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Oct 23, 2007 07:45 PM

Food near Westin on North Michigan

My husband and I will be staying at the Westin for 5 days right after Thanksgiving and am looking for suggestions for:
1. A special dinner
2. Best burger for lunch
3. Best steak
4. Italian dinner or late lunch

All within walking distance, if possible. If not, a short cab ride.

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  1. If it's a clear day, you might want to try the Signature Room at the 95th (John Hancock Building). It's across the street from your hotel and the views are beautiful. The food is just ok, so don't bother if it's a cloudy day.

    There are alot of restaurants within "walking distance." By walking distance, I mean less than 1 mile. However, since you will be in Chicago after Thanksgiving, the weather could make your walk rather unpleasant.

    Gibson's is on Rush (walking distance) as are several other restaurants.

    If you need a casual lunch place, I like Gino's East on Superior.

    There are quite a few discussions on this board about Italian food. Spiaggia's (980 N. Michigan Ave) is mentioned quite often, but I haven't had a chance to try it yet. It's on my list for my next trip.

    Michigan Ave. has a lot of chain restaurants (not sure where you live, but I have all these restaurants at home)- Cheesecake Factory, Bandera, Grand Lux Cafe (all walking distance)

    1. 1) Special dinner: This really depends upon what type of food you're looking for and how much you're willing to spend, and how much location plays into your decision. Any thoughts? Ultra-creative? Traditional? American? French? Need a view? Does it need to be quiet? (But I'd stay away from the Signature Room -- great views, drinks are fine (in fact, go have a drink there), outlandish prices for the most mediocre food.

      2) Best burger: There are a number of choices downtown: Gibson's, Naha, Park Grill (at Millennium Park), Rosebud Steakhouse, Jake Melnick's Corner Tap. Naha probably offers the fanciest one and it's real good. I tend to be partial to Melnick's -- reasonably priced, always served at temperature requested, and I like their onion strings.

      3) Best steak: hands down, David Burke's Primehouse -- one of the few places in Chicago doing dry-aged beef and they do it far better than the others. The popovers which begin the meal are fantastic, but the steaks are the reason to go. If you don't care about dry-aged, head to Keefer's. Gibsons is very good, but to me it's more of a Chicago institution than a place to get the best steak in town, and Gibson's only offers wet-aged beef.

      4) Italian - Lots of choices downtown. Spiaggia if you're willing to spend a lot. If you want to spend a little less, head to Merlo on Maple (Maple/State). Fantastic Northern Italian food from a husband and wife (she cooks) from Bologna. All pastas are homemade and terrific (also excellent seafood and a terrific Osso Bucco). You won't find big bowls of pastas here -- it's not that kind of place. But you also won't find better Italian food.

      1 Reply
      1. re: BRB

        Spiaggia or Spiaggia Cafe (which can be a little cheaper). Also, you aren't far from Quartino's or Osteria Via Stato. I love Quartino's and would recommend it for a fun night out, though maybe not if you want a quiet evening.

      2. Nice location, love the Westin NM.

        For a steak jfood likes Hugo's Frog and especially if one of you wants steak and the other fish. The steak comes from Gibson's shared kitchen and the fish is very good as well.

        Here's a review jfood posted a few months ago.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jfood

          I like Quartino's for lunch or dinner. My favorite for a really nice meal would be NoMI or NAHA but they are not steak. I like Keefer's but I also like Capital Grill.Grill on the Alley is great if you don't feel like going out. I like NOMI for a drink as well.

        2. The Westin is near the north end of Michigan Avenue. You have many, many choices that are within a few blocks, so you might want to stick to those within a short walk of your hotel.

          1. Special dinner - about half a mile south on Michigan Avenue is the Peninsula hotel. Avenues is their fine-dining restaurant and is one of the very best restaurants in the country, thanks to the creative cuisine of Chef Graham Elliot Bowles. Highly recommended.

          Also excellent, a little closer, a little less dressy, a little less expensive, is NoMi, in the Park Hyatt.

          Also see #4 below, regarding Spiaggia.

          2. As indicated above by others, there are lots and lots of places where you can get a burger for lunch. I think Gibson's is a good choice for a burger for lunch because, aside from being a short walk from the Westin, you can see what the place is like - it's well-known not just for its steaks, but for its classic boisterous steakhouse atmosphere - without having to deal with dinner there (the difficulty of advance reservations and the crowds and noise). If you're looking for the absolute best burger in Chicago, you may want to check out this discussion:

          3. There are endless discussions over the best steak in Chicago, such as the ones you'll find at Some of the best are very close to the Westin, including Saloon ( ), Gibson's (need to make reservations far in advance), and Morton's (1050 N. State location). Hugo's, mentioned by jfood, is a good choice of part of your party prefers seafood; next door to Gibson's,

          4. Italian near the Westin is easy. Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia are practically across the street from the Westin (they're just a short block north) and both are outstanding. Cafe Spiaggia is a mid-priced, casual Italian restaurant and it is an excellent choice. Spiaggia is one of the very finest restaurants in the city, with prices to match. Very fancy, very creative, excellent in all respects. This would also qualify as a great choice for a splurge dinner (your question #1). Both Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia have websites at