What to do & what to eat?
HELP PLEASE! I'm getting married and we are spending our honeymoon in Chicago. We'll be staying at the Hilton on Michigan Ave. What are some "must see" sights and more importantly, what are some "must eat" restaurants? We're specifically looking for authentic Chicago pizza, authentic greek and a great steakhouse. ANY suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Well, Edwardo's, Custom House, Bongo Room, and Orange are all only a few blocks from the hotel, and Everest is 5-6 blocks, so all of them are easily walkable. Greek Town is about a mile, so it's a longish walk or a short cab ride (there's no really direct bus route).
Uno's (the original location at Wabash and Ohio) and Gino's East (the two locations around downtown) are both on the other side of the Loop from the hotel, so you can take the el's Red Line, or the bus up Michigan Avenue works well for the Gino's East location on Superior. If you haven't tried stuffed pizza, Edwardo's is a worthwhile place as well; so is Giordano's, which has several locations in the Loop but none as close to the hotel as Edwardo's.
North Pond is about three miles north; you could cab it, or there are bus routes that go right through the park from downtown.
You can find transit information for buses and el/subway trains at www.transitchicago.com
Your hotel is at 720 S. Michigan, in the South Loop, south of the Loop, the commercial center of Chicago.
The nearest place to your hotel for Chicago deep-dish pizza is Edwardo's, at 521 S. Dearborn Street. Get the stuffed pizza. If you don't want to wait 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake, you can phone ahead with your pizza order, so it's ready shortly after you get there. You can see their menu at www.edwardos.com
The traditional steakhouses are mostly just north of the Loop. However, there is a restaurant a couple blocks from your hotel that, while not exactly a traditional steakhouse, may be perfect for you. It's called Custom House and it's one of several restaurants owned and run by award-winning chef Shawn McClain. They emphasize meats so you can get a great steak there as well as many other dishes. Business casual attire, jackets not required; expect to pay $90-130 per person including moderate alcohol, tax, and tip. www.customhouse.cc
If you'd like recommendations for traditional steakhouses, you can find them at www.chowhound.com/topics/359377
The Greek restaurants are concentrated along Halsted Street in Greek Town, just west of the Loop. It's just a short cab ride away, or a long walk (just over a mile). There are lots of good ones; all are casual and inexpensive. For a discussion and recommendations on which is best, see www.chowhound.com/topics/119233
I'll add a couple more unsolicited recommendations, of food types you didn't ask about. Since this is your honeymoon, you might be interested in places that not only have great food, but also have an exquisitely romantic atmosphere. The first is Everest. Everest is a fancy "splurge" type restaurant, featuring wonderful French-Alsatian cuisine from Chef Jean Joho. The service is equally impeccable as well as friendly and approachable. What makes Everest unique is its location on the 40th floor of the Midwest Stock Exchange building (about 5-6 blocks from your hotel), with the entire city spread out below the large windows in the dining room. It's dressy, jackets appropriate for gentlemen. It's also expensive - figure $175-225 per person including moderate alcohol, tax, and tip, unless you go for their pre-theater bargain ($50 for 3 courses, at 5:00-5:30 every day they're open except Fridays). www.everestrestaurant.com
The other place with a unique and romantic atmosphere is North Pond. North Pond is located about four miles north of your hotel, in the middle of Lincoln Park (the park itself, not just the neighborhood of the same name). It faces its namesake pond, and the city skyline looms over the opposite shore. Ask in advance if you can be seated in the dining room with the big windows facing the pond (although the inner dining room, with the open kitchen, is equally nice). The building used to be the warming shelter for ice skaters on the pond. The cuisine is contemporary American and delicious, and features local and seasonal ingredients where possible; chef Bruce Sherman was nominated for a James Beard award this year. Business casual attire, jackets not required; figure $80-120 per person all-inclusive. www.northpondrestaurant.com
One more thing you didn't mention is breakfast. I love Bongo Room, which is a few blocks south of your hotel at Wabash Ave and Roosevelt Road. They have great egg and pancake dishes. Another nearby place to get creative breakfast is Orange on Harrison. Beware long waits at both places on weekends.
For an overview of additional food recommendations in the city, see the topic at www.chowhound.com/topics/457215
There are many things to see and do in the Loop and all over the Chicago area. However, the Chowhound Team frowns on discussing sights that aren't related to food and beverage. For such recommendations, you might want to take a look at the website www.choosechicago.com for sights to see, and the website http://chicago.metromix.com for up-to-date entertainment listings. After looking through that information, if you plan to visit any specific locations and you'd like food recommendations in their immediate vicinity, let us know and we'll be happy to help.
Congratulations, and enjoy your honeymoon here!