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Dec 20, 2007 09:01 AM

Good food, reasonable prices?

Hi everyone, I'm trying to plan a trip to Chicago the weekend after Christmas and I need help figuring out good lunch and dinner options. We're staying in the magnificent mile area (surprise, surprise) and as far as I can remember rooting out good places to eat that are in walking distance can be a bit difficult. I would really LOVE some suggestions as we're planning on doing some sightseeing during the days that we are there. Ideas for good lunches?

Also, other questions:
On both Thursday and Saturday nights we won't be able to get to any restaurants before nine, but I still want to go out for some decent meals. I was thinking Frontera and Kaze as two options. Other ideas? Again walking distance or easy access by the train on those two evenings would be particularly great.

Any ideas for a nice meal that's not TOO pricey (entrees in the $20 range) on Friday night (the only night where we can make reservations for anytime)? I'd be interested in small plates, new american, eastern European...I'm really open to any ideas. What I'm looking for is a nice relaxing, unhurried meal with good drink to go along...a quiet place would be ideal.

And finally any good dim-sum suggestions?

Thanks so much for any help you all can provide!

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  1. I'd try West Town Tavern for your Friday night meal. Relaxed, new American, casual and the prices are very reasonable for downtown. Its a quick cab ride from the loop. Don't let the name fool you, its actually a real cozy restaurant, not a bar.

    1. Just a word about your other nights. Don't worry about not making it until 9, city restaraunts tend to stay open later. We often don't eat until 8:30, 9 o'clock on most nites.

      1. For your Friday night venture I would try to go to A Mano it is located below BIN 36. They offer Italian small plates at pretty good prices. Give it a try.
        For Dim-sum

        Shui Wah
        2162 S. Archer Ave
        Chicago, IL

        The Phoenix
        2131 S. Archer Ave.
        Chicago, IL


        1 Reply
        1. re: FIGjustin

          When choosing between Shui Wah and Phoenix, I would consider the following: Phoenix offers cart service and large picture windows with some decent views, whereas I much prefer the food at Shui Wah -- it's excellent -- but there are no carts . . . you order off of the menu.

        2. You'll probably be shopping along Michigan Avenue and will want lunch so here are some lunch suggestions. A big problem is that every restaurant along Michigan Avenue will be jammed all this next week---but if you walk west (direction away from the lake) you will have better luck getting in and there are many restaurants along Ohio, Ontario, and Grand. Always reliable is Big Bowl (see Lettuce Entertain You website for menu and details) on Ohio a block west of Michigan (turn at the Eddie Bauer store and cross Rush). Very good stir-fries, low prices. 3) If you don't mind a chain and just want a quick lunch so you can keep shopping, there's a California Pizza next to Big Bowl and a Chili's at State & Ontario. More Chicagoish is Harry Carey (Dearborn & Kinzie). Also interesting: Heaven on Seven (Rush & Ontario), India House (59 W Grand). More money: Brazazz (Dearborn & Grand) and Fogo de Chao (LaSalle & Erie) both Brazilian meat festivals, see websites, actually a good deal at lunch because half the price of dinner. Weber Grill, 539 N State, has good barbecue. Most visitors will be jamming into Michigan Avenue lunch places so totally forget Cheesecake Factory and Grand Luxe and get AWAY from Michigan. Go west, young man (or woman).

          1. I forgot something I keep meaning to post for visitors looking for lunch or a light supper. There is a WholeFoods supermarket on Huron between State and Dearborn that has something very like a cafeteria or an Italian "tavola calda"---a vast steam table with a couple of dozen hot selections--- plus a huge salad bar. You take what you want then they weigh your plate and charge accordingly. They have tables and counters for sitting. Not really a restaurant, but sometimes meets a need and it's very quick.