Solo eating near Chicago Ave. / State St.
Hi, I'll be visiting Chicago for the first time and staying, carlessly and mostly alone, near the Chicago Ave. / State St. intersection. Where should I eat? Lunch , dinner, snacks, coffee, upscale, downscale- I'll take anything I can walk to within 20 minutes or so, particularly if it involves only-in-Chicago specialities.
When I'm by myself at lunchtime in that area, I like to go to FoodLIfe in Watertower Pl. The food is decent (not to be confused with great for a moment) and because of the number of shoppers milling around -- it's food stations -- I'm never uncomfortable or self-conscious eating by myself. I often find myself in conversation with others around me.
Frontera Grill, at the bar, for lunch (or dinner). Top notch service, you'll never feel alone (unless you want to) and the regional Mexican cuisine and first-rate margaritas are tough to beat. And it is VERY only-in-Chicago. In the 400 block of N. Clark St., right around the corner from Illinois St.. Perhaps a 15 minute walk from Chicago and State.
Quang's Noodles, on Chicago and Clark, is OK for a cheap Viet lunch. A a bit further west, at Chicago and LaSalle, is Cafe Iberico, fun and cheap tapas. I eat at the bar quite a bit, and it's fun if you're by yourself.
If you walk north on State, you'll run into Hugo's Frog Bar/Gibson's Steak House. Upscale, fun at night, good value for the money. There's also a couple of good Italian places.
And if you walk over to Michigan Ave., there's Bistro 110 about a block south, I think. Old fashioned, good French. It's behind the Borders store.
There's so much within 20 minutes of where you will be, it's hard to narrow it down. Oh, Clark Street Ale House is a bit south of Chicago on Clark. Dog-friendly, good jukebox, good beer.
If there's one food that you "can't miss" if you're visiting here, it's Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. I strongly recommend it.
You can choose from double-crust "stuffed" pizza at Giordano's, Edwardo's, or Bacino's, or single-crust "pan" pizza at Lou Malnati's, Gino's East, Pizano's, Uno's (original location only) or Due. My personal favorite is stuffed pizza at Giordano's, but I love all of these, and you can't go wrong with any of them. Right around the corner from you, there's a Giordano's at 730 N. Rush St., and Pizano's at 864 N. State St; Gino's East on Superior isn't far, either. Wherever you go, you can phone ahead with your pizza order to avoid having to wait 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake.
Beyond that, here are some other places I recommend, all within a short walk (<5-10 minutes max) of where you're staying:
Bistro 110 (French bistro) - www.levyrestaurants.com (note - the other post says it's a block south of you, but it's actually a block north, also a couple of blocks east)
1492 Tapas (tapas) - www.1492tapasbar.com
Le Lan (French-Asian) - www.lelanrestaurant.com
Avenues (creative, one of the best restaurants in the country) - http://chicago.peninsula.com
NoMI (contemporary fine dining) - www.nomirestaurant.com
Le Colonial (French-Vietnamese) - www.lecolonialchicago.com
Cafe Spiaggia (Italian) - www.levyrestaurants.com
Naha (contemporary fusion) - www.naha-chicago.com
MK (contemporary American) - www.mkchicago.com
L'Appetito is right around the corner from you. It's an Italian Specialty deli with lots of great fresh made prepared foods. On Wabash 2 blocks south of Chicago.
Mister J's at Pearson and Wabash has very good fast food burgers, polish, hot dog's etc.
Mambo Grill for very good Latin eats in a fun atmosphere.
Tempo Restaurant on State street 2 blocks north of Chicago for excellent fluffy ommlette's and Greek breakfast, lunch, and dinner specialties. Open late late late.
Jake Melniks Bar and Grill on Huron and Franklin for very good burgers, skirt steak, wings, salads, sandwiches, etc.
Wildfire in the bar area for very good steaks, chops, salads, and much more. Nice woodsy lodge-like atmosphere.