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Apr 3, 2008 05:55 PM

Designer / Trendy hotspots near River North

Hey Chicago Chowhounds, I need some advice!

I'm coming in from out of town and have to take a bunch of clients out for dinner in June. They are the "trendy/artsy" type so I'm looking for whatever the latest hotspot is around River North. Fun food, artsy/trendy vibe, not a steakhouse or sushi, good food is positive, though with this group style outweighs substance.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


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  1. In River North, maybe Brasserie Ruhlmann, Japonais (i know you said no sushi but they also offer good non-sushi options), Nacional 27 or Zealous?
    The last two are not recent hotspots but I think they have a great balance of good food and decor/atmosphere.

    1. You might consider Thalia Spice on Chicago Ave. It's trendy and pan-Asian. That being said, what they do well is Thai. They do have sushi, but I wouldn't bother with it.

      1. I'm probably too old at this point to be reliable about trendy : )

        But based on the suggestions of many on this board, I made my first trip to Quartino for a dinner during my last trip to town on some business. (Thanks to everyone, it was good.)

        The small plate thing might be fun for a larger group. There's plenty of room for a bigger group. Plenty of buzz in the room (it can be loud), kitchen is open later, pretty stylish, at least to my eye. Here's the link.

        1. I would strongly recommend De La Costa - I think it's a great scene for those who are interested in such things! The menu describes the food as "inspired Coastal Latin Cuisine."

          2 Replies
          1. re: jn2001

            Brasserie Ruhlmann, Japonais and De La Costa are good choices. I'd add 16, which recently opened in the new Trump hotel/condos on Wabash.

            1. re: jn2001

              I would second De La Costa largely because of the decor and location. I've only had drinks there so I can't vouch for the food. The decor reminds me of a Latin twist on a Tim Burton movie. The location is in the River East Art Center, which is a beautiful, trendy space to walk around before dinner.

            2. If you interested in "designer/trendy" as in haute couture, particularly a la milanese, check out La Follia here:


              Food is traditional Northern Italian, but good.