I will be in Chicago for a conference soon, and am hoping for some advice. I will be coming with my family, including my 18 month old, and am looking for family-friendly places nearby. We are staying at the Hilton Suites at East Delaware, near Michigan. Also, I am hoping to have one nice dinner out with my husband. Custom House looks good; do you have any similar recommendations? Alternatively what would you consider for best italian?
Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
I can't really speak to the family-friendly aspect of your question; hopefully others will provide advice.
For the nice dinner and Italian questions, Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia ( www.levyrestaurants.com ) are both just a block or so away. Both are excellent - Spiaggia as a super-expensive splurge type restaurant, Cafe Spiaggia for mid-priced Italian.
Custom House ( www.customhouse.cc ) is excellent, and is on the other side of the Loop, a short ride by cab (or bus). They emphasize meats, very classy place for casual fine dining.
Another excellent choice for the nice dinner is North Pond ( www.northpondrestaurant.com ), which is two miles north of your hotel, in the middle of Lincoln Park (the park, not just the neighborhood). It's a bit more convenient to get to because the two miles is quick, through the park rather than downtown. The cuisine of Chef Bruce Sherman is excellent and emphasizes local and seasonal ingredients. The setting in the park is exquisite; it faces its namesake pond, with the Chicago skyline looming over the opposite end. (The building was formerly used to rent skates to skaters on the pond during the winter.) This is my top recommendation for a nice dinner in a romantic setting.
If you enjoy French bistro food, Bistro 110 ( www.levyrestaurants.com ) is also close by and excellent.
The restaurants in Greek Town are very family friendly, especially Greek Islands. That's about a 10 minute cab from your hotel. Also, if you like Indian food, I always found that Gaylord on Clark Street was welcoming to families (so are the Indian restaurants on Devon, but that is pretty far from your hotel).
If you're already going to be eating italian, then this may not help, but Pizano's is on State and Chestnut, and should be quite family friendly on weeknights. We've been there then and on Sundays, and it's very "neighborhood" and not at all like a lot of places on Rush st. And the pizza is excellent. The Italian beef I had at the downtown location last week wasn't the quality of Al's or Mr. Beef, etc. but decent. My grown daughter had a big caesar salad with chicken which she said was quite good. Like I said, nothing wildly good here, 'cept the pizza. but may fit the bill for the family.