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Nov 28, 2007 01:20 PM

good lunch place around Michigan Ave

I'll be in Chicago this Saturday and am planning to do some shopping around Michigan Avenue and get some lunch in the area. I'll be staying on the south side of the river and planning to walk to up to Michigan Ave.

Is there any good place to grab lunch around that area? It doesn't have to be fast ... I'm just looking for some good food. I've been to Heaven on Seven and if I don't get any other ideas, I may just go back there for some soft shell crab sandwich.


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  1. I like Bistro 110. You must order the stuffed Artichoke. Also, Bandera Grill is good. They have delicious salads

    2 Replies
    1. re: chicagoyummy

      Should I make a reservation for lunch at Bistro 110? I'm just not sure if it's going to be crowded. Thanks

      1. re: bluegirl

        I'm not sure either, but it sure can't hurt; after all, it's a Saturday in the middle of the holiday shopping season. Besides, do it on and you can get 100 points!

    2. The previous mentions of Heaven on Seven ( ) and Bistro 110 ( ) are good ideas. And for more...

      You can get delicious deep-dish pizza at a lot of places, depending on how far up/down Michigan Avenue you are, including Giordano's (Lake St in Prudential Plaza south of the river, Rush St south of Chicago Ave north of the river), Uno's and Due (Ohio/Wabash), Gino's East (Superior east of Michigan), and Pizano's (State north of Chicago Ave). Phone ahead with your pizza order if you don't want to wait 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to cook. Avoid personal-size pizzas unless they're cooked to order for you.

      Additional suggestions:

      Fox and Obel (gourmet food store with a cafe in back) -
      Billy Goat Tavern (burgers) -
      Boston Blackie's (burgers) -
      Coco Pazzo Cafe (Italian) -
      Cafe Spiaggia (Italian) -
      Quartino (Italian tapas) -

      1 Reply
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Sayat Nova is a small, reliable Armenian restaurant on Ohio one block east (underneath) Michigan Avenue. Ohio is a few blocks north of the river. Sayat Nova is a good value at lunch and quiet. It is my favorite spot in that neighborhood to escape from the hurly-burly of shopping.

        Of nsxtasy fine recs, I really second...

        Blackie's for cheeseburgers and also for the "Mediteranean style smelt," a mound of 'em served with tomato slice and cole slaw;

        the lcafeteria at Fox & Obel;

        Coco Pazzo Cafe, some bucks up from all the other joints I've mentioned but still a good value for smart Italian food.

        Have fun.

      2. The Atwood Cafe in the Fairmont is perfect. Great food, atmosphere, and service.

        1 W Washington St
        Chicago, IL 60602
        (312) 368-1900

        Heaven on Seven is sooo overrated. Mediocre at best.

        15 Replies
        1. re: amoncada

          I agree with your thoughts on Heaven on Seven, and cringe whenever it is recommended to a visitor to our fine city.

          1. re: swsidejim

            Well, we've had this debate before, and while I'd agree that the Heaven on Seven "branches" tend to be uneven, the original location is always solid and I think Jimmy Bannos does a fine job with Cajun food (and you'll almost always find him at the original location on Wabash). Yes, I've had better Cajun food, particularly driving through Louisiana, but I think his versions of gumbo, bbq'd shrimp, soft shell po-boys, etc. are quite respectable.

            1. re: BRB

              I agree with BRB (although I've only been to the Wabash location and can't speak to the others); I've always enjoyed the Cajun food at Heaven on Seven.

              1. re: BRB

                thats cool brb,

                I have eaten at the Chicago location, and the Naperville location, and not enjoyed either. Gumbo is the telltale dish, and they just couldnt pull it off to my liking.

                I also have a hard time recommending any chain to out of town visitors.

                With that said, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and different preferences for food. Thats what makes this board fun, the open exchange of opinions, it would be a boring world if we all had the same tastes, and likes and dislikes.

                1. re: swsidejim

                  My only complaint w/ Jimmy's gumbo is the absence of ham hocks . . . hardly a complaint given the abundance of good quality andouille always used. There are plenty of spots in Louisiana that make it the same way. And in fairness, I don't think HoS is trying to be the most authentic Cajun spot. But from my travels through Louisiana, I think Jimmy does a good job.

                  1. re: BRB

                    I spent a week in New Orleans, eating at everything from Mothers Acme Oyster House to Commanders Palace, and happened to find myself at the Wabash Heaven on Seven the week afterward.

                    I thought the style and quality were easily the equal of many New Orleans restaurants, and the gumbo was very authentic.

            2. re: amoncada

              The Atwood Cafe is in the Hotel Burnham. Aria is at the Fairmont.

              1. re: ddfry3

                Oops, I meant to say Hotel Burnham.

                swsidejim: Yeah, what is the deal with Heaven on Seaven? I don't get it...we just don't have a true representation of great Cajun in Chicago. There are a couple of other restaurants that serve far better Cajun...Dixie Kitchen perhaps...again, not great but passable.

                1. re: amoncada

                  Within Chicago I dont think there is really any passable cajun food, Evanston included. I used to like Maple Tree Inn in Blue Island, but there quality started dipping fast in my opinion a few years ago.

                  I am on the Cujun Connection out in Utica(70 miles sw of Chicago, where I live) bandwagon. Not very close to Chicago, but an easy stop for people going to Starved Rock, or a road trip.

                  The chef/owner Ron, is from Louisiana, and makes weekly trips down to Louisiana to pick up ingredients(crabs, crawfish, shrimp, etc) whatever is fresh and in season, to bring back to cook.

                  Chicago definitley needs to be exposed to good cajun cooking, maybe something will open up downtown someday..

                  1. re: swsidejim

                    I wasn't a fan of Cajun cuisine until I went for Jazz Fest to New Orleans about 8 years, New Orleans serves up some amazing Cajun and southern food. Fellow chowsters, you have no idea what you are missing if you've never tried authentic Cajun? Food and music is in the blood in NOLA!
                    My parents moved to NOLA 9 years ago so I have a semi-regular Cajun fix.

                    1. re: amoncada

                      I think Heaven on Seven was cooler (and better) when it was upstairs in an office building in the Loop and you had to know how to find it. Turning something from a single spot into a chain always means something original gets lost in the translation.

                      I'd recommend you walk a block west of Michigan and try Vong Thai Kitchen, which is behind Nordstrom. The staff is very nice, and they have a wonderful salmon as well as delicious appetizers.

                      1. re: brendastarlet

                        It still is an the office building in the Loop, and that's really the only location I have been talking about (see my initial post on the subject).

                        As for VTK, I'd suggest anyone stay away unless they're looking for Cheesecake Factory/Grand Luxe-style Thai food. Sorry, but this place always draws this reaction from me . . . hate it!

                  2. re: amoncada

                    Here's my take on HoS:

                    1). This applies to the original Wabash Avenue site not to the other branches which I have either never been to or do not care for.

                    2). I would never recommend HoS to someone who has been to NOLA with any frequency or (even worse) is/was an inhabitant.

                    3). That being said, I continue to recommend HoS for lunch and particularly for breakfast, because, considering its location, there are only a limited number of venues in the immediate area of comparable interest, quality, and value.

                    . . . and having said that, I now have to find some place on the North Side to satisfy my sudden jones for cheese grits and sweet potatoe pie.

                2. re: amoncada

                  I like Atwood Cafe a lot. However, if someone's starting just south of the river (e.g. at the Hyatt, Fairmont, etc) and walking up Michigan Avenue, it's not at all on the way.

                  1. re: amoncada

                    I, too agree. I see Heaven on Seven mentioned here a lot, but they're way too heavy-handed with cayenne for my tastes -- the heat overpowers all the other flavors -- even where it doesn't belong.

                    You missed one of my faves: Bandera on the east side of Michigan Avenue. Great burgers, one of the best veggie burgers in town, fabulous artichokes, salads, soups and a very comfortable, quiet environment.

                  2. L'Appetito is a terrific Italian deli. There are locations in the John Hancock building on Michigan Ave. There is also a smaller and usually less hectic location on Wabash and Huron. I've never had a bad sandwich there and they also have yummy gelato and Italian cookies.

                    1 Reply
                    1. Bandera is very good. A bit further north, there is Dublin's which has amazing pub food and always a great relaxed atmosphere.