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Visiting Chicago - need advice

We are going to Chicago for my sister's 40th birthday weekend. We would like it to be a memorable experience for her, so I'm looking for...

1.) A great restaurant for dinner on Sat. We have had recs. for Tru, NoMi. Spiaggia and Carnivale. Which of these is the best, or do you have any other recs?

2.) We would like to get tea Fri. afternoon. Which is the best place for high tea?

3.) Best Sun. brunch or breakfast place?

4.) I also need a great bakery to get a cake (or even better, cupcakes from). Proximity to our magnificent mile area hotel would be helpful.

Thank you

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  1. 1) All of those have great food, but the view alone puts NoMi on top, especially if you can get a window table. Start off with a drink in the outdoor bar, and finish the night with a carriage ride from the Water Tower.

    2) The Peninsula

    3) For a Chicago experience, it's Lou Mitchell's or Wishbone.

    4) Can't help you there.

    1. Sweet Mandy B's in Lincoln Park has excellent cupcakes and cakes (no website, apparently, but a "menu" is on chicago.menupages.com). Closer to your hotel you could try Fox and Obel, a gourmet market with a cafe and bakery.

      http://www.fox-obel.com/market/pastry...

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      Sweet Mandy B's
      1208 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

      Fox & Obel Food Market
      401 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611

      1. 2) Tea at the Four Seasons is wonderful. My family goes every year in December. I haven't been to the tea at the Peninsula, but I've heard it's great too.

        3) If you search this board for brunch you'll get lots of options. Among my favorites: I love Orange (they have two locations, but their South Loop location on Harrison has shorter waits and is closer to your hotel). Orange is known for great juices, frushi (fruit sushi - I'm not wild about it) and their pancake flights. Four stacks of silver dollar pancakes prepared in variations on a theme. Lou Mitchell's is definitely a Chicago institution though, plus they give you a donut hole as you walk in the door.

        1. 1) We just went to NoMI over the 4th of July week and it wasn't so great. The view was nice, but the food was not up to the standard of the other places we ate. Spiaggia and Tru are certainly contenders, as is Everest. These were the best places in our opinions. As a plus, Everest has a great view as well. Spiaggia has a solid view as well.

          1. On number 1, I have only been to Carnivale, but it really is in a different class than the others. I like Carnivale, good and sometimes great food, and am amazing dining room, but not the four star experience of the others or even close.