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Aug 1, 2007 01:38 PM

Chinatown options & Downtown options?

Hi I will be visiting Chicago soon, I was wondering if Chinatown has a scene of its own there and where should I go if it is!? Also I will take any other recommendations to go and eat at very cool places you may give as advice to this Miami Chouwhound! I will be staying at the Marriott thats right there to Magnificent Mile. Thanks!

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  1. Chicago's Chinatown in OK, but not the first place I would recommend. There are a few good Chinese restaurants (ex. Lao Szechuan) but for me its notthe most exciting part of the city.

    Recommendations would really depend on your budget, interests, what kind of food you like, etc, so if you post more info it would be easier to give a good recommendation. There are a lot of good neighborhoods with hundreds (thousands?) of good restaurants, depending on what you like.

    One place that I really like is Avec. Long tables in clean modern setting, communal seating (several parties all seated at one table), outstanding food - contemporary American with mostly small appetizer-sized portions and and excellent wine list. Reservations not accepted. Nothing like China town, but its very unique, reasonably priced for the quality of the food, and a fun experience - as long as you don't mind getting close to your neighbors.

    Nearer to your hotel is Le Colonial, French Vietnamese in building decorated in Colonial Vietnamese style. Right in the middle of the Gold Coast, so there are tons of places to walk around before and after dinner.

    There are two more or less random recommendations. Like I said, there are tons of options if you have other preferences.

    1. Chicago has two distinct "Chinatown" areas, the primary (larger) one is on the Southside, located off of Cermak & Wentworth streets. The other is located on the Northside running on Argyle Street between Sheridan & Broadway.

      Both areas have El stops on the CTA red line, and are easily accessible from downtown and about a 20 minute ride in either direction.

      Northside Chinatown has a less sprawling area, being roughly 3-4 blocks of stores and restaurants and has a heavy Vietnamese influence. The Southside area is split into two areas; "old Chinatown" and the "new Chinatown". Most people find the old Chinatown on Wentworth to be a little more "Americanized" in its food styles such as Cantonese chop suey, Mandarin, etc.. And some feel that the new Chinatown is more “authentic” since the residents are more recently here from China. Either way there are probably over a hundred options to choose from and many excellent choices of all styles.

      Both places are not only great places to eat but to walk and stroll, since you seem inclined to explore, you really shouldn’t miss these areas.

      1. Thank you for your replies. A little bit more about what I am looking for. I come from Miami, so I am looking for a bit of a different experience than what I get here, though I am certain it will be different seeing that in Miami beach the restaurants tend to act as if we should be thankful for being there instead of them being thankful to having us as customers heheeh! Anyhow, I do not mind prices, I tend to like the more trendy and more upscale places, yet i do not mind the hole in the wall type places for lets say lunch and breakfasts. For dinner I am looking for cool, fashionable places but where the food is really worth the price. I do LOVE to explore, both my husband and I love discovering new things. I have been to magnificent mile before, and went to several restaurants that at that time were the it clue what the names were since it was about 6 years ago! But yes, I would love to know where to go, what to try, what cool places are there for before dinner wine, places worth the money for dinner, and what cool places are there for after dinner! Help me!!!! I want the whole Chicago experience. By the way, I will be arriving Thursday night and leaving Sunday afternoon. I am really looking for something to do each day!