Dining in Chicago for three nights in early April
This is only my second trip and I am very excited to eat my way around.
Last time we had Giordano's and late night hot dogs and italian beef sandwiches. This time around we are looking for a great pizza, a great dinner with a group of 8, and a wild card MUST have dinner. We are staying in the Palmer House, so we are downtown without a car.
For lunches, we want to mix our eating with some tourism/sightseeing/must do places. We'll be there Thursday through Saturday, so it will be the weekend. I can eat Chicago dogs every day and be happy if the relish is green dogs are Vienna Beef.
We love all ethnic foods, but everybody loves a great steak, or something that is quintessentially Chicago. Really, if it is delicious, we'll try it.
So, all help is appreciated...and I would be glad to reciprocate if you ever find yourself in VIrginia from DC to Richmond, Charlottesville to VA Beach.
Okay, I leave tomorrow. We are thinking of three dinners and some late night snacking.
Choice 1: great authentic mexican?? WHERE?
Choice 2: a good steak--we have real beef eaters, so quality and/or quantity is more important than atmosphere
Choice 3: Really great atmosphere, gotta try it, Chicago's own...for dinner???
And where do I go at 300 AM after some reasonably serious drinking to satisfy a craving for greasy delicious food?
Last minute replies requested!
>> Choice 1: great authentic mexican?? WHERE?
Frontera Grill and Topolobampo (sister restaurants, side by side). Topo accepts advance reservations, Frontera mostly doesn't. 15-minute walk from your hotel. Restaurant website: www.rickbayless.com/restaurants More commentary: www.chowhound.com/topics/463572
>> Choice 2: a good steak--we have real beef eaters, so quality and/or quantity is more important than atmosphere
There are lots of good ones. Just over the river, 10-15 minutes walk from the Palmer House, are two of the best - Keefer's ( www.keefersrestaurant.com ) and Joe's ( www.icon.com/joes ). Commentary: www.chowhound.com/topics/359377
>> Choice 3: Really great atmosphere, gotta try it, Chicago's own...for dinner???
North Pond, in the middle of Lincoln Park. www.northpondrestaurant.com
>> And where do I go at 300 AM after some reasonably serious drinking to satisfy a craving for greasy delicious food?
White Palace Grills at 1159 S Canal St.
Glad to hear you enjoy our city so much - so do most of us who live here!
For a great pizza, there are several options. You said you had Giordano's, presumably their wonderful stuffed pizza, but you didn't mention how you liked it. If you loved it, you could always go back. For a slightly different experience, you could go to Pizano's, for single-crust "pan" style deep-dish pizza. On Madison, just a block or so from the Palmer House. www.pizanoschicago.com Or, you could go to one of our many thin-crust pizza places. Yes, even though most Chicagoans prefer deep-dish pizza (according to a recent Chicago Tribune poll), we actually also have thin-crust pizza of various sorts, from New York style to authentic Neapolitan. You can find lots of pizza recommendations in these topics:
You say you are looking for a great dinner for a group of 8 and a "must have" dinner. You also mention steakhouses. So one of those dinners could be at one of our steakhouses, right? You can find a comprehensive discussion of our steakhouses at
As for a "must have" dinner, there are lots of different categories, everything from haute cuisine to ethnic cheap eats. We have some of the top chefs in the country, at dressy expensive places; we also have plenty of more casual fine dining restaurants featuring contemporary cuisine, often American with global influences. You can find a discussion of both types at www.chowhound.com/topics/368683
For some quick recommendations within walking distance of the Palmer House, Everest is a wonderful splurge restaurant with French-Alsatian cuisine and a spectacular view of the city - www.everestrestaurant.com Custom House is more casual and meat-focused - www.customhouse.cc For casual mid-priced Italian food, Vivere and Trattoria No. 10 are a few blocks away - www.vivere-chicago.com and www.trattoria10.com And for American comfort food, Atwood Cafe is nearby - www.atwoodcafe.com
If you want to go for inexpensive ethnic food, neighborhoods which emphasize specific types of inexpensive ethnic food include:
- Indian/Pakistani food along Devon Avenue (6400N) between Western (2400W) and Sacramento (3000W)
- Vietnamese food along Argyle St (5000N) within a couple blocks of the Argyle stop on the Red Line
- Mexican food along 18th St (1800S) within a couple blocks of the 18th St stop on the CTA Pink Line.
- Greek food in Greek Town, along Halsted Street (800W) between Washington and Van Buren (just west of the Loop) (see also discussion link above)
In these areas, you can just walk up and down those streets and read the menus in the windows, and pick whatever place sounds best. (Note references to our street numbering grid; there are eight blocks, or 800 in house numbers, to the mile, throughout most of the city.)
Here are some additional discussions about various kinds of food:
Brunch and Breakfast: