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May 28, 2008 12:57 PM

Dinner for 2 - $150?

In town early July and looking to spend an evening out with my wife and leave the baby with a sitter. Hearing lots of good things about Chicago food - any must tries?

We are open and will try anything; we tend to do italian and bistro type places a lot and we don't drink...any suggestions?

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  1. Search for reviews here on Mercat a la Planxa which opened in just a few months ago. It specializes in Spanish tapas and the Chef's Choice will give you an extensive variety of dishes for $55 per person. Located in the recently restored Blackstone Hotel on South Michigan Avenue. Not a far walk from Millenium Park

    1. What area specifically?

      If you like Italian, I highly recommend Cafe Spiaggia:

      980 North Michigan Avenue (near the Hancock Building)

      1. It's not Italian but my husband still talks about it from when we went for our anniversary dinner to Rick Bayless's frontera grill. I'm sure his other restaurant Topolobampo would be just as delicious as well.

        1. I think Mercat a la Planxa and Cafe Spiaggia are great suggestions. Also Coco Pazzo for Italian. Mercat is wonderful, although maybe a little different than the bistro type places you mention. It's a big, almost loft like room, with 30 foot ceilings, overlooking Grant Park on Michigan avenue. But its a fun experience, maybe a younger crowd than you would find at the Italian places, and the food is outstanding. So if you're looking for something a little different, that would be my choice. I'd suggest the grilled lamb, ham croquettes, patatas bravas, pimento patron, artichoke flatbread, and crispy crab rice dish - although I've never had anything bad there. Our meals have all been around $100 a person, but that includes wine, so you should be fine.

          Regarding Italian, I love the pastas at Coco Pazzo, but think Cafe Spiaggia gets the nod when it comes to meat and fish dishes, although the menu is a limited. Make sure you don't confuse it with the main Spaiggia restaurant which is excellent, but a very formal, high end alterternative.