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Need opinions please!

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Will be in Chicago 5/6-5/8. Will be staying at Sutton Place Hotel. Have been reviewing boards and other materials and am leaning toward the following places for dinner: Hopleaf, Haray Caray's Italian Steakhouse, Cafe Spiaggia. Need to pick two out of the three, but am hopelessly deadlocked. Also could use some recs. for lunch places in/near Water Tower Place and loop area. $$$ not an issue, but I love going to the local faves when in a different city.

On an off-note- which tall building to gawk from: Sears Tower or Hancock?

Thanks much.

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  1. Make Cafe Spiaggia a definite on your list. For a great relaxed lunch within walking distance to Water Tower, check out Dublins on State.

    1. spiaggia and hopleaf if I had to choose between those three.
      Lunch for loop / water tower for a visitor who is looking for a local favorite?
      Look in a pizza thread.
      Building to gawk from: Hancock.

      Curious - How did you come to those three restaurants?

      1 Reply
      1. re: gordeaux

        Note that the OP mentioned Cafe Spiaggia, the moderately-priced casual Italian restaurant, and not Spiaggia, its sister restaurant next door, which is very expensive and dressy (but excellent).

      2. Hopleaf is a good drinking place, and their mussels are great. However, for a complete dinner with great food, I'd go elsewhere (especially considering the geography). Cafe Spiaggia is a great choice for casual Italian food. I haven't been to Harry Caray's, but there are a lot of great steakhouses in town (see www.chowhound.com/topics/359377). Gibson's and Morton's are right near your hotel, and Saloon isn't far.

        For lunch places near Water Tower Place, I suggest deep-dish pizza, either double-crust "stuffed" pizza at Giordano's on Rush Street ( www.giordanos.com ) or single-crust "pan" pizza at Pizano's on State ( www.pizanoschicago.com ). Call ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes for it to bake while you're seated.

        Another lunch choice in the area is Bistro 110 for French bistro food ( www.levyrestaurants.com ). And the steakhouses and Cafe Spiaggia are open for lunch, if you'd like to switch your lunch and dinner choices. You can get good Cajun food at Heaven on Seven ( www.heavenonseven.com ) with locations on Rush near Water Tower Place and on Wabash in the Loop. In the Loop, I like Atwood Cafe for upscale American ( www.atwoodcafe.com ) and Vivere for Italian ( www.vivere-chicago.com ) but if you're also eating at Cafe Spiaggia, Italian would be redundant. At the south end of the Loop, Custom House ( www.customhouse.cc ) is open for lunch, for contemporary American food. Giordano's and Pizano's also have locations in the Loop for pizza at lunch.

        To gawk, go to the Signature Room at the top of the Hancock Building and have a drink in the bar, rather than paying an admission charge elsewhere. www.signatureroom.com

        For breakfast, go to the Original Pancake House right across the street from your hotel. I particularly recommend the puffed-up, cinnamony apple pancake. www.originalpancakehouse.com