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Oct 7, 2007 09:11 PM

Two chefs visiting from sf

I'm sure it's already all been covered but were both chefs from San Francisco visiting for 4 days a Mon -thus we have reservations at Tru & Alinea. Where else should we go? we will try anything once, and good czech recommendations would be especial appreciated (as Chicago is the "old country" for ,my mom's family . And no more fine dinning please two in four nights is a bit too much already...

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  1. The western suburbs of Berwyn, Western Springs, Brookfield, and LaGrange are the places to look for Bohemian restaurants serving beef in dill gravy, red cabbage, dumplings, and the like.A search of this board, LTHforum, or metromix might yield names of specific restaurants.

    Good luck.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Mugs

      For Czech (will you have a car?)

      Klas Restaurant in Cicero is definitely worth a trip for the building/history alone. I think the food is good, if not great.

      Klas Restaurant
      5734 W. Cermak Road
      Cicero, IL 60804
      [I was not able to link to this as a "place"...]

      Klas's website should have more pictures of the setting. Here's a link to more pictures:

      A Czech place which I haven't yet been to, but want to, is Operetta, which Vital Information has posted about on

      5653 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL

      1. re: Amata

        p.s. for another of your days I'd recommend Mexican food -- something Chicago is richer in than the Bay Area. A recent thread initiated by Eat Nopal asking for recommendations has a lot of good ideas:

        And his trip report is worth reading too:

        have fun!

    2. For italian - Riccardo Trattoria. Chef Riccardo is laboring away 7 nights a week back in his kitchen in front of 8 sautee pans, so I feel good knowing my plate is coming from the owner's hands into mine. charming neighborhood restaurant, and they picked a great place, because the architechture in the ceiling makes for an dynamic room. This place got good reviews from both of our major newspapers. Riccardo's cuisine I feel is more "traditional italian," rather than the red-sauce and alfredo sauce "italian-american" type. Nothing wrong with either-just depends on what you feel like.

      Also, for "new american" cuisine - Erwin. the food and the dining room are absolutely perfect. You really feel like relaxing in here, due to the lighting and homey-feeling. bowls of homemade potato chips at the bar(!) so make sure to come early and have a beer or martini. As chefs, I think you will appreciate that this guy really knows how to keep his food simple, nuanced and well-executed.

      both these places are neighborhoody, and you could wear a golf shirt and jeans if you wanted to.

      1. I know this sounds crazy, but you HAVE to try Hot Doug's for lunch. Its a tiny hot dog and sausage joint, but the sausages are all made in house and the toppings and combos are downright gourmet. Only open from 11-4 and cash only. In a completely out of the way neighborhood and the line to get in will be long if you go before 1:30, but sooo worth it. Sadly, you will miss his Fri/Sat special - french fries, fried in duck fat.

        3 Replies
        1. re: chicagowinediva

          Hot Doug's is great, but they do not make their sausages in-house.

          1. re: BRB

            To supplement the above, Chicago Magazine previously reported that Columbus Meat Market (906 W. Randolph) makes many of the sausages for Hot Doug's.

          2. re: chicagowinediva

            You should definitely hit Hot Doug's - it's one of our culinary gems. Also - I'd hit Hopleaf in Andersonville - the best beer list with the best pub grub, (moules et frites!) Andersonville's a cool neighborhood to check out, as well.

          3. This seems like a pretty good list of places -- but is there any particular type of cuisine that's not listed that you are searching for? Any specific atmosphere desired (upscale/dive)? I definitely think Mexican would be a great way to go for one of the meals -- my preference, Sol de Mexico.

            1. I forgot all about Hot doug's and Hopleaf. Great recs that fit the bill for "casual dining." Someone correct me if I am wrong on this, but I believe hot doug's does duckfat fried french fries on saturdays.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tripton

                Tripton: Last time I checked, (before Doug's vacation/accident) duck fat fries were available on Fridays and Saturdays.

                If you two are looking for more ethnic fare, my favorite spot in Chinatown is Evergreen and my favorite Thai place is Opaart Thai on North Western Ave. Both are easy to get to on the train and BYOB!