HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >


Chicago Recommendations.

Hello! My wife and I just moved to Chicago about a month ago. We've already been to some restaurants, but I'm looking for a good place to take my parents to when they visit a couple of weeks from now.
I'm juggling a number of names already. We were in Naha once but didn't have dinner, we just caught up with some friends who dined there to have an after dinner drink, but it seemed like a nice place to eat at. Plus, our friends said only good things about their experience.
Anyway, my parents are really contemporary (I mean they're not traditional nor conservative at all), they're 55 and 50 (so you can get the picture), and we all mainly like unpretentious places, good food, nothing too fancy or classy (at least nothing that falls into snob), and a good environment and ambience (no low conversation, piano or sax music or anything boring).
Another place I'm considering is Takashi.
We've already been to (and liked) Sushi Wabi, Meiji, Le Colonial and Riccardo Trattoria. And my parents have been to Coco Pazzo, Le Colonial, Tru, Gibsons and others in their previous visits to Chicago.
Oh, I almost forgot, money... We're looking for something reasonably priced. Meaning no Charlie Trotter's, Alinea, Tru, Les Nomades, et al. Let's stick to the 50-70$ p/pax (w/out wine) ballpark.

So, it's pretty much the impossible mix, cool/good/price, but I'm sure that Chicago has it and you guys can help me.



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Frontera Grill and Topolobampo are good choices if you like Mexican. Try to make reservations asap, though. And my sister recently tried Mercat a la Planxa, which is supposed to be great for tapas.

    2 Replies
    1. re: carriet

      Thanks! I forgot to mention that we are Mexicans, hahaha... so those are automatically discarded. Any others?

      Thanks again!

      1. re: topawers

        Don't discard Mercat so quickly. It is not mexican. It is a tapas place.

    2. I really like Aigre Doux and Naha, both in River North and in the casual fine dining. Both lean mediteranean and you will not be disappointed (search my other posts for these two and chowhound "nsxtasy" for great info on tons of chicago finds).

      For a little off the beaten path, my family always likes to shoot over to little italy for the original Rosebud.

      1. Check out the recent reviews here for Mercat a la Planxa. I believe that this would fit in well with your price range, cool atmosphere and quality food. The I believe that the tapas tasting with wine parings is right around $70 and they also offer a roasted pig for a party of 4 or more people for $42 per person. Its located in the Blackstone hotel. Comfortable, not snobby or stuffy but upbeat and fun.

        1. what about West Town Tavern? I didn't get to go when I was in Chicago but it fits into all your criteria. It might be lower than your price range, I don't know if that's a good or bad thing for you.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CookieEater

            West Town Tavern looks great, as does Sweets and Savories.
            Any of you guys can give me word on Takashi, Avec and Boka?

          2. Give Sweets & Savories a look. They've got a $29 prix fixe thru July:


            2 Replies
            1. re: jbw

              what's included in this prix fixe?

              1. re: phr208

                It's a special 3-course menu, with 3 or 4 selections for app, entree, and dessert. The selections are off of the main menu, and when we were there some of there specialties were included; i.e., Kobe burger, bread pudding. In general, we found it to be a great value.

            2. The Gage is a good choice. Nice varied menu, not inexpensive but also not too high. It's also right across from Millenium Park so you can walk off dinner.

              1. West Town Tavern looks great, as does Sweets and Savories.
                Any of you guys can give me word on Takashi, Avec and Boka?

                5 Replies
                1. re: topawers

                  avec is still the best casual restaurant in chicago. price range is what you're looking for

                  1. re: topawers

                    Have yet to eat at Takashi, but I ate at his restaurant, Tribute, in the Detroit area a few times. It was phenomenal.

                    1. re: topawers

                      I ate at Takaski just a couple of weeks ago. The food was excellent. The prices were not over the top. My only comment would be to skip dessert and instead go up the street to Hot Chocolate.

                      Hot Chocolate is also delightful, but I prefer it for lunch or brunch.

                      1. re: chicgail

                        Just out of curiosity how much did you pay at Takashi?
                        And speaking about lunch, do you know any nice (casual) lunch spots for a Saturday afternoon? Preferably around the downtown area (Gold Coast, Streeterville, River North...)

                        1. re: topawers

                          I think Takashi was somewhere between $110 - 130 for the two of us for appetizers and entrees with a couple of glasses of wine and desserts (that we wouldn't order again).

                    2. I throw in my vote for Mercat. It fits in well with the previous places you mentioned, and combines the environment/hipness/cuisine combo, although it will fall into the top end of your price range, and likely less than Naha would be. It's in a big, almost loft like room in an old Chicago Hotel overlooking Grant Park. Very stylishly designed with an excellent variety of tapas. I like the small plate format since it gives everyone the chance to sample all the dishes, and of the 20 or so dishes I have tried all were at least good and many outstanding. Service is also quite good.

                      Alternately, Sweets and Savories is much more casual but another good choice.