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?
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.
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