Suggestions near the Old Town School of Folk Music?
Wondering if anyone has dinner suggestions near the Old Town School of Folk Music located at 4544 N. Linconln Ave. in Chicago. Don't know the neighborhood and looking for a great place to have an early dinner. Very adventerous diners who love ethnic foods of all types. Thanks!
You're in luck as there's a LOT of good places to eat around here (my neighborhood). I'm zeroing in, though, on your comment about being very adventerous diners who love ethnic foods - and suggesting that you treat yourself to Spoon Thai. IMO one of the best Thai restaurants in the Chicago metro area (just . . . can't . . . type . . . Chicagoland). Ask for the translated Thai menu (aka "the secret menu", though it's hardly secret really).
Spoon Thai Restaurant
4608 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
That stretch of Lincoln Avenue just south of Lincoln Square has a lot of good places. Bistro Campagne ( www.bistrocampagne.com ) is an excellent French bistro, and Fiddlehead Cafe ( www.fiddleheadcafe.com ) and Tallulah ( www.tallulahchicago.com ) are also worth considering. All three are right on Lincoln within a block of the Old Town School. (FWIW, I haven't been all that impressed with Spoon Thai - not that it's bad, just that in my experience it's no better than dozens of other Thai restaurants around town.)
Throw a rock and eat where it lands. Many good choices. Tank, about a half block down, is great for sushi. The previously-mentioned Bistro Campagne is a couple of doors away from Tank. Los Nopales is a very good Mexican place about 1-1/2 blocks away. Spacca Napoli is a bit farther, about 6 blocks, but if you're driving it would be my first choice. In any case, the Old Town School is probably the best music venue in town. Enjoy the show.
I would recommend Chalkboard. They have wonderful seasonal cuisine which changes with the chef's mood, which I would describe as contemporary American with traditional influences. I had a decent experience at Fiddlehead also, and would go back for the wine flights, but I would plan for the possibility of slow/poor service.
Strong seconds to both Bistro Campagne and Spoon Thai. Tank sushi also very good as are Fiddlehead, Tulullah's and Chalkboard.
Have a great evening.
So many good places in the area! I like Essence of India, Spoon Thai*, Los Nopales*, Bad Dog Tavern has surprisingly good bar food, Grafton (next door to Old Town) is nice for a pint by the fireplace afterwards, Chicago Brauhaus is fun and has really hearty German food, I like Fiddlehead but only for the wine flights and cheese. I've been there twice in the last two months and each time have had really bad entrees. But again, the cheese and wine are great and it is really cozy.
What a great area. My tops recs are Bistro Campagne and Chalkboard (best mac 'n cheese in the city!). Both of those spots are a bit pricy, compared to Spon Thai or Essence of India, but well worth it. And if you don't have time this go round, consider returning to Lincoln Square another day to explore the shops (including one of the city's best bookstores!). Wherever you end up dining, I recommend skipping dessert and ducking into Cafe Selmarie for to-die-for French pastries.
Spacca Napoli is another excellent choice in the Lincon Square area -- great, authentic Neapolitan pizzas and antipasti -- but it is driving (not walking) distance from Old Town School of Folk Music.
As you see from the responses, lots of choices. My favorite restaurant in the area is easily Spoon Thai near Wilson on Western. If you go, request the translated Thai language menu because that's what sets Spoon apart from your run of the mill Thai restaurant and elevates it to one of the best restaurants in the city (in my opinion).
For sushi, I agree that Tank is very good, particularly with maki and some of the more clever appetizers.
For French, Bistro Campagne is very nice.
If you're willing to drive a mile, head west to Kedzie for Semiramis for excellent Middle Eastern. My favorite new spot on Kedzie is just north of Lawrence and is called Dawali. It's ultra casual (order at the counter) but their baba ghanoush is very good with a nice, smoky flavor and I think their falafel is the best in town.
And of course there's Korean too. San Soo Gab San is four blocks north of Lawrence around Foster and that's one of my few favorite Korean BBQ spots in town. Closer to the Old Town School on Lincoln is Cho Sun Ok . . . also outstanding Korean . . . although sometimes if it's really crowded you might feel rushed.
Los Nopales is very good for Mexican. Dorado is not that far away either (just east of Western on Foster) and I slightly prefer it to Los Nopales.
I'd steer you away from Essence of India however. I used to like it a lot but I don't think that the food is nearly as good as it was when the place first opened.
And if you decide you just want a burger (or even a nice steak), Jury's on Lincoln just south of Montrose is one of my favorite spots in the city . . . great old school pub charm. And of course there's the Grafton next to Tank. They offer solid Irish pub food including fish & chips (very good curry sauce), shepherd's pie and even a very good burger.