Recommendation Near Art Institute?
We have afternoon tickets for the Hopper exhibit at the Art Institute on a day the museum is open late. If there's just too much to see in the museum, we'd like to take a break for dinner and then return to finish the museum.
Any suggestions for places to eat within walking distance of the museum? I've been following all the posts on this site and it's hard to tell where they are and how convenient they would be to the museum. I want a good meal, but don't want to spend considerable time getting there.
Also, any feedback on options within the museum? thanks.
You should definitely get tickets in advance. When we went to see the exhibit, it was quite crowded. The ticket, by the way, will also get you into the Winslow Homer exhibit, which is equally good, so leave plenty of time.
As for food, Park Grille, the Gage and Russian Tea Time are all excellent. The Gage can get a bit noisy if you get seated in the front dining room. I'd also suggest Mercat a la Planxa, a very new, upscale tapas restaurant. It's about four blocks away (the 600 block of south Michigan), or a 10 minute walk south of the Art Institute right on Michigan Ave. It's been getting generally very favorable reviews, and I liked it quite a bit. Also, all of these restaurants are quite popular becuase of their location, so either make a reservation, or be prepared to wait.
nsxtasy is totally right in terms of what's around, but out of all that s/he mentioned, i'd recommend pizano's. park grill is alarmingly tourist-y and as such, they don't seem very determined to make their diners happy, as most of them will never have the occasion to be back. the gage is a fine restaurant, but very dark, very noisy, and very expensive for food I've found to be underwhelming. In my view, they're expensive because their location allows them - and perhaps even forces them - to be, not because the food is anything exceptional.
At Pizano's, you'll get a comfortable atmosphere, some really fresh pizza - the crust is buttery and flaky, the cheese always fresh-tasting - and you won't have spent an outrageous amount of money.
it's also just (dare i say it?) fun.
I guess my experience at Park Grill has been different. The times I've eaten there, I've found consistently good food and good service, and it's reasonably priced considering the downtown location and the nice bistro type atmosphere. And you can get anything from a burger to a complete dinner there. I'm not sure what "tourist-y" means unless it means high prices for bad food, in which case I don't think Park Grill is tourist-y at all.
As for the Gage, because the atmosphere is bar/pub, I think it depends on how much you're looking for that atmosphere (and/or an extensive microbrew selection) rather than strictly a restaurant.
If you are interested in trying something a bit out of the mainstream in cuisine & only 1/2 block from the Art Institute, I'd recommend Russian Tea Time, which is on Adams St. just west of Michigan Ave. As it's name suggests, it features Russian/ Slavic food. Prices are moderate.
Here are three good options within a couple of blocks walk from the museum's main entrance:
Park Grill is just north of the museum, in Millennium Park. It's a nice American bistro type place. They serve everything from burgers to full dinners. The food and service are quite good, in my visits there. www.parkgrillchicago.com
Pizano's is on Madison, also just north of the museum. They have delicious, authentic Chicago deep-dish pizza. www.pizanoschicago.com
The Gage is on Michigan Avenue, across the street from the museum just north of the main entrance. It's a gastropub with a full menu as well as a bazillion beers to choose from. www.thegagechicago.com
Enjoy your visit!