First Chicago trip
I will be staying in Chicago on the magnificent mile in a couple weeks and am looking for some good restaurant recommendations. I don't know the city at all but we are happy to cab to different areas for dinner. It's for a group of about 8 people in our 30's and budget is not a concern. We would like great food with a social atmosphere. One night we would like to eat Italian but am flexible on the rest. We have 3 nights and would probably like high end for 2 of the nights and then something a little more casual/neighbourhoody for the 3rd.
Any suggestions? I was considering Spiagga for our Italian option but would love some other recommendations.
Italian is not a favorite of mine, so I can't comment, but I have some recommendations for the other nights:
-Casual, in Old Town, near Second City if you wanted to take a show, interesting neighborhood. Pork dish is fabulous. Service was excellent. Little crowded.
-The high end version of Salpicon (the chef of Salpicon used to work for Rick Bayless, Topolo's owner). Great decor. Mole tasting menu was everything that you could want and then some. Good service.
Les Nomades; http://www.lesnomades.net/lesnomades2/homecenter.htm
-Awful decor, but good french food. Dessert was to die for. Fixed menu. Dress code -- jackets for men.
Yoshi's Cafe; http://www.yoshiscafe.com/yoshiscafe/
-Casual. Great food, laid back atmosphere. Owners are wonderful. Service is good.
You should also hit up the signature lounge at the Hancock Building for drinks (http://www.signatureroom.com/). Great views of the city, especially at night (and especially in the restrooms --seriously). I've heard that the dining is decent too, but I have only been there for drinks.
I think that Spiaggia would be a great choice for your Italian/fine dining night out!
For more casual, I have a few recommendations:
Urban Belly - a small dumpling/noodle shop
This place is a long cab ride from the mag mile (perhaps 15+ minutes) has communal seating at four large tables, and gets crowded fast. However, you MIGHT be able to call ahead for your large group (not sure, I've never done it), it's BYOB, and the food is awesome.
Sweets and Savories
To me, this place is really great food in a comfortable and casual environment. Still a cab ride from your home base, but well worth it, in my opinion.
Argyle & Broadway area:
This area on the north side of the city is about a 15 minute ride on the CTA red line from the Michigan Avenue area to the Argyle stop. There are a lot of Vietnamese/Asian restaurants here - my favorites are Sun Wah and Tank Noodle (Pho Xe Tang), which are both on Argyle right by the el stop.
For fine dining, I would recommend Blackbird: