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Food to survive on near Westin River North

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Hi Chicagoans,

I'm visiting on business (solo) from New York for a few days, and don't have any plans for dinner or know anyone local. I'm just hoping to survive the next couple of days, and so I'm looking for good, easy food near the Westin Chicago River North so that I can skip room service (got in late last night and ended up spending $30 on a wet pizza and a pot of tea) or hotel restaurants. Preferably places that are either easy for takeout or compatible with solo dining hunched over a casefile. And bonus points for thai or Mexican.

I realize this isn't the most exciting post - but I looked out my hotel window last night and I couldn't see any evidence of street life, i.e. I have no idea where to go and am desperate. Many thanks for any help!

--CD

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  1. Hi there, I was in your exact place last month visiting from Boston...I ended up at NAHA and I absolutely loved it.
    I ate cauliflower soup with butter poached lobster and Arctic char with celeriac and mushrooms. Absolutely delicious. The bartender was chatty so being alone wasn't a bad thing. It's off of Clark Street - literally walk out of the Westin to the left, take a right on Clark and it's like 3 blocks on the left hand side. Very easy and worth the cold walk.

    Enjoy.

    3 Replies
    1. re: italophile

      Naha is wonderful, but it is participating in restaurant week this week and I think it will be hard to get in (that said, if you can get in, restaurant week means it is a fabulous deal, 3 courses for $32). Definitely call before trying to go there.

      1. re: italophile

        The only problem with Naha is that they're participating in our Restaurant Week promotion this week, and I heard that they're completely booked. But still, it's worth trying; call ahead to find out. www.naha-chicago.com

        Vong's Thai Kitchen is your best bet for Thai food in River North. www.vongsthaikitchen

        For creative Mexican food, both Frontera Grill and Topolobampo are outstanding; however they're rather crowded and noisy, which doesn't sound like what you're looking for. I don't know if they do carry-out, but it's worth asking. www.rickbayless.com/restaurants

        Other good choices nearby:
        Bacino's on Wacker (stuffed pizza) - www.bacinos.com
        Uno's at Ohio and Wabash (pan pizza) - www.unos.com
        Catch 35 (seafood) - www.catch35.com
        Brasserie Jo (French bistro) - www.brasseriejo.com
        Shaw's Crab House (seafood) - www.shawscrabhouse.com

        If you do the pizza places, keep in mind that it takes half an hour for the pizza to bake, but you can call ahead with your order so it's ready when you get there. They, too, can be a bit noisy, so you may want to get it to go.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          You guys are awesome. Many thanks for all the recs.

      2. Head across the street to either A Mano or Bin 36. I'm not nuts about the food in the main dining room at Bin 36, but you can sit up front and have more snacky-type food that's pretty good. A Mano is Italian small plates (same owners as Bin 36), and is located right below Bin. I like the food much better at A Mano.

        Both are definitely conducive to solo dining.

        1. Within 3 blocks of your hotel, all fine places to eat alone:

          - Mambo Grill (Kinzie and Clark) - good latin food, great drinks. I love the plantain crusted halibut, but I haven't had anything there I haven't liked.
          - Vong's Thai Kitchen (Hubbard and State) - upscale, not authentic, but yummy Thai food.
          - Catch 35 (Wacker and State) - seafood
          - McCormick & Schmick (Wacker and State) - it's a chain, but it is reliably good seafood. Also, they have great happy our appetizer specials in the bar area.
          - A Mano (Dearborn and Kinzie) - Italian. They have a bar area with tables and great happy hour specials ($5 pizzas in Feb). You can get anything on the menu at the bar or the bar-area tables as well. I've really enjoyed their pizzas and desserts. I haven't sampled anything else yet.

          Delivery:
          If you decide you can't handle braving the weather, you can get deliver from:
          - Star of Siam (State and Illinois) - decent Thai food. They are also good for dining in or take-out.
          - Naniwa - good sushi.

          There are tons more places if you want to walk a little farther or get in a cab.