$100 gift certificate--from where?
I'm thinking about buying a gift certificate for my brother-in-law and his wife for Christmas. I'm in NY, they're in Chicago...therefore, I definitely need your expert advice. I'm not taking wine into consideration, so any suggestions (they're adventurous eaters and love all types of cuisine) would be great. They live in the Loop area (I don't know what that means, but hopefully it'll help all you Chowhounders narrow down your suggestions). Thanks a lot for your help! BTW, they're newlyweds, so romantic venues are a plus.
There are many restaurants in the Chicago area that offer gift cards/certificates. However, I recommend getting them for one of the several groups of excellent restaurants in town, so that the recipient has a choice among at least several different restaurants with several kinds of food at various price points. These include:
1. Lettuce Entertain You ( www.leye.com ) is a group of several dozen restaurants, mostly in the Chicago area. Its offerings include several high-end creative places (Everest, TRU, L2O), as well as mid-priced and other places. The gift certificates, which you can buy on their website, are good at any of their restaurants. This group offers the widest variety (by far) of the three restaurant groups mentioned here.
2. Levy ( www.levyrestaurants.com ) is another group of restaurants in the Chicago area. They only have a few restaurants in the Chicago area, but they are excellent: Spiaggia, an extremely high-end Italian restaurant; Cafe Spiaggia, its mid-priced Italian sibling next door; Bistro 110, a French bistro; and Jake Melnick's Corner Tap.
3. KDK Restaurants ( www.kdkrestaurants.com ) has four restaurants: Red Light (Asian fusion), Gioco (Italian), Opera (Chinese), and (French bistro).
4. American Express ( www.americanexpress.com ) offers gift cards that are good at any restaurant that accepts their credit card. Which gives them a huge array of options, letting them decide what place most appeals to them.
The three restaurant groups offer free, lightly-restricted bonus certificates with the purchase of gift cards. The Lettuce Entertain You offer runs November 1 through December 30, and gives $25 in bonus certificates with each $100 of gift cards. The other two run between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, with Levy offering a free $25 bonus certificate for each $100 of gift cards purchased, and the KDK group giving a $50 bonus certificate with each $100 purchased. The bonus certificates enable you to stretch the value of your gift.