One night in Chicago...
We will be in Chicago for one night on a Monday. Will be staying at an airport hotel and would like to venture into the city for dinner. We would like to dine in lively area that would be nice to walk around. Can anyone suggest a restaurant? Also, I bet many restaurants are closed on Monday night. WE are from NYC and enjoy dining in both casual and fine dining restaurants.
THanks in advance,
I'd suggest hopping on the Blue Line at O'Hare and take it to Damen, which is the WIcker Park neighborhood (more or less Chicago's East Village) and just wander around til you see something interesting. The area is loaded with restaurants such as Feast and Forno, both very good IMO. Take a right on Milwaukee, across from the El stop, and you'll find tapas, fine Italian, sushi and all kinds of stuff. It's lively, there's a great late-night book store (Myopic Books on Milwaukee...three floors of browsing), Chicago's best record store (Reckless) and friendly hipsters all over the place. If you're so inclined, Double Door and Subterranean rock clubs are right near the El stop. Depending on who's playing, they're both fun, if loud.
re: Pete Oldtown
In that vein, here are a few Bucktown/Wicker Park restaurants/bars that I would recommend to a visiting New Yorker:
The Violet Hour
Bin Wine Cafe
There are many, many restaurants in Chicago, and many, many "lively areas". Basically, almost anything within about three miles of the middle of downtown Chicago qualifies as a "lively area", pleasant to walk around, with lots of restaurant choices.
Personally, if someone told me they had only one dinner here, I would be torn between recommending deep-dish Chicago pizza (Giordano's, Lou Malnati's, etc) versus one of our premier fine dining restaurants, whether it's a "casual contemporary" place like one sixtyblue, Aigre Doux, or Blackbird, or a "top chef splurge" place like Alinea, Avenues, or Everest. And of course there are many other types of food at which Chicago also excels.
It's also worth noting that there are a lot of very good restaurants (and pizza places!) near O'Hare, and a few near Midway as well, although neither really offers the type of lively urban neighborhood you seem to be asking about. You'll find previous discussions about both airport areas.
Although some of our restaurants are closed on Mondays, many others are open. Many upscale Chicago restaurants accept reservations on opentable.com and that is a great way to see what is open and available on any particular night. Most ethnic and pizza places are open seven days.
This topic has links to recent discussions about many different types of restaurants: www.chowhound.com/topics/397554