Breakfast / lunch near Sheraton Towers downtown
We are staying at the Sheraton Towers downtown this week and would like to know about good places to have breakfast within walking distance (good coffee , healthy baked goods, and maybe also eggs or pancakes for our teenage son). Also good places for lunch (e.g. pizza, japanese, thai, italian, mexican, jewish, or any other chicago specialty) which are also within walking distance (5-15 minutes) We already have all our dinners planned based on the extraordinary information in this board.
Breakfast: West Egg - 2 blocks north from the hotel at 620 N Fairbanks (Columbus cross street). Normally a line, but once you get seated, fast service (not overly friendly or anything though) and great granola pancakes, good omelettes.
Tip: Do not eat anywhere in your hotel, specifically the Chicago Burger Company.
You guys will be in walking distance to a bunch of restaurants. There's a somewhat-hidden Italian joint called Volare about 2-3 blocks from your hotel. Small and crowded but tasty. For good Japanese or Thai or Mexican you'll have to cab it out of the loop.
Pizza in Chicago is too complex to discuss in this context.
You mentioned specifically breakfast and lunch however, if you're up for dinner you are within 2-4 blocks of the following fabulous restaurants (in succession): De La Costa (Latin fusion, 2 blocks away), Capitol Grill (the original, typical steakhouse but always elegant and fantastic), Tru (you'll need a reservation way in advance, excellent chef, palette chalenging).
We were way-laid on our way to West Egg this morning, asked for directions, and were re-directed to Fox and Obel, where we ended up having a good breakfast plus an opportunity to sample good cheeses and a variety of smoked salmon slices, and browse about the aisles and the meat and prepared food counters (The Kobe tri-tip and the dry aged steaks made me wish I had access to a wood charcoal grill) .We will try to find West Egg again tomorrow.
We had a late lunch at Giordano's on Lake St, our introduction to the Chicago stuffed pizza which, according to our teenage son, was "awesome" - We found it a bit bland at the beginning, but a few shakes of red peppers and herbs made a difference (Adding grated cheese to pizza is, in my opinion, like adding ketchup to a tomato sauce)
Just returned from dinner at Cafe Spiaggia: The kale salad was very good, a generous portion of tender young kale flavored with pancetta (it could had used a little less oil) , best gnocchi ( with wild boar ragu) that i've had in not so recent memory, and an excellent striped bass special -roasted to perfection. The desserts were OK but underwhelming. All this accompanied with a decent bottle of "Rosso Piceno" and correct friendly service. I would go back tomorrow except that we are planning to try Frontera, which according to our Spiaggia server "beat us" at some recent important competition (Our server also mentioned a little mexican place called "Salpicon", any comments?)
Together with yesterday's corned beef late lunch (which became early dinner) at Manny's, we are having a gastronomic good time here in Chicago, thanks to all the tips in this Board.
re: felix the hound
>> I would go back tomorrow except that we are planning to try Frontera, which according to our Spiaggia server "beat us" at some recent important competition
Note that Frontera Grill is closed Mondays!!! So is Topolobampo, its sister restaurant next door. Also, unlike Topolobampo, Frontera does not accept reservations except for a limited number of same-day reservations first thing in the morning. You can order from either menu at either place. I generally prefer Topolobampo, particularly at lunch time when the price difference is relatively insignificant.
>> (Our server also mentioned a little mexican place called "Salpicon", any comments?) <<
Salpicon is very good. It's not as close to your hotel, though; it's in Old Town, a mile north, so it's a longish walk or a short cab or bus ride. And it's open for dinner seven days a week.
Glad you got to try Cafe Spiaggia. I didn't mention it previously because I was concentrating on places closer to your hotel.
There's a place just a couple of blocks from your hotel called Fox and Obel. It's a wonderful, comprehensive upscale gourmet grocery store offering the finest meats, cheeses, baked good, prepared foods, etc. Everything there is excellent, the best of everything. In the rear of the store is a cafe with a sizable seating area. The atmosphere is pure coffeehouse, nothing fancy, but they serve a complete menu including all three meals during the day. I like them a lot for breakfast! You can check out their cafe menu by clicking on "cafe" on their website at www.fox-obel.com
For pizza, you should definitely have some of our Chicago-style deep-dish pizza! Across the river, a couple blocks from your hotel, you have two good options for double-crust "stuffed" pizza: Giordano's, the location in the Prudential building on Lake Street, and Bacino's on Wacker. www.giordanos.com www.bacinos.com You can get single-crust "pan" pizza at the original Uno's and Due, whose locations at Wabash and Ohio are a couple blocks west of your hotel. www.unos.com
For Mexican food, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo (the famous restaurants of chef Rick Bayless) are walking distance. www.rickbayless.com/restaurants
For Italian, Coco Pazzo Cafe is a couple of blocks away. www.cocopazzocafe.com
For burgers for lunch, the original Billy Goat Tavern is a block or two away ("Cheezborger! Cheezborger! No fries, cheeps! No Pepsi, Coke!"?) www.billygoattavern.com So is Boston Blackie's location on East Grand. www.bostonblackies.com
You can find lots more recommendations for relatively inexpensive food (including breakfast and lunch options) in the topic at www.chowhound.com/topics/387291 (The original query there was about the Hyatt Regency Chicago, which is just across the river from your hotel.)
Coco Pazzo turned out to be a mixed experience. Maybe we should not have gone there the day after having dinner at cafe Spiaggia , where we had an excellent table, dinner, and service.
Coco Pazzo is a different room and experience, and even though we first had a table by the window we were crowded by a table of six on one side and a deux at an angle on the other. We moved to a larger table in the middle of things, which provided us with a good view of what other tables were having as the servers passed by.
My wife ordered a spinach salad which was described as having endive, pine nuts and gorgonzola. It turned out to be spinach only with a teaspoon of gorgonzola and four pinenuts, all bathed in olive oil. I sent back my butternut squash ravioli because they had probably sat out to long and the edges were dried out and undercooked (not al dente). The only one I tasted was insipid. We awaited for our main courses with trepidation but they were excellent. Coincidentally they were both specials: orecchiette with sausage meat and rappini and roasted striped bass. Service was perfunctory. I would go back to Coco Pazzo, but with lowered expectations.