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.
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
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.
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.
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.
130 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60661
464 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60622
West Town Tavern
1329 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642