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Jul 29, 2008 02:51 PM

Lunch & dinner recs near Michigan Ave bridge

First visit to Chicago 8.15 - 8.18 after golf at the American Club in Wisconsin. We are staying at the Marriot just north of the bridge and would like any recommendations you might offer for lunch and dinner within walking distance of the hotel. Steakhouses, burgers, Chicago pizza (our benchmark is Pepe's Pizza in New Haven so we'll see ....), Asian, local seafood (lakefood?). Atmosphere, outdoor dining, good libations, minimal kids important; $$s not. How about Rick Bayless places? Distance from the Marriot? Appreciate your help.

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  1. I'm guessing that it's the Marriott at 540 N. Michigan Ave? Or is it the Courtyard by Marriott at 165 E. Ontario? Anyway, they are close by each other :)

    While there is lots to eat around there, you may want to expand your horizons by taking a taxi or our very good public transit. Some of the best places in Chicago are not far from where you are, but not a short walk either.

    Pizza in Chicago is (for the most part) a completely different thing from New Haven Pizza, though there are a few places doing coal oven baking. So leave your expectations at the door, and enjoy it for what it is, not for what it isn't. Plus, there are quite a few different styles of "Chicago Pizza", though you are probably thinking of the Deep Dish style popularized by Uno's franchises around the country. And you can walk to Uno or Due from your hotel as well (I prefer Due, as Uno has been made over to be just like the chain ones - they are across the street from each other).

    Frontera and Topolo by Rick Bayless are walkable, not even 1/2 a mile. You can get reservations at Topolo in advance, you can try to get reservations at Frontera at 8:30 am on the day you wish to eat there. Topolo is also an easy walk-in at lunch, Frontera less so, though it isn't impossible.

    Pizzeria Uno
    29 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

    Frontera Grill
    445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

    Marriott Hotels & Resorts: Chicago Marriott Downtown
    540 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL

    Courtyard by Marriott Magnificent Mile
    165 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL

    2 Replies
    1. re: leek

      Thanks Leek - Marriot @ 540 N MI is right. I well understand there is a fundamental difference between Chicago deep dish and New Haven pizza, hence my interest in finding a good example by which to judge. I am zeroi;ng in in Pizza Due. WIll try your suggestion re Frontera reservation attempt 8:30. The menu at Frontera is more appealing to me than the menu at Topolo. Here's a new query: is the Weber Grill only a tourist trap or can I get a decent lunch there? Thanks in advance for any comment. Looking forward to visiting what is, I assume, your city.

      1. re: 02sbxstr

        Weber isn't really a tourist trap. But they literally cook everything on Weber grills, so if you want burgers, ribs and steaks, it's fine. I actually had a good dinner there one time with a convention group.

        Due is good. It takes at least 90 minutes to eat, if there's no line, though. Keep that in mind.

        If you'd like some good simple French, I recommend Brasserie Jo, which is about three blocks from the hotel. Tuesday nights they have free, and very good, pizza at the bar during happy hour. Go early, have a beer and munch some pizza before dinner.

        As Ferret said, Quartino is nearby and I really enjoy that place. Good wine, nice simple Italian food, very festive. I also really love Cafe Iberico, a cheap tapas place at Chicago and LaSalle, about a 15 minute walk.

        If you're very, very rich, Joe's Stone Crab is right across from the rear entrance to the Marriott. I ate at the Miami one and loved it, and this one is supposedly as good.

        Also very pricey, Spiaggia and Spiaggia Cafe near the hotel are both among the best in Chicago.

        There's so much near there that I just scratched the surface.

    2. Quartino's at State & Ontario is a nice choice for lunch (also good for dinner). It's more of a tapas-style Italian place. The food is great, there's also a salumeria/bar menu from which you can order cured meats, cheeses and olives -- great for appetizers and the numerous wines they offer can be had in half & quarter carafes, if you want to try several.

      1. Fulton's on the River is a nice place with few kids, good food and drinks, and one of the rare places actually on the river. A personal favorite is La Madia on Grand (i believe). Not as near, but absolutely Wonderful thin crust pizzas with only the finest toppings and more than extensive wine list.

        1. At the Michigan Ave Bridge, Wendella offers water taxi service. Usually, during the week, this just entails service between Michigan Avenue and the train station, however, just recently, they have started service to Chinatown. It is only offered on Saturday, but it is a unique way to get from point A to point B. An all day pass will only set you back four bucks.

          Lao Sze Chuan, Phoenix and Little Three Happiness are all usual recommendations.

          Find more info on the water taxi's here:

          Lao Sze Chuan: