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Apr 10, 2008 11:26 AM

Veggie and foodie friendly, downtown?

A few friends and I will be spontaneously getting together this weekend in Chicago. A few of us were hoping to take advantage of the great dining scene, but there are a couple of vegetarians in the mix as well. I was wondering if anyone could suggest a few restaurants that might accommodate us all.

We were thinking of Green Zebra, but I'm doubtful that reservations will work out there on such short notice. We're open to anything from casual to fine dining so long as the food is good and there are a couple of vegetarian options. (As much as I'd personally love to do something like Blackbird, the vegetarians would probably like more than one selection.) A good wine list or beer selection is also a plus. Any other ideas?

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  1. Reza's
    casual, full bar. nice kebabs (dark meat chicken kebabs for me, please)
    Mid eastern fare for the veggies.

    It's an old stanby of mine

    1. May Street Market -
      I have been there several times with Vegetarian friends and they have a much better veggie selection than most.

      Mercat a la Plancha -
      Have not been there yet, but will be tonight with a vegetarian couple. This looks quite good and reports have been positive. Catalonian Tapas. Just opened in the last month or two.

      2 Replies
      1. re: wak

        Mercat could be a great choice! Tapas are always fun for a group. You can order a bunch of small plates so there will be a variety of things for both the vegetarians and meat eaters.

        1. re: jazspin

          Mercat was outstanding. Great service. Gorgeous presentations. Very cool room and bar. And fabulous food. Everything we ordered was top knotch. There were plenty of vegetarian options as well.

          I will say that it is much different from the more traditional tapas restaurants in chicago (Babareeba, Iberico, Emilios). They take their inspiration from Catalan which leads to much different dishes. Also, its more costly than the others. With two mid-priced bottles of wine we came to about $90 each for four - ordering about 3 tapas and one dessert each. We felt it was worth it. There was not a bad dish among those we ordered.

      2. As a vegetarian myself, I absolutely love Quartino ( It is perfect for groups and the wine list has a great Italian selection at reasonable prices. You will definitely need reservations for the weekend.

        Green Zebra consistently impresses me as well as my vegetarian dinner companions. The current menu is one of best I've seen there in a long time! However, in my experience, non-vegetarians are not always as impressed with the food.

        India House is one of my favorite Indian restaurants in Chicago. It is downtown, upscale, and certainly vegetarian friendly.