Hi all --
I am going to Chicago for a legal writing conference on Monday night into Tuesday and have never been there before (coming from Madison, WI). I am especially interested in eating at excellent Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai or Indian places in the Chicago area. I am staying in the Gold Coast area, but I am willing to travel at night.
Here's the deal -- I will be there for two nights. Money is important, but I can splurge on at least one meal. Tell me your absolute favorite, cannot-miss-it places where I can get GREAT ethnic food.
PS -- if any Chicagoans want to meet me for dinner on Monday or Tuesday night, I am game if you are.
Here are a few of my own favorite ethnic finds in Chicago:
Vietnamese: take the CTA red line up to the Argyle stop (or the 36 Broadway bus) and get some good Vietnamese food. Some options:
A great Thai choice:
Tac Quick (red line, Sheridan stop)
A great Japanese choice:
Sunshine Cafe (take the 22 Clark Street bus)
None of these are splurges, but they're good!
3930 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60613
Pho Xe Tang (Tank Noodle)
4953 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640
5449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
1065 W Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640
TAC Quick is excellent authentic Thai. If you're staying gold coast, pick up a bottle of riesling at Chalet Wine on Delaware or at Binny's on Clark on your way up there.... very chow-friendly BYOB policy.
The best Vietnamese in Chicago I think is Cafe Hoang (they have 2 locations...one in Argyle: 1010 W. Argyle and one in Chinatown: 232 W. Cermak) or Hai Yen (1055 W. Argyle). Cafe Hoang is known for it's spicy beef noodles (Bun Bo Hue), duck salad, and their porkchops are fabulous! Hai Yen is famous for their 7 course beef dish however most of their menu is pretty good.
For my upcoming visit, can anyone who has been to Thailand give me an idea how really "authentic" the spicing/seasoning is at the restaurants listed in the above thread on Thai restaurants? I'm from the SF Bay Area, and most of ours tend to be too sweet and not properly spicy or pungent. I love the food in Thailand!
If you can say "I love the food in Thailand" in Thai, you'll probably have the best luck ;) Most of our recommended places (TAC, Spoon Thai, Sticky Rice, etc) are pretty authentic. It's not necessarily about "rip your nose off" heat, but the balance of different flavors: hot, sweet, sour, bitter, etc.
Since no one has mentioned any Indian restaurants, I'll just point out that there are many of these along Devon Avenue (6400N) between Western (2400W) and Sacramento (3000W). I've been to several of them but there isn't any particular one I would recommend over the others.
Enjoy your visit!
It might be too late, but if not --- I got several recommendations for Indian food in this thread:
We ended up eating snacks in various shops, so I don't have a personal recommendation to add to the list. (If you go this route, I liked Sukhadia's Sweets for the selection and atmosphere.)