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NYC Hounds~First Visit to Chicago~HELP!

Hello, My BF and I will be visiting Chicago for the first time next weekend (Fri-Sun)...
From browsing this board, I was thinking a deep dish pizza is a must (uno/duo). We'd also like to have one meal at Greek Islands or Santorini.
We are looking for a good place for another dinner and lunch.....casual, moderately priced, but not a hole in the wall!
We are staying out by O'Hare, so location isnt that important as we know well have to travel to get anywhere.
Any suggestions would be much appreciated!!

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  1. If you are actually going into the city check out a place called Italian Village on Monroe, it has 3 different levels/style of food. We went because someone gave us a gift certificate and didn't want to hurt thier feelings or lie that we had gone. What a pleasant surprise. We were VERY happy with the food and the wine was reasonably priced. We ate in the "gourmet" resturaunt (Vivere). And I think it would work well for either lunch or dinner. If price is no object Charlie Trotters was unbelievable and Avenues in the Peninsula hotel was a close second. If you have to have deep dish pizza (not a big fan of it myself) my girlfriend loves the pizza at Giordano's near Milineum Park

    1. Being a fellow NYer, I'll comment here. I had a really good pizza at Due's. And I'm not a really big deep dish fan, but I enjoyed it. I would suggest brunch at Fronterra Grill. It's a great way to get a tatse of what Bayless can do. I also like Shaw's Crab House, if you like seafood.

      1. If you're staying out by O'Hare you have very easy access to the blue line which can take you right in the city to a variety of places including greektown, wicker park and downtown.

        You know one of the neighborhood places I love for lunch is in Wicker Park, but you're going to have to wait in line- Milk & Honey.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jpschust

          Before counting on the Blue Line to get south of the Armitage and Western stop, check for weekend shut-downs for track repairs. Week nights are running on single track from 8 pm to 4 am through mid-September. Even worse, no trains run between Clark/Lake and Western/Armitage on selected weekends, just shuttle buses. One of those weekends is 11:00 pm September 7 through 4 pm September 9 according to CTA press release dated September 6. Check transitchicago.com for more information but allow for the possibility that they won't say much about weekend shut-downs until shortly before they occur.

          Somebody staying near O'Hare and planning on using the Blue Line to Wicker Park, Loop or Greektown ought to have a plan B. There are some interesting food options near the Western/Armitage stop, but Honey One barbecue or Jalisco-style birria don't sound like what the OP wants.

        2. For your deep-dish pizza, there are lots of places, including those that specialize in double-crust stuffed pizza (Giordano's, Edwardo's) and others in single-crust pan pizza (Lou Malnati's, Gino's East, Uno's). Those with locations near O'Hare include Giordano's (in Rosemont) and Gino's East (on Higgins). Whatever you do, DON'T go to any locations of Uno's other than the original Uno's (or Due) on East Ohio in downtown Chicago, as the others do not have the same quality.

          You can read lots of opinions on Chicago pizza in these two topics:
          www.chowhound.com/topics/327474
          www.chowhound.com/topics/319254

          Here are two suggestions for your additional dinner and lunch.

          The Black Ram is primarily a steakhouse but everything there is good, not just the steaks - excellent seafood, salads, etc. And it's right near O'Hare.

          Black Ram Steak House
          1414 Oakton St.
          Des Plaines, IL 60019
          847.824.1227
          www.blackramsteakhouse.com

          For another possibility, you can take the Blue Line on the el (our subway) to Logan Square, where you'll find Lula, for fresh food from local ingredients in a casual environment.

          lula cafe
          2537 N. Kedzie Boulevard
          Chicago, IL 60647
          773.489.9554
          www.lulacafe.com

          Other than that, if there is a particular kind of food you would like for that additional lunch and dinner, let us know so we can provide a more specific recommendation. Without the additional information, it's shooting in the dark. (Think of how many places there are in New York which are "casual, moderately priced, but not a hole in the wall" - where "moderately priced" is all relative, of course. Hundreds if not thousands, of course. It's no different here.)

          1. I'm a Boston Chowhound, who used to live in NYC, and just returned from Labor Day weekend in Chicago. Here's some recommendations based on our trip:

            Dinner at Sweets & Savories (http://www.sweetsandsavorieschicago.com/) was very yummy. Husband had the kobe burger, duck fat frites, and I went with the asparagus risotto and charcucherie plate.

            Dinner another night at Adobo Grill in Old Town. Writing about the table side guac, chicken enchiladas and signature margaritas are making my mouth water as I type.

            We had brunch at 505 Zest in the Intercontinental which I would not recommend.

            And for deep dish we did Giordano's across from the Sears Tower. Takes 40 minutes to cook, but well worth it.

            Oh, and we made sure to try the "Italian beef" at Wrigley Field with "giardineria". Soooo greasy but tender and good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KarenKL

              If you want to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes for deep-dish pizza to bake, you can call ahead with your pizza order, timing it so it comes out of the oven shortly after you get there. Most of the chains show their complete menu and the phone numbers of their locations on their websites.

            2. Check out Bistro Campaign, West Town Tavern or Rose Angelis for dinner. Great food, and very relaxed atmosphere. Rose Angelis is more romantic in decor

              For lunch, I'd go to Crust on Division or Las Tablas on Lincoln. Both are in areas where you could walk and explore the neighborhood afterwards

              2 Replies
              1. re: blondie60614

                I'm a Chowhound returning to Chicago after a summer in NYC. I second Rose Angelis (Lincoln Park) for Italian. Mia Francesca (Wrigleyville) is also great. If you like sushi try Coast (Bucktown) or South Coast (South Loop). The Loop (the financial district) is pretty dead on the weekend, so I wouldn't recommend the Italian Village unless you go through the week. Adobo Grill is great Mexican and right next to Second City, which makes for a fun evening.

                1. re: Citymic

                  "The Loop (the financial district) is pretty dead on the weekend."

                  Not anymore, it ain't. The "financial district" around LaSalle St, sure, but there's also a pretty active Theatre District and the prime draw of Millennium Park. The Mexican Independence Day Parade on Columbus Drive (Sat at noon) and the free CSO Concert at Prizker with Savion Glaver (Sunday at 4:00) shoud keep things hopping this weekend.

                  With the exception of Vivere (if you're in the mood for high-end Tuscan) the other restaurants in Italian Village should be avoided on weekdays as well as weekends.

              2. In your limited time in Chicago, I wouldn't go to an Italian restaurant for one of your meals. Not that we don't have good Italian places; we do (including Cafe Spiaggia and Coco Pazzo, just to name two more). But you have so many good Italian restaurants at home that you may as well eat something different while you're visiting here.

                1. One thing that I've heard you can't get in NY that is plentiful in Chicago is great Thai food. I would highly recommend going to TAC Quick on Sheridan underneath the Red Line El tracks. It's about 2 blocks north of Wrigley Field. I ate there for the first time about a week ago and thought it was spectacular. Order about 3 entrees off of the specials board and you won't be disappointed. Entrees are only about $7-10 each, and it's BYOB without a corkage fee. There is a little liquor store next door where you can get a bottle of wine or some beer to go with your meal. It's very casual, but it's nice. You can go there for lunch or dinner.

                  An absolute must is Hot Doug's on California between Addison and Belmont. You can take the blue line and get off at the Belmont stop to get there. It is about a 6-8 block, 15 minute walk from there. They feature unique sausages with wonderful, inventive sauces and cheeses. Also, they have incredible duck fat fries on Saturdays. Their hours are limited, and I'd recommend getting there as early as you can if you're going on Saturday because there will be a big line, guaranteed. Even if there is a big line, you have to wait. It will move pretty quickly and be well worth it. Here is a link to their website:

                  http://www.hotdougs.com/

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tdmccarthy21

                    Thanks everyone for all the recs!
                    We went for pizza the first nite at the original Uno location, so good!!! And for brunch on Sunday we made it to Sweets and Things, which was also great except for one thing...my bf ordered the arugula salad as first course, and i saw a small black bug crawling out of it....I know this is going to sound terrible but I didnt say anything about it. everything else was great, and we were having such a romantic meal i didnt want to spoil it! but just wanted to warn you also to make sure theres nothing crawling in your salad. i know its easy for this to happen, you have to wash the green very carefully, but still!!!