"Cool and Local" in the Loop?
My husband and I are meeting friends for dinner tonight, and I want to find the perfect place. We're meeting them in the Loop, so I"m thinking there or River North for dinner. They are moving here in a few months, so I want to take them somewhere stylish and big-city like, to get them excited about their move. I have been to Carnivale (sp?), on Fulton, and think it's a great option, but wanted to see what else is out there. I live in Andersonville, so we usually eat out up North. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks!
Well, my first recommendation would be to make a reservation at Blackbird, if they have an opening. Simply awesome contemporary American food, just west of the Loop. www.blackbirdrestaurant.com Two other contemporary American places are also absolutely spectacular: Aigre Doux in River North, across the street from the Merchandise Mart. www.aigredouxchicago.com And one sixtyblue, although it's a bit further than these, on the Randolph Street corridor. www.onesixtyblue.com These are my three favorite casual fine dining restaurants in the entire city (and there are many, many great ones in Chicago).
You've got great Italian food in the Loop itself at Vivere, in the Italian Village. www.vivere-chicago.com Also at Trattoria No. 10. www.trattoria10.com And Coco Pazzo, in River North. www.cocopazzochicago.com
All of these places are exactly what you're looking for.
Along the latin lines in River North, I really like Nacional 27 (Huron & Orleans).
No reservations, but Rockit! Bar & Grill (Hubbard & Dearborn) has very good food and a fun atmosphere. It was one of the first, what I would term, gastropubs, but their management would probably run from that description. The truffle fries are my favorite fried food in the world.
Brand new, opened yesterday, Sushi/Japanese place on Ontario just West of Orleans called Ai. Owned by same people as Tsuki and Ringo. Awesome decor and great neighborhood feel. Probably still BYOB, so plan ahead and call.