Chowhounder stuck at airport!
I will be staying at an airport hotel (two day meeting) while aching to try some of the wonderful fare in your city. Could someone recommend any type of food a Chowhounder would enjoy that is somewhat close (10-15 minutes) from OHare? I will be with about five folks from both coasts and all are fans of ethnic foods, steaks, whatever. I promise I will venture far and wide next time I am in town! Much appreciation
I have hosted a number of dinners in the O'Hare area as I am involved in a convention by O'Hare every year. And every year my attendees make a bee line for the following restaurants on River Road:
Gibson's gets the most repeat business and it is a real experience eating there. While the food is great, be aware that the desserts are overwelmingly large and the noise level can approach a rock concert during peak hours.
A block away is Morton's Steakhouse. The food is excellent and the room is much quieter than Gibson's. Meals at both Gibson's and Mortons are very expensive.
For Italian Carlucci's is very popular. It is located across from the Westin O'Hare, where we hold our convention, and by or in the Marriott Suites. The food is excellent, they can handle your party with ease and the noise level is bearable.
The dining room in the Westin O'Hare is excellent - and quiet. Again the food is pricey but we always look forward to at least one fine dinner there.
The restaurants at the Sofitel have been mentioned also. They do not get a lot of play from our group but Chez Collette is a nice place to eat although not particularly Chicago style. They have excellent desserts which is to be expected.
All of these restaurants are close to one another and can be easily reached by a hotel shuttle or short and cheap taxi ride. I suspect that you will not be renting a car if you are all going to stay at the same hotel and hold your meetings there. If you do rent a car or don't mind a cab ride, there are a number of fine places to dine in the western suburbs but the restaurants mentioned here and in other posts will definitely serve your purpose.
As for Nick's Fishmarket, none of my attendees have mentioned it which means noone has recommended it. I know that it is very expensive.
Make reservations in all cases. Don
Stick to Rosemont and you have a lot of good choices within 5 minutes....Do not go to Nicks Fishmarket...the one in Rosemont is overpriced an over rated. I highly recommend The Rosewood Grill for the best steaks, chops and seafood. The restuarants in the Sofitel are bth excellent. Giordanos for pizza.
Here are a bunch of recommendations, all within 10 minutes drive of O'Hare:
1. Steakhouses. Black Ram Steakhouse is a restaurant in Des Plaines. All of the food there is absolutely GREAT - the steaks, the seafood, the desserts, everything. It doesn't get a lot of press, but it gets a lot of repeat business. The proprietor greets lots of arriving guests by name. If you're looking for a great steakhouse (and seafood) restaurant that nobody ever heard of, this is it.
Black Ram Steak House
1414 Oakton St.
Des Plaines, IL 60019
Gibson's and Morton's both have locations near O'Hare too, and both are better known. If you're looking for an unsung place with better food, including steaks but particularly if you want something else, I think Black Ram is better, but if you're looking for a famous place that people can brag about having gone, then maybe this is your ticket.
5464 North River Road
Rosemont IL 60018
Morton's The Steakhouse-Rosemont
9525 Bryn Mawr Ave
Rosemont, IL 60018
2. Pizza. I think the most impressive and unique specialty in Chicago is our Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. One of the very best is Giordano's, which specializes in a double-crust "stuffed" pizza. You can phone your order ahead of time if you want to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake; you can find their menu on their website.
9415 West Higgins Road
3. Flamingo's Seafood (also mentioned by DKS1 - good call!) - Another place near O'Hare is my very favorite Mexican restaurant in the entire Chicago area (heck, the best Mexican food I've had outside of Mexico). It's called Flamingo's Seafood, in the suburb of Mount Prospect. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. They specialize in Mexican seafood dishes, and always have a large number of daily specials in addition to their extensive regular menu. Last time I was there I had a grilled Chilean sea bass with guava habanero sauce and crushed pumpkin seeds that was to die for. Located at Busse Road and Dempster, just north of Algonquin Road. Take I-90 westbound, exit at York Road, go north to Algonquin, and turn left.
1590 S. Busse Road
Mt. Prospect IL
Just a tweak on the directions to Flamingo's ... the exit off I-90 W is Elmhurst Rd /Rt 83 I think .... go north (past Algonquin) and take a left on Dempster - you'll see them at the NW corner of Busse & Dempster.
I've hosted friends and business guests there and each meal was very special .... really wonderful food ! One comment though is that the room is out of sync with the food - it's not an elegant, high design space. If you need that, go to Gibson's.
On the directions, the exit from I-90 is indeed labeled for Elmhurst Road. Thanks for the correction.
However, once you get onto Elmhurst Road northbound, it's quicker and shorter to turn left onto Algonquin. That takes you directly to the restaurant, on a diagonal; the restarant is just a few doors (a *very* short block) north of Algonquin when you get to Busse Road. No need to go the long way (all the way up to Dempster on Elmhurst Road and then over).
As for the decor, it's interesting. This was previously a sandwich or gyros restaurant; they painted some attractive murals where there are walls, but like you say, it's not oozing elegance - it's "just" a place that has terrific Mexican seafood dishes. Highly recommended.
I know you said "10-15 minutes from O'Hare", but I wanted to be sure you know that you can take the subway right from the airport Hilton ( if that is where you're staying ) - you can get downtown in 30-40 mins and pick and choose from there. That's what a true chowhound would do -;)
If you're already outside the airport with cars anyway, the suggestions here are very good. You can't beat Gibson's or Nick's on an expense account !
Note of caution on taking the Blue Line "L" from airport area.
They are constantly working on the Blue Line and at some times it is closed and one must take a Blue Line train to a shuttle bus back to the train. Not worth it.
You can venture downtown via cab, but during rush hours (3:30PM - 7:30 PM) it will take an hour each way.
re: jay seigle
Yes, but I do NOT recommend Nick's Fishmarket. I haven't been to the one in Rosemont, but the one in the Loop is singularly unimpressive; it's not particularly good, and it's very expensive, too.
Flamingo's (see other post) has excellent Mexican-style seafood. However, the decor is not at all fancy. If you're looking for a nicer place with excellent seafood near O'Hare, go to the Black Ram. Gibson's probably has excellent seafood too. (I haven't been to that particular location of Gibson's, but the one downtown has excellent seafood, partly because it's next door to, and shares the kitchen with, Hugo's Frog Bar, their sister restaurant specializing in seafood.)
For Italian, I would recommend Carlucci's...make sure to save room for the tiarmisu
For American, I would recommend Harry Carey's..good pork chops, steaks, etc.
For Steaks, Gibson's or Morton's are nearby
For Seafood, Nick's Fishmarket
I have never been, but have heard good things about Cafe La Cave. They call themselves a steakhouse, but I have heard recommendations for their sole and steak diane, which is not a "traditional" steak house item.