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Oct 29, 2007 11:29 AM

Like A Tavola.....

I am looking for a great place to go for my 30th birthday with another couple. We really are up for most any kind of food...but i dont' want the run of the mill places...Joes Stone Crab, etc, etc.... A few weeks ago my husband and I went to A Tavola...and I absolutely loved it. So are there anymore suggestions of quiet hidden gems??? Thanks!

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  1. It's a tough question. A Tavola is really unique in that it is neighborhoody yet special, and small enough that it is never crowded and always quiet. You get the sense that everyone on the staff is behind what the chef is doing there.

    I think it's location lends itself to that. I've been thinking for a while about another place similar in style, but every one I come up with is so bustling! Crofton on Wells has the quiet factor but, to be honest, I think even at 30 you'll be the youngest people there. Food is quite good though.

    Also, I know it is well known, but Cafe Spiaggia really does have that same special feel with very dedicated servers who have been there for a long time. It is quiet an refined, yet relaxed at the same time. If you have not been, give it a try. I guess the vibe is more Gold Coast than Ukie Village, but if quiet is what you want, you aren't worried about the scene anyway.

    I'll keep thinking!

    4 Replies
    1. re: NDJ

      I second Crofton on Wells. I went there for my 22nd birthday, and while I was the youngest person there, it didn't bother me at all. It was quiet enough that it didn't really matter how old the patrons were, since we were all far enough apart. Food, service, atmosphere - all were exactly what my husband and I were looking for.

      1. re: Katherine_84f

        I do NOT recommend Crofton on Wells. The last time I went there, the food was decent but the service was absolutely terrible, to the point of abusive. This was the worst service experience of my life; in fact, all of us (we were a large group) continue to joke about it to this day, it was so bad. Of course, we haven't been back.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          I understand that service can really ruin an experience, but a place like Crofton on Wells does not stay open 10+ years by making its patrons miserable. It is not a tourist trap, not on anyone's short list of must tries, so they have to have a loyal, well cared for customer base. You had an off night.

          1. re: NDJ

            Maybe it was an off night, but it wasn't just off; it was absolutely horrid. And there are so many other excellent places in Chicago, without a problem history, that I recommend going elsewhere. For example, your previous recommendation of Cafe Spiaggia is a much better place for an out-of-towner.

    2. Well, I'm not sure whether you consider it a "hidden gem", but North Pond is exquisite. For one thing, it's unique for its location; it's in the middle of Lincoln Park - the park itself, not just the neighborhood. But it's hidden in the sense that many people don't even know it's there. It faces the pond, on the opposite side of which is the downtown skyline. The building formerly served as the place for skaters to rent ice skates in the winter. Bruce Sherman's contemporary American cuisine is absolutely wonderful. It's the perfect place for a special occasion, as well as to take out-of-town visitors (as I did this past weekend). If you've never been there (and even if you have), it's a great choice.