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Mar 10, 2008 03:19 PM

hyatt regency downtown area

hi--we're going to be in chicago for a week and are interested in what good restaurants are in this area. i've never been to chicago, so am anxious to try some of the best restaurants in town. (of course, they don't have to be by the hotel). thanks in advance for any help.

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  1. Chicago is pretty big, and has a long list of great restaurants. Is there anything you'd specifically like, or anything you do not like? Any price range? If not, then I guess this thread would be a place to start looking:

    If you have any specific questions, please ask them, and I'm sure we'll be happy to try and pinpoint some places as always.

    1. thanks--price is really not a concern--we really like the high-end stuff when it's really good. i guess i'm just looking for some personal recommendations on what restaurants live up to the hype, as well as those that are over rated.

      5 Replies
      1. re: hellpaso

        Still with no type of cuisine given, I guess I'd offer you Spiaggia, for Italian, Moto for gastro, Alinea for gastro, and Topolabampo for higher end Mexican. This is still a very big city, and opinions run rampant. There are still a whole slew of places that serve different ethnic cuisines. Picking what doesn't live up to the hype is a difficult task when you are looking for higher end here. At a more moderate price level, yes, there are imposters serving not so great fare for the price, but I don't think this city has too many high end places that would survive if they weren't that good. If you are looking for "high-end stuff when it's really good," you'll do well at Spiaggia, and Alinea.

        One place that I don't think lives up to the hype, but is not too high end when you consider the degustation menu price is Arun's for Thai food. It runs around 85.00 to start, and in my opinion, although the setting is nice, and the food is good, I can do just as well for about 25.00 per person at a few other Thai places.

        If you throw out some names that you are considering, or search those names in the Chicago board, you might find some useful info.

        1. re: gordeaux

          thanks for the info. i checked out the menus @ moto and alinea, and they sound like what we're looking for. i guess we love so many cuisines, it's hard to just say i want thai or italian and let it go at that. we especially love the degustation menus with wine pairings. and i so agree--i'm willing to put out the cash for a meal, but it better be spectacular if the prices are spectacular--haha!

          1. re: hellpaso

            I was just at Moto this past Saturday night. It was fantastic.

            1. re: hellpaso

              I have just been in Chicago attending a conference at the Hyatt and have had pretty much all my meals within a very small radius of the hotel. If you look for my user name (James G) you'll find my reviews of Cafe Spiaggia, North Pond, Trattoria No. 10, Vermilion, Aigre Doux and Frontera Grill, all of which were very good at the very least and some (Spiaggia and North Pond) exceptional.

          2. re: hellpaso

            If you really enjoy high-end splurge type restaurants, then the discussion to start with is the one at The nine restaurants listed there are the very best we've got. Moto is the most avant garde, molecular gastronomy type place, and Alinea leans in that direction, as does Schwa (if you can get a reservation). Avenues, Tru and Trotter's a bit less so; Everest and NoMI are the most conventional of the group, but both also offer a very nice room and view. And Spiaggia is the only Italian restaurant at that level. All of these are excellent choices, and none are over-rated. Note that Avenues will be getting a new chef towards the end of this month.

            If you're interested in more casual (and less pricy) places, there are lots more excellent ones, in addition to Topolobampo. The best of the group, in the city, are one sixtyblue, Blackbird, Aigre Doux, and North Pond.

          3. At the Trump Hotel - which I think is still under construction - is the new restaurant Sixteen. A friend of mine is the former sister-in-law of the head chef Frank Brunacci - and she completely raves about his food. She hasn't been to Sixteen yet but we're trying to plan a weekend for her to come down so we can check it out.

            Here's a review from metromix:

            5 Replies
              1. re: kykii

                thanks to all for the help! we made reservations at alinea. i'll let you know how it goes. oh, and they said on the phone the restaurant is upstairs with no elevator. please tell me it's not up 10 floors---

                1. re: hellpaso

                  No, just one floor up (if you get seated upstairs, there are a few tables on the ground floor).

                  1. re: jesteinf

                    haha--thanks for your quick reply. i think i can manage that!

                    1. re: hellpaso

                      ok--i finally made it to chicago!! what a wonderful city!! we went to gibson's and it was fantastic! i had the walleye which was so fresh it seemed like it was pulled from a tank in the kitchen. last night--alinea!! we had the tour with wine pairings. we only were able to make it through 18 courses (instead of 24). i was totally expecting to pay the full price for the 24 course tour, but they charged us with an "abbreviated" tour. pleasant surprise! the service was impeccable. the young sommelier is outstanding. tonight--le colonial, tomorrow--les nomades. i'll keep you posted--and i LOVE chicago!!!