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Sep 18, 2008 07:35 AM

In a rut, can anyone suggest something nice for a birthday?

Looking for a good place to go for dinner for my wife's 30th / my 32nd (are only a couple days apart, in early november).

Considered alinea, but it's not what we're looking for (think "real food" instead of "essence of food") and is more than we want to spend. I'd say the price range is $125 / person or under, including wine. Is there anyone doing a 5-course prix fixe menu or something like that?

Was thinking maybe Blackbird since we've never been. The tasting menu is pushing it on price; the regular menu would definitely be in line. I suppose going to avec and going apeshit would also be an alternative :)

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  1. Copperblue does a 5-course tasting menu for $65 and 7-course for $85, before tax & drinks. We've done the 5-course a few times and it has been excellent. Let the Chef select the wine pairings. You will not regret it.

    1. I took my bf out for a birthday dinner at Arun's last year. It was great, a little out of the way but different and kind of fun. The prix fixe was $90, I think? Not new, but not a place that you go all the time.

      1 Reply
      1. re: basilb

        Consider Mercat a la Planxa in the Blackstone Hotel. Chef's selection is excellent way to try many dishes and it runs $55.00 per person not including wines (but wine pairing available).

      2. Well if you have not eaten at North Pond, you should consider it as it has to be one of the most beautiful settings for a restaurant in the heart of the city by the lake and a great chef and wonderful food within your price range. Check out their web site at My wife and I just celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary there and we were very delighted to say the least. They also permit bringing in one bottle of wine with a $25.00 corkage so I opted to bring a E. Guigal Chateauneuf Du Pape which had won many honors. Our waiter was so happy I included him in our tasting that he waived the corkage fee so our dinner cost about $135.00 for both of us less tip. Note for all readers - try calling ahead to any fine restaurant to see if they will let you bring in your own wine and if so what the corkage fee is as you are usually much better off bringing your own wine. And by checking menus on line you can get a good idea about the entree you are interested in so that you can bring the appropriate wine. Good luck on your birthdays. Don

        1. Blackbird is a great idea. The last two meals I've had there have been among the best. The pork belly (however prepared) is always a great option. Not sure what the menu will look like in November, but it's hard to get a less than excellent meal there. It's easy top keep your bill under $125 with the regular menu but depends heavily on your drinking preferences. Happy (upcoming) birthday.

          1. If you like real Thai food I would say you get the most bang for your buck at Arun's. It is still 1 of the best meals of my life. So much good food as to be almost too much....if there was such a thing. Really a beautifully appointed dining room and food to remember. It was also inexpensive compared to other top notch chicago eateries...take it from a's worth a trip.