Help! Staying Downtown at the Palmer House Hilton
A friend and I are coming into town for a conference on Nov. 14 thru the 18th. Okay, she's there for the conference and I'm there for fun! We will be staying at the Palmer House Hilton at 17 East Monroe Street. We need some help looking for cool places to try around our area. We want to stay away from any chains - bars, restaurants, and otherwise - and will probably want at least one nicer dinner, some good places for coffee, good places for wine/beer drinking and a few places for more casual (but still yummy!) meals. We are both ladies in our mid/late twenties who have never been to Chicago. And if there is a 'can't miss' that's a little bit of a trek from our location, we don't mind an adventure.
Thanks for your input!
Starting off with breakfast, I highly recommend Orange on Harrison. It is located one block south of Congress on the corner of Dearborn. They have the most creative menu with the best service and my favorite breakfast foods (pan-seared oatmeal and chai tea french toast....yum) as well as orange flavored coffee served in carafes. There is also fantastic coffee and teas as Argo Tea on Randolph. It is right next to the oriental theater between state and dearborn. Rom is my other downtown favorite spot for coffee and breakfast type stuff. It is europeon style and located on south Franklin between Monroe and Madison.
For dinner, try The Gage on michigan avenue across from Millenium Park for english-type classy food. There is Oysy on south Michigan for Japanese, Cuatro on south Wabash for great great great Latin food (also a good brunch), and one of my favorite pub-type restaurants right under the el: exchequer, where they have AWESOME burgers, pizzas, ribs, pastas, etc. Everything and the service is awesome with a great atmosphere.
Enjoy your stay.
Downtown Chicago is basically divided into halves. South of the Chicago River is the older part, The Loop, chiefly a business district now. Most shopping, hotels, and restaurants now are north of the river; the downtown there extends from the river to Oak Street. It's all walkable, otherwise taxis are everywhere. The Palmer House is in the old Loop. An interesting non-chain breakfast venue nearby would be Heaven on Seven on the 7th floor of an office building on Wabash near Washington. Being Cajun, it offers such breakfasts as omelets with Shrimp Creole sauce and pancakes with praline pecans. Mostly, though, you will be journeying to north of the river.
Is Heaven on Seven still there? I thought it moved uptown and became a tourist trap.
I would definitely recommend that you ladies check out the West Loop -- take a taxi over to Lake Street and look around. There are a ton of clubs and restaurants packed into a small area.
Don't know how far you want to branch out but about a mile away (quick cab ride) is a place called Mambo Grill. I went last month and I thought it was tasty, reasonably priced, and had a fun atmosphere. There's also a bar called The Emerald Loop which had a full/good-looking crowd for happy hour the last time I went. I'm sure that there are many other options than the ones I suggested but those are the ones I got! Good luck.
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I can't speak to the dinners at Bin 36, but it's a very nice place for wine and cheese plates and such. And it puts you right near the bars and restaurants in River North. Check Hubbard st. for places right around there. Of course, there's lots of other places/areas, but the prices are pretty good and it's not far from the Palmer House.