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Nov 13, 2007 02:17 PM

Topolobampo (?) or alternatives

A friend of mine who is knowledgeable about things culinary recommends Topolobampo on an upcoming visit to Chicago in the spring. What do the local Chowhounds think and do they have an alternative. I read the recent postings on upscale Mexican and didn't notice it listed. Any reason? We are staying at the Hotel Monaco for 4 nites in the spring and any recommendations for nearby eateries of any type are appreciated as always.


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  1. I'm sure Topolobampo and Frontera Grill, its sister restaurant next door, were both mentioned, since they are easily our best-known upscale Mexican restaurants. However, sometimes they are referred to as "Topo" or the "Rick Bayless restaurants", such as in the topic at A search on Chowhound should turn up lots more topics on them; most locals (including me) think they're both very good, while a minority have dissented for various reasons. These are the restaurants run by Rick Bayless, winner of a James Beard Award this year, and Chef Bayless is usually in the house. Remember, Topolobampo accepts reservations in advance; Frontera Grill doesn't (except for a few same-day reservations).

    Other upscale Mexican places not too far from the Hotel Monaco include Salpicon, in Old Town ( ) and the two locations of Adobo Grill ( ). You can get more conventional Mexican cuisine in the Pilsen neighborhood on and around 18th Street, at places including Nuevo Leon ( ). There are lots more Mexican places, but some of them are much further away and not particularly convenient.

    For lots of other types of recommendations, the recent topic at is a good place to start. Many of the places mentioned there are close to, or a quick cab ride from, the Monaco, which is in the northeast corner of the Loop. Let us know if you have more specific questions and we'll be happy to help.

    1. Here are a few threads that provide more detail about Topolobampo and some of the other great Mexican restaurants in Chicago:

      Personally, I like Topolobampo quite a bit and I have a lot of respect for what Rick Bayless has accomplished. And while Topo is not my favorite Mexican restaurant in town (that honor belongs to Sol de Mexico), the food is excellent and complex and the atmosphere is upscale. If you choose to go elsewhere or want to sample some other Mexican restaurants, check out the aforementioned posts.

      In terms of other recommendations, what other types of food are you looking for. There are hundreds of very good restaurants within a short cab ride or walking distance from where you are, and covering all different price ranges, types of cuisine and atmosphere. What kinds of recommendations would you like and how far are you willing to travel?