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Mar 18, 2008 07:57 PM

Rec's needed for visiting 19 year olds

My niece and her friend (who live in a town where the only restaurants are Golden Corral and Chili's) will be visiting for a weekend in the beginning of June and I am looking for help to pick the best places to take them. They are willing to try just about anything but are not into Mexican food. Obviously, drinks are not an issue for them but my husband and I love a good cocktail or glass of wine. Here is the tenative plan- please let me know any thoughts or suggestions.

Friday- Hugo's Frog Bar (looking for dinner downtown- someplace young with great food in a lively neighborhood willing to spend a bit of money)

Saturday- Penny's Noodles (looking for a less expensive dinner- not downtown- new food for them to try)

Sunday- Shui Wah for Dim Sum (new experience for them- neither have had Dim Sum or visited a cities Chinatown)
Lou Malnati's (I felt we had to do one pizza meal)

Monday- Tango Sur (looking for inexpensive dinner- again something new for them)

Thanks for all the help.

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  1. Skip Penny's. I would head to either TAC Quick or Spoon Thai instead (for you and your husband, both are BYO).

    1. If you want a new experience and they are ok with spicy food, take them to Devon Ave for some Indian/Pakistani food. Just look for a place that is clean enough for your tastes and with a lot of locals.

      1. Are they not into Taco Bell, or Mexican food? There is a big difference. You might want to take them to one of the upscale places for better Mexican food, like Adobo Grill or Frontera. Just a thought stemming from the fact that they only have Golden Corral and chili's where they live. They obviously do not have decent Mexican food, either.

        How about Greektown, too?

        1. I think you've got a great plan, to see different parts of the city and to experience a variety of cuisines during your stay.

          I agree with the feedback above...

          I agree with jesteinf, take TAC Quick rather than Penny's Noodles, for more authentic Thai food.

          I agree with gordeaux that they have probably not been exposed to creative, provincial Mexican food like you can get in Chicago. Take a look at the menus (on their websites) for Frontera Grill/Topolobampo ( ) or Salpicon ( ) to get a better idea. (Note that Frontera Grill does not accept advance reservations, except a few same-day reservations first thing in the morning.) Another Latin American option would be the "Latin fusion" restaurants like Cuatro ( ). And an even more unusual option is the Latin-Indian food at Vermilion ( ). So you might substitute any of these for Tango Sur.

          I also agree with gordeaux that Greek food in Greek Town is a great option to expose them to another cuisine. It's always fun to order the saganaki and see the flames soaring from the dish. If you like, you could possibly work this in for a lunch. For recommendations, see

          One other thought, since you are trying to expose them to new and different foods, you might want to substitute a different place for Hugo's. Please understand, I love Hugo's and I think it's great, especially since it has so much to offer seafood-lovers as well as steak-lovers. However, it's not all that unusual and is similar to steak-and-seafood restaurants you can find in most cities. For your somewhat-more-expensive meal, you might want to substitute a contemporary American restaurant rather than Hugo's. For example, such places in River North (lively neighborhood) include Naha ( ), Aigre Doux ( ), and MK ( ).

          As you can see, choosing restaurants in Chicago is difficult because there are always many more choices and options than you can fit into a brief (or even an extended) trip.

          P.S. Lou Malnati's is a great choice for pizza!