Looking for restaurant for romantic/fun dinner
I will be in Chicago for a weekend at the end of November with my husband and am looking for a couple of restaurant recommendations for dinner. We are in our 30's and have a weekend away from the kids. We're looking for someplace with a great atmosphere - not stuffy, but something more funky or fun or trendy or romantic (or all of those!) - and great food (we like all types of cuisine) and good wine. We don't want to spend a fortune but we'll splurge if it's worth it. Also looking for lunch recommendations - any "musts" to go to while in Chicago?
We'll likely be staying near the Millennium Mile (though if anyone has any recommendations on better areas to stay... we want to be near good restaurants and nightlife, live music etc, as well as shopping, museums).
Fun, funky and hip is De Cero on west randolph - it's a modern taqueria, GREAT margaritas, and a short cab ride away.
A must is Sepia, if you can get a reservation. New place, the food is amazing, the atmosphere is modern, and the lighting is romantic. Seriously though.... the food is so so good....
I've had really great meals recently at Boka and Le Lan. These are chef-driven places with excellent food, service and wine lists. Boka is in the 1700 block of Halsted, so it would be a cab ride away. Le Lan is on Clark Street, very near Mag Mile. The chefs have excellent resumes (both were at Charlie Trotter's, for example) and are cooking some of the most exciting food in the city. Boka's food manages to be both rustic and elegant; Le Lan serves contemporary Asian food with French and New American influences. Not as "fun" as Carnivale or Red Light, but similar in price and substantially better food-wise (although I enjoy both of those places, too). In fact, my most recent dinner at Boka (2 weeks ago) was one of the best of the year and topped only by places that were much more expensive (such as Alinea in Chicago and Providence in LA).
My other constant favorite is Custom House (500 S. Dearborn)--very classy ambience, top-notch ingredients (largely organic, small farms, local), intelligent wine list, and one of the city's best pastry chefs. Terrific (and unusal) cocktails too, with house-made components. Not walking distance from the hotels you describe, but a pretty short cab ride.
I second the recommendations of Red Light and Carnivale, but these would both require a cab ride. You are also pretty close to most of the museums (Field, Shedd Aquarium and Planetarium), but if you and the hubby are at all into Sci-Fi/Star Wars the Museum of Science and Industy has a really unique and fun Star Wars exhibit till Jan. This is not exactly close to your hotel, and I don't know how to best get there from where you are at. Perhaps another Chowhounder could help out.
I have a recommendation, for lunch as well as the one "must" while in Chicago: Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. It's absolutely delicious, and unlike anywhere else. Take your pick - double-crust "stuffed" pizza from Giordano's, Edwardo's, or Bacino's, or single-crust "pan" pizza from Lou Malnati's, Pizano's, Gino's East, or the original location of Uno's - you can't go wrong with any of these. You can phone your order ahead of time if you want to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake; you can find their menus on their websites.
As for dinner, there are lots and lots of restaurants near those hotels, depending on what you're looking for. Steakhouses too numerous to mention (see www.chowhound.com/topics/359377 ), Italian places (Cafe Spiaggia is excellent and close to all of those hotels), fine dining, etc. For fun/trendy, the previously mentioned Red Light is good, and so is Carnivale, but they are a short cab ride away, not really walkable (you could walk it but it's half an hour minimum, and even further if you're at the Indigo). MK is good and is a bit closer.
A bit less funky/fun, but high on the romantic and great food scale, is North Pond. It's a short cab ride away, at the north end of Lincoln Park (yes, it's in the middle of the park; it used to be the building servicing the skaters on the pond), with the city skyline at the opposite end of the pond. Great food from chef Bruce Sherman, who uses local ingredients where possible. www.northpondrestaurant.com
You should clarify where you are staying -- there is no "Millenium Mile." There is the "Magnificent Mile," which is the stretch north of the Chicago river along Michigan Ave., and "Millenium Park," which is the park immediately east of Michigan Ave south of the River.