all the way through the operation, which goes a long way. --PR

              1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                Thanks for the replies. These are the type of places that I'm looking for, I'm going to do a bit of R&D on these on Friday (tough job, eh?).

                West Town tavern is one of our faves, but Quartino sounds like it may fit the bill.

                Keep the suggestions coming!!!!