We are staying rght next to Navy Pier for a bachelorette weekend. I need a few recommendations for lunch, brunch, nice dinner, maybe a dinner place that is good for groups, and defiantely a great pizza place. We are all from out of town. I really want to stay away from all the touristy places and chains. I really want to eat at places that will give us an authentic experience. Can anyone help????? Thanks in advance!
I took a large group to Quartino's after my wedding, and it was great. I believe it is in the River north area, so not too far from where you are staying. It is an Italian Tapas place, has pretty good food and is really affordable. I think we had about 20 people, and for constant food and drinks for three solid hours, the final bill was less than $800. They also serve their wine in carafes and quarter carafes, which is handy if you just want to try a wine. I highly suggest their bellinis!
I see you have some nice suggestions already -- mostly good restaurants although I would say that some of them are either too far or not good for groups. If you're here for a just a weekend, and need one good dinner place, in the downtown area not far from Navy Pier, I would suggest Nacional 27. It is a nuevo latino place, very sophisticated, that focuses on in-season local produce. They have live music a few nights a week, the cocktails are totally original and very delicious, as is the food, which is great for sharing, due to the great variety in the menu, both in terms of entrees and appetizers and small eats. The restaurant is large and looks fabulous. The waitstaff is friendly but also very professional.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this place if you do go here. My friends and I are taking a friend there for her "bachelorette" (in quotations because it will not be the rowdy, raunchy type) party in 2 weeks and I am totally looking forward to it.
Agreed. I like De La Costa as well but here's why I pick Carnivale over Nacional 27 and De La Costa; A friend of mine had her bachelorette party at De La Costa about one month ago and they were disapointed, not by the food or drinks, but by the lack of people. They arrived on Friday night only to find the place nearly empty. I found it to be sparsely populated on my last two visits as well. De La Costa is incredibly huge so it's difficult to fill it. While I don't care for places that are too crowded, one would expect to have a pretty decent turnout at a place like this.
Carnivale is consistently filled but not overly crowded.
re: Chew on That
For far better Mexican Cuisine, try Pancho Pistolas at 700 W. 31st Street in the Bridgeport neighborhood. The carne asada is one of the best I've tasted. Nice clean exposed brick space too. Sadly, the margaritas are lousy and syrupy tasting.
Cesars food is mediocre at best. I don't remember how the margaritas were.
Las Mananita's one block south of Addison on Halsted serves up fantastic mid to low priced margaritas. Also try Fernando's just north of Roscoe on Lincoln avenue for tasty food and very good margaritas.
Santorini at Halsted and Washington for Greek Fine dining. It's a short cab ride just west of you. Fantastic food in an elegant serene Greek Islands setting. This is the perfect combination of dressy and elegant but not overdone.
Carnivale for Festive Latin Fusion. Great space too. Definitely a great place for your bachelorette party.
SushiSamba for Brazilian-Japanese fusion. Great space and fun food.
Japonais for drinks and cool atmosphere.
BAR WITH A LEATHER POLE ROOM:
FYI: There's a bar called Five Star on Chicago Avenue that has a private leather, "Pole Room". I've seen bachelorette parties there on at least two occasions. Nothing raunchy going on here, just good clean fun. Five Star is sort of urban hipster artsy and it has a pool table.
A couple great local places are the Paramount Room, Club Underground, Martini Park.
GREAT BREAKFAST WITH THE LOCALS;
Ina's on west Randolph next to Oprah's studio
Wishbone for Cajun, southern, and Mexican inspired breakfast and lunch
Bongo Room in Bucktown. Cool neighborhood for post b-fast exploration
Twisted Spoke for, "Smut and Eggs". Yes, you heard it right...70's soft porn and breakfast. Very popular with some locals.
House of Blues on State
The Green Mill in Uptown at Broadway and Lawrence is one of the worlds oldest and best Jazz bars. It' s been around since 1907 and frequented by many Jazz legends, crooners, and of course a few Chicago Mobsters like Mugsy and Al Capone. Ask the bartender to show you the scrape book located under the piano behind the bar...truly facinating stuff with articles from around the planet reflecting on it's greatness.
The Double Door in Wicker Park plays three bands for one price. Frequented by many great bands/rockers like; The Rolling Stones, U2, Steven Tyler, Billy Corrigan, etc.
GREAT CHICAGO PUBS:
The Map Room on Armitage west of Damen in the Bucktown neighborhood. Excellent beer selection and great local crowd. This is one of the best dives on the planet.
Hopleaf on Clark Street at Foster in the Andersonville neighborhood: Great Belgian Ale and Upscale Belgian Pub Grub in a great space. This is a really fun place with a great Euro Pub feel, plus it's in a cool neighborhood. Stop by Simons afterwards.
Bijan on State Street for great upscale bar food late late late. Cool woodsy atmosphere with fun local crowd.
Coobah on Southport in Lakeview for a more intimate yet hip neighborhood setting, very good creative Cuban food, and drinks. Fun place and neighborhood with nothing but young professionals.
Dunlay's on the Square in Logan Square serves up great bar food in a hip artsy sort of space.
I second the rec for Lulas for very good fun eclectic food in a cool neighborhood/Logan Square.
CHICAGO DEEPDISH PIZZA: This is very filling stuff.
Gino's East on Rush Street, Lou Malnati's on Wells street, Due's on Wabash and Ohio. Giordano's is good but not a great representation of rraditional Chicago Deepdish Pizza.
For amazing authentic Naples this pizza, try Spacca Napoli on Ravenswood in the Ravenswood neighborhood.
DeLaCosta is a good recommendation, also because it's about a one-minute walk from where you say your hotel is. www.delacostachicago.com
There are so many good restaurants within walking distance of your hotel that you really don't need to travel to far-flung neighborhoods for good places to eat. And yes, places like DeLaCosta, and places mentioned in that other topic about the W (like Fox and Obel, Coco Pazzo Cafe, etc), have plenty of locals eating there as well as out-of-town visitors like yourselves. Many Chicagoans live in and near the greater downtown area, with its many excellent restaurants, and many others go there to eat all the time. If you'd like to spend part of your time here exploring the neighborhoods, by all means do so, but you're not forced to do so just to go to good restaurants that locals go to.
For non-touristy and authentic Chicago places I recommend:
For brunch, I'd check out Bittersweet (however, I would call ahead to ask about the size of your party) or Lulas. For lunch I'd go to Northside Cafe or Topo Gigio (there is great boutique shopping in both areas)
For dinner, I'd go to Volo on Roscoe (they have extra large booths) or Tizi Melloul which has a really neat round room where you sit close to the floor on pillows
For authentic deep dish pizza, I like Pequods on Clybourn- and there will be no tourists there (as opposed to Gino's or Giordano's). Another really great pizza place is Crust on Division- which serves organic flatbreads
Lunch and dinner suggestions in the area of your hotel:
Breakfast and brunch suggestions:
For Chicago deep-dish pizza, the places closest to your hotel are Giordano's in Prudential Plaza, Gino's East on Superior, and the original Uno's and Due. All of which IMHO are among the very best pizzas in town.