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Oct 31, 2008 01:50 PM

Nice dinner not far from Algonquin

Birthday dinner coming up and trying to think of a new place. Am in Algonquin and don't want to go to the city or drive more than about half hour. Right now considering Montarra, around the corner, and good food. Thinking steak and/or French.


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  1. Right about at that half hour limit, I can heartily recommend:

    Le Titi de Paris (Arlington Heights) -

    20-25 minutes away, I also recommend:

    Le Vichyssois (Lakemoor) -

    Closer to Algonquin, I've heard good things about, but haven't yet tried:

    Barrington Country Bistro (Barrington) -
    1776 (Crystal Lake) -

    You can find additional recommendations in these topics:

    3 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      We have enjoyed our 2 visits to 1776 but living 50 miles away, we aren't in that area very often. We enjoy things like their wild mushroom soup, wonderful vegetarian options, their use of local grown seasonal produce and great meat and fish options. Go to the website listed above for the menu. They also have wine tasting dinners and tapas nights. I grew up in Algonquin and every now and then like returning to Port Edward along the Fox River. I know some complain it's out of date but I like the quirky little niche seating, the views of the River and things like Shrimp de Jonge, Conch Chowder and pretzel encrusted Walleye. I haven't had it in years but Lobster Edwardo, which is deep fried is pretty good too.

      1. re: LikestoEatout

        I've been to Port Edward twice in the past two years; its omission from my recommendations was deliberate. I don't mind the old-fashioned atmosphere (and the "boat table" is still amusing, although it's too cramped to reserve it for a special occasion). However, I found it generally disappointing compared with the preparations offered by the better seafood restaurants around today (Mitchell's Fish Market in Glenview, Reel Club in Oak Brook, or even the somewhat more pedestrian Shaw's Crab House in Schaumburg). In particular, if you go, I suggest avoiding their big dinner buffet.

      2. re: nsxtasy

        Chessie's Restaurant (847-382-5020) has just reopened in the Ice House in downtown Barrington. I like that setting better than the Barrington Country Bistro...the old Ice House is a more attractive setting, and the new management seems to be trying, with an interesting menu.

      3. I am in Algonquin as well. I think it is difficult to go wrong with Montarra. We have never been disappointed there.

        3 Replies
        1. re: giveittomikey

          I've been to all of the above mentioned places, all are good, tho I'd hesitate about Port Edward. I rechecked Montarra's menu and prices and they seem to have gone up, but not out of the question. The one time I was at Barr Country Bistro it was not long after it opened, and I think I was sick, so had an ok meal but don't remember it too well. Le Titi and Vichy we have been to numerous times and enjoyed all. 1776 as well, and just found out my daughter's boyfriends step-dad used to be chef there. Anyway, keep the suggestions coming-- still trying to think of somewhere I haven't been...

          1. re: aviva1

            If you're willing stretch your travel time to roughly 45 minutes or so, here are two more suggestions:

            Michael (Winnetka) -
            Vie (Western Springs) -

            Both are more contemporary American than strictly French. I've been to Michael several times in the past couple of years, and it has consistently served the best food I've eaten during that period, bar none. I've had dinner at Vie once, and it is excellent, almost as good as Michael.

            1. re: nsxtasy

              Thanks for the help. I really want to go to Michael, it's very high on my list of new places to try (for me). I guess distance at least for today, is playing a big role. Gave the family a choice of Montarra and Le Titi to review the menus, and Montarra it is.

              Nxstasy thanks for the always spot on advice. (along with everyone else)