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Jun 4, 2008 02:07 PM

Need fun, delicious dinner near the Mart

There will be 8 of us attending Neocon and I need to make the reservations soon. Coming from San Francisco, we would like places that are unique to Chicago. Since it's company paid, price isn't so much an issue, but we don't want to go anywhere stuffy or too upscale. Our palates are very diverse, so we are really open to anything. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Coco Pazzo
    Tizi Meloul
    Brasserie Jo
    Graham Elliot (might be too upscale?)
    It's not particularly convenient to the Mart, but Mercat a la Planxa is a great bet on Michigan Avenue near the Art Institute

    1. Coco Pazzo is good (I've had lunch but not dinner). But (in my humble opinion) Carnivale is overhyped.

      Avec would be good for a large group. Great chef, family style.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sharris76

        During the week you might be able to get away with a group of 8 at Avec. If you go on a weekend you are taking a major, major chance going with such a large party.

        Also, Avec is small plates...not family style.

      2. Tizi Melloul -- hands down. Avec is great but they don't take resos and the wait can be long. Carnival feels manufactured and yes, overhyped. Brasserie Jo is fine, but nothing special. Love Coco Pazzo but its a lot of older people in sports coats -- not exactly fun. Tizi has great design which the neocon folks love and you can request a belly dancer to dance for your group if you want to up the fun quotient. They have a regular dining room with the a la cart menu and a smaller dining room you can rent out for larger groups (or if you have the budget) which serves a family-style menu.

        1. Aigre Doux is an outstanding restaurant and right across from the Merchandise Mart. Open for both lunch and dinner.