Downtown Recs for One Week
I'm going to be in Downtown Chicago for 6 days at the end of November (Sunday-Friday). I've been alotted $67 per diem per day for food and expenses. I'm attending a conference, so I will be presenting there from 4pm-5pm each day. Other than that, I will have free time. Since I'm a coffee lover as well, I'd to hit as many great places as I can in the downtown area. I'm not much for the high end type of restuarants but I'd like to have one or two really nice meals at some high end well-known restaurants. Other than that, I like Asian food very much (sushi, Chinese, Thai), and find small homey unpretentious places to be more enjoyable. I've been to Chicago just once before and ate at Uno's for pizza (very good), and an old time German (I think) rest (not bad), Since I live in Minneapolis, I'd like to experience the real Chicago deal (what makes Chicago food great). Sometimes the experience is almost as important as the food.
So, if you are feeling up for it, fire away with a proposed eating schedule. Thanks!
Some ideas for Asian...
If you like Chinese, hop on the red line down to Chinatown. "Little" Three Happiness is my favorite spot down there (do not, under any circumstances, go to "Big" Three Happiness which is right across the street).
For Thai, my favorite is TAC Quick, located right next to the Sheridan red line stop (head north from Downtown). Be sure to ask for the translated Thai menu. Blackboard specials are always a good bet too. Skip the usual stuff (pad thai, etc.). Go for the real stuff.
For Vietnamese, take the red line (north again) to Argyle. My favorite there is Hai Yen, but there are lots of good places along that stretch.
3930 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60613
Three Happiness Original Restaurant
209 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616
Hai Yen Restaurant
2723 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
Here is a list of my cozy, unpretentious favorites:
Mia Francesca http://www.miafrancesca.com/restaurants/mia/
Dublins on State St. - Great pub with awesome food
Sweets & Savories http://www.sweetsandsavorieschicago.com/
Star of Siam http://www.starofsiamchicago.com/ - very good, very low key (a must!
Mirai http://www.miraisushi.com/ (trendy, but very very good
)Vong's Thai Kitchen http://www.vongsthaikitchen.com/
Bob San http://www.bob-san.com/
Tank Restaurant on N. Broadway - excellent no nonsense Vietnamese
Here are some previous discussions about various categories of food in Chicago. Reviewing these will help you focus on what kinds of food you might want to consider.
Your per diem is fine for the less expensive places to eat. And if you'd like to try some of the more expensive places - not the "splurge" places, but stuff like Italian, seafood, etc - you might consider eating there for lunch, rather than dinner, since lunch is often a lot less expensive, with some of the same foods.
Also, feel free to visit restaurants in neighborhoods away from downtown, if your schedule permits, since the downtown places tend to be more expensive (although that is not universally true). If you need to get around, Chicago has excellent public transportation. You'll find transit info at www.transitchicago.com
Starting from the generally more-expensive categories and proceeding through to cheaper ones...
Brunch and Breakfast: