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Best places to eat

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Hi,

A few friends and I will be in Chicago next weekend for the Sears Tower stair climb. We need suggestions for all meals, B, L, D and snacks. We're staying near the Sears Tower, but anywhere near public transportation is fine. We would definitely like to try some classic Chicago dishes. Please post all your favorites and the best time to go.

Thanks!

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  1. Your question does not provide a lot of specifics; in fact, almost any place in Chicago would meet what you've stated!

    I just posted the following reply in another topic - the one at www.chowhound.com/topics/457215 - so you might want to read through that, take a look at the discussions and websites in the links below, and give some thought to what exactly you're looking for. Feel free to provide more specifics about what kind(s) of food you would like while you're here, and we can provide information that relates directly to what you're looking for.

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    Well, I think the one "can't miss" specialty in Chicago is our Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. There are a lot of places serving great pizza here, and the chains (with the exception of non-downtown locations of Uno's) do quite a good job of maintaining consistent quality across many locations. 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 and locations on their websites. All the above chains have locations within a mile of the Loop; locations within the Loop itself include several locations of Giordano's, and Pizano's on Madison.

    We have some wonderful contemporary American, casual fine dining restaurants. IMHO the very best ones fairly near downtown are:

    one sixtyblue - www.onesixtyblue.com
    Blackbird - www.blackbirdrestaurant.com
    Aigre Doux - www.aigredouxchicago.com
    Custom House - www.customhouse.cc
    North Pond - www.northpondrestaurant.com

    North Pond, in addition to having wonderful food, has an exquisite setting, too. It's right in the middle of Lincoln Park (the park, not the neighborhood), on the pond (the building used to be the place where people would rent ice skates in winter), with the city skyline as a backdrop at the opposite end of the pond. It's about three miles north of downtown, an easy cab or bus ride ( www.transitchicago.com ).

    If I had to recommend just one of these places, it would be one sixtyblue for the food, and North Pond for the atmosphere, but there are lots of such excellent places; these are just the very best IMHO.

    We also have some excellent mid-priced Italian restaurants, notably Cafe Spiaggia ( www.levyrestaurants.com ), Coco Pazzo ( www.cocopazzochicago.com ), Vivere ( www.vivere-chicago.com ), and Trattoria No. 10 ( www.trattoria10.com ).

    And, we have some excellent Mexican restaurants. Before you start thinking, "Oh, we have those at home", please realize that these feature very creative provincial Mexican cuisine. Take a look at the menus on their websites and you'll see what I mean. Ones near downtown include Frontera Grill and Topolobampo ( www.rickbayless.com/restaurants ), Salpicon ( www.salpicon.com ), and Adobo Grill ( www.adobogrill.com ).

    Fox and Obel is worth a mention, too. It's an upscale gourmet grocery store, just a wonderful place to shop for prepared foods as well as basic ingredients. They also have a cafe in the rear that's open day for a meal or a snack. www.fox-obel.com

    There are lots more places, particularly in outlying neighborhoods where you find more ethnic places (Thai, Indian, etc) but they involve some traveling from downtown (30-60 minutes via public transportation).

    So those would be my first recommendations. You can find more detailed discussions about specific types of food here in these other topics:

    Fine dining:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/368683

    Steakhouses:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/359377

    Seafood:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/370202

    Italian:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/360990

    Pizza:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/327474
    www.chowhound.com/topics/319254

    Greek:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/119233

    Barbecue:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/360674
    www.chowhound.com/topics/453036

    Tapas:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/370492
    www.chowhound.com/topics/366524

    Burgers:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/382781

    Hot dogs:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/364427

    Quintessential Chicago:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/372986

    Brunch and Breakfast:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/364403

    Bottom line, if you're downtown for two days, I think you could go to Lou Malnati's or Giordano's for pizza for lunch one day, hit one sixtyblue or North Pond for dinner, stop in at Fox and Obel, and you'll be having some of our best eats.