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Four Hip Girls - Night on the Town; 2 NYers

I have two girls visiting for a girl's weekend from NYC, one girl that is local to CH on a budget and myself - local to CH, no budget. We're in our mid/late 20s and will be going out on Saturday, Sept 6th. We want a prime time reservation (8 pm) at a hip place that serves great food, but could work for the girl that is on a budget. I booked a table at Table 52 but am rethinking that reservation due to the budget and the crowd that it apparently attracts (a bit older?), although it will still stay on my list of places to eat in our great city. My main goal is to show the NYers that we have a great restaurant scene here while staying within a relatively reasonable budget range.

My personal favorites (though definitely out of the price range for this group): Naha, Aigre Doux. I like Avec but will in no way wait that long for a table on a Saturday night. Just went to Otom, which was decent, but would like to try something new.

Neighborhoods: Loop, West / South Loop, River North, Near North, Bucktown / Wicker Park. I'd like to not go as far north as Lincoln Park or really south in the South Loop if possible.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Time is slightly of the essence here, as I'd like to be able to snag a reservation as soon as possible due to the popular day/time slot that I'm looking for.

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  1. I forgot to add a very important detail - No Mexican or Sushi (although Japanese is fine as long as the restaurant has great dishes that aren't sushi on the menu as well). Thanks in advance!!!

    1. How about Think? It's BYOB and excellent food. They take reservations. It's not the best location, but fun for a girls dinner.

      1. for budget, hipness, and needing to be seen, although there IS sushi (not sure if the aversion is uncooked fish) but it's kind of known for cooked fish "fashion rolls," maybe Butterfly would fit the bill? It's a sushi / thai joint with thai standards, and some pretty good sushi I must say. Not sure if the thai offerings are that great, but it's byob, and not pricey. Also, it's loud, boisterous, tight, and full of people looking like they are there to try and get noticed. Dancing in the back, loud music, birthday singing all over the place, people cracking beers in the doorway while waiting for their table. I liked it - the hordes of drunk girls in ultra mini skirts didn't hurt. :-)

        1. I don't know how constrained your budget is but what about Sepia, Mercat, Perennial, or May St Market? I haven't been to Mado but I read about it the other day and it sounded interesting.

          1. What about one of the wine bars that serve good food as well as wine?
            Bin on Milwaukee in Bucktown/Wicker Park comes to mind
            Volo in Roscoe Village is another idea
            Webster Wine Bar is also very good
            There's also the Tasting Room on West Randolph, but I can't remember what the food is like.