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Aug 31, 2007 12:29 PM

Must Visit places near Magnificent Mile?

What, in your opinion, are the "must go", "can't miss" places. I am staying at the Renaissance (Marriott) right near Magnificent Mile. Help this Miami Chowhound!

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  1. -The lounge at the Hancock building - grab a soda or a cocktail and enjoy the view
    -High tea or a drink in the bar at the Peninsula. Be sure to buy some Vosges Chocolates at the gift shop
    -Garrets Popcorn
    -Bandera- great Southern food and lively atmosphere. Jazz band plays there during happy hour
    -Bice has quaint outdoor sidewalk cafe and Italian food. Coco Pazzo is good too
    -RL- great lounge/bar area and a great burger
    -Avenues for an upscale dinner
    -Nomi for an upscale after dinner drink

    2 Replies
    1. re: blondie60614

      When you are at the Signature Room Lounge (at the Hancock building), don't forget to go into the ladies room, for what really is the best view of the city!

      I hear the men's room doesn't have windows. How sad for them, but the view from the ladies room is amazing!

    2. I assume you are asking about food places. (The Chowhound Team frowns upon posting non-food visitor information.)

      IMHO the one Chicago food specialty that constitutes a "must go, can't miss" is deep-dish pizza. Near the Marriott, you have the original Uno and Due close by, Giordano's a few blocks north on Rush Street, Gino's East on Superior, and Lou Malnati's further west on Wells. You can order your pizza in advance to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes in the restaurant for it to bake. You'll find plenty of opinions on these and other Chicago pizza places in these two topics:

      One other unique experience nearby is the Chocolate Bar at the Pen. The Lobby Restaurant is in the Peninsula Hotel. In addition to their normal menu (which is very good, BTW), on Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 8:30, they offer an all-you-can-eat buffet of around 40 different chocolate desserts, in smallish portion sizes so you can try a lot of them. They vary from good to superb. At $32 or thereabouts, it's not inexpensive, but you'll remember it for a long time. http://chicago.peninsula.com

      Beyond that, IMHO all the other food places are "whatever you happen to like". Some of the very best restaurants in the city (which means some of the best in the country) are within a short walk from the Marriott, including Avenues, Tru, and Spiaggia. Moderately-priced excellent but more casual places nearby include Naha (contemporary American), Aigre Doux (ditto), Coco Pazzo Cafe (Italian), Bistro 110 (French bistro), Shaw's Crab House (seafood), and a bunch of steakhouses (see www.chowhound.com/topics/359377 ). While none of these is a "must visit", all are excellent places to eat if you're in the mood for that type of cuisine.

      4 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Wow thank you! Yes I do know about the Pizza and will not miss that. I love the idea of the Peninsula dinner for Friday. I do love the nice restaurants, I am looking to see where to have dinner on Thursday night and Saturday night. Friday I may venture into this Peninsula idea. Any favorites from the last thread of restaurants you posted? I would love to go to "the best ones", doesnt have to be expensive nor cheap, just good food!?

        1. re: SarahOM

          Rather than doing nomi for an after dinner drink, go have lunch from the lounge menu on the terrace- it's fantastic.

          1. re: SarahOM

            > Any favorites from the last thread of restaurants you posted?

            Well, those *are* favorites, with fantastic food. As are some others not in the Michigan Avenue area, such as one sixtyblue and Blackbird, both of which are a short cab ride away. If I had to choose my absolute favorites in that area, though, it would be Avenues if you want a fancy splurge type place, and Aigre Doux if you want a somewhat more casual experience. But the others I mentioned are also very good. Your choice may depend on what kind of food you're in the mood for.

            Here's a bit more info about the Pen and its restaurants. The Peninsula Hotel is one of the very top luxury hotels in the city. It has several restaurants. Avenues is the most well known, and under Chef Bowles, it is generally considered one of the top two or three restaurants in Chicago, and one of the best in the country. It's somewhat formal (jackets required, and most men wear ties), and the food is amazingly creative and delicious. Of course, it's on the expensive side (figure $200-300 per person including tax, tip, and moderate alcohol). Shanghai Terrace is located there, for upscale Chinese. The Lobby Restaurant (that's the restaurant's name) is the one that hosts the Chocolate Bar. I've had dinner at the Lobby several times (always on a Friday or Saturday, imagine that :wink: ), and I've enjoyed it. The food was excellent (I had a wonderful skate entree there) and the service equally so. They serve a chocolate-infused iced tea that sounds strange but is unusual and very nice. I love the decor, too - it's right off the reception area for the hotel (hence the name), and it has very high ceilings (like 80-100 feet, if I recall correctly) and floor-to-ceiling windows along one side of the room, with a very spacious and comfortable feel. You can see the menus and other information about all the restaurants at the Pen on their website at http://chicago.peninsula.com

            1. re: nsxtasy

              wow thank you all for your help. nsxtasy, your descriptions are great, thank you! Well, here I go! Ill report back!