Bistro Campagne - 2 x 15 minute cab ride - worth it?
Staying in Mag Mile area...I've made dinner reservations at Bistro Campagne, but now realize it is at least a 15 minute cab ride to and from. Is it worth the time and cost of the ride? If it is, then we'll give it a try. Or, do you have a suggestion for another really good, comfortable French bistro closer to the Mile?
There are many French bistros closer than 4500 N. Lincoln, and you might hear tell of Bistro Zinc and Bistro 110, both nearby Mag Mile. But if the choice were between those 2 and Bistro Campagne + cab, I would keep my reservation. Also closer by, however, and restaurants that I would choose over BC + cab would be La Sardine, Brasserie Jo, and Kiki's, in that order. You could probably walk to BJ, and the other two are on the fringes of downtown, and would probably require a short cab, unless you were a pretty good walker.
Yes, we do have quite a few nice French bistros, including the ones named by jbw. If you happen to be around Lincoln Square, Bistro Campagne is a good choice. However, if you're on the Mag Mile, I really don't think it's worth the time and expense of the cab ride. (You can also get there via el, which takes more time but less money.)
Bistro 110 is right on the Mag Mile, and I think it's very nice; even though it's upstairs inside a modern building, its series of small rooms and French doors create an intimate "bistro feel". And the food is quite good - as good as Bistro Campagne and the others, IMHO.
Kiki's, Brasserie Jo, and La Sardine, mentioned by jbw are also quite good, but vary in distance from the Mag Mile, especially depending on where you're staying along that stretch of North Michigan Avenue. Kiki's and Brasserie Jo are both easily walkable; Kiki's is at 900 N. Franklin, a half mile west of the north end of the Mag Mile, and Brasserie Jo is at 59 W. Hubbard, a quarter mile west of the south end of the Mag Mile. La Sardine is along the "Randolph Street corridor" in the West Loop, a bit over a mile west of the south end of the Mag Mile, so it's the furthest (and least walkable) of this group. I haven't been to Bistrot Zinc, which is on State Street a quarter mile from the north end of the Mag Mile.
Bistro Campagne - www.bistrocampagne.com
Bistro 110 - www.levyrestaurants.com
Kiki's - www.kikisbistro.com
Brasserie Jo - www.brasseriejo.com
La Sardine - www.lasardine.com
Bistrot Zinc - www.bistrotzinc.com
Minor note: La Sardine is at 111 N. Carpenter, about a mile west of Michigan in the Fulton Market area. Its sister restaurant Le Bouchon is in Wicker Park.
By the way, it's been some time since I've been to Bistro 110 (I used to go fairly frequently, and I always liked their grilled items), but my last times there I felt somewhat overwhelmed by floods of touristy diners and haven't returned.
Bistro 110's location right off the center of the Mag Mile is both a plus and a minus; a plus in its convenience when you're staying in that area, a minus because, as a result, its clientele tends to have a higher concentration of out-of-town visitors than the others. But I'm a local, and I like it, regardless.
Thanks for the note. ;)
Echoing the others regarding other suggestions.
15 minutes in a cab is a pretty optimistic estimate, 25 is more realistic from the Mag mile.
I live very close to Bistro Campagne, and I like it a lot, but unless you have no traffic (rare), it will be closer to 20-25 minutes each way, and on the way back it might take you some time there to find a cab, unless the restaurant calls one for you. Taking the "L" to Lincoln Square would be more economical, but would take you at least 45 minutes each way (assuming a walk to the L, and switching L lines at Belmont or Fullerton, and then walking to the restaurant).
You could get equally good food and atmosphere at Brasserie Jo or Kiki's Bistro. I've always liked both (slight preference for Kiki's). Both are probably long walks from where you are, but both would be less than 5-minute cab rides.
I don't like Bistro Zinc very much. I used to think it was very good, but I think the quality has declined considerably. I'm also not that big a fan of Bistro 110 . . . for everything you find there, you will be able to find a better version at Brasserie Jo or Kiki's.
Le Bouchon and La Sardine are both excellent. If not for distance, they'd be my first two choices, but they're really not much different in terms of transportation time than Bistro Campagne.
I agree with everybody that the cab ride is longer than 15 minutes and you may be better off with a closer spot, but I differ a little bit about how some of the spots mentioned compare to Bistro Campagne.
I have never been to La Sardine, but I like Campagne better than Brasserie Jo, Bistro 110 and Bistro Zinc. 110 used to be great but has really fallen off in food and service; now it is just overpriced. Zinc is decent but nothing special (though brunch is pretty good). Jo, likewise, is just fine. I think Campagne has better food than any of those three.
I haven't been to Kiki's in three or four years, but it was pretty good. If you don't want to venture into neighborhoods, I would go there of the places mentioned. If you don't mind a shorter cab to bucktown, Le Bouchon is very good. I read here that La Sardine is owned by the same people, which makes me want to go there.
Another option pretty close to Mag Mile but which I have not tried is Cyrano's Bistro. Don't know how others feel about this place. I have heard mixed things.
re: what I want
I agree with what I want right down the line.
The only one of those bistros I would consider comparable to Campagne are Le Sardine and Le Bouchon. They are under the same ownership. Sardine is closer to Michigan Avenue than Bouchon. It is also bigger and less authentically French-bistro-like IMHO, but the food is quite good at both and the only place in the city that I know of that serves blood sausage (an exotic taste I acquired inexplicably many years ago at the late Gare St. Lazar and then in actual Paris).
Zinc and 110 aren't even on the same playing field. Brasserie Jo is ok, but seems more commercial than authentic, somehow. Kikis is also ok, but never knocked my socks off.
What Bistro Campagne offers over the others is its commitment to organic products from sustainable family farms. If that is important to you, it may be worth the travel time.
FYI - I've seen blood sausage on the menu at Cafe BaBaReeba and Cafe Iberico in the past . . . not sure if either still has it. I have also had blood sausage in the past at Blackbird, and I would not be surprised to find it at Avec or the newly opened Publican. And I've also noticed it on some Korean restaurant menus. Just a few thoughts if you still have that craving.