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Restaurants in Bucktown/Wicker Park?

Indian, Japanese, French, or anything in between -- looking for a nice evening out for my niece who insists she does not want me to get a gift certificate from Lettuce Entertain You.

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  1. Best bet for French -- Le Bouchon
    Best bet for Japanese -- Mirai, Coast, Bob San
    Not much Indian I am away of in Bucktown/W.P.

    Lots of other good restaurants if you have something more specific in mind.

    4 Replies
    1. re: JJ.

      Over the years I've sent them to Frontera Grill, to another Mexican rival, for Indian, last year I found something tropical, one year Blackbird. I'm all over the map. They do like Japanese, so maybe that's the way to go. I tried Schwa one year but they didn't do gift certificates. And I'm not locked into Bucktown/WP either.

      1. re: gsElsbeth

        How locked in to those particular cuisines are you? If they like seafood, then Spring would be a great choice. www.springrestaurant.net

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Not at all. Spring looks perfect! She had also mentioned Mirai, Green Zebra, Nick's Fish Market, I'd come up with Kaza and Sweets and Savories.

          1. re: gsElsbeth

            You're probably aware that Green Zebra and Spring are both owned and run by Chef Shawn McClain. Green Zebra is his vegetarian restaurant and Spring emphasizes seafood. He also owns/runs Custom House, in the South Loop, which emphasizes meats.

            Sweets and Savories is also good; it's slightly north of Bucktown/Wicker Park, in the west end of Lincoln Park.

            I do not recommend Nick's Fishmarket, which I consider overpriced and not particularly impressive. Spring is a much better choice for upscale seafood.

    2. Another gift option is to buy a gift card from American Express, which is then good at any restaurant that accepts their credit card.

      6 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        I talked to her about this and she isn't interested. Her comment was that my picking the restaurants gets them to places that they wouldn't have thought of.

        1. re: gsElsbeth

          How about Takashi for Asian/Japanese on Damen in Bucktown?

          If they like sushi, then definitely Mirai (and instruct them to sit upstairs).

          1. re: ljero

            Takashi is not Asian/Japanese cuisine; it's contemporary American. (And FWIW I was disappointed in my dinner there earlier this year.)

            1. re: nsxtasy

              Takashi characterizes itself on its website as "contemporary French-American fare with Japanese influences." I would say the Japanese influences on the menu are fairly strong. It's in Bucktown, and it's a nice place, so it may fit the O.P.'s qualifications.

              Nsxtasy's Spring recommendation is probably the best bet for the area. You might try Cafe Absinthe as well, which is right on North and Damen..

              1. re: JJ.

                I would not call it Comtemporary American; French-American with Japanese influences sounds closer, as I think the japanese influcence is pretty strong on the menu, as well. I have to say, I had a bad menu at Spring and the ambience (depending on their ages) may be preferable at Mirai, as it is not as minimalist in decor...but all are great places--you can't go wrong!

              2. re: nsxtasy

                Yes, my point was that it was not what someone would normally think of when referring to Japanese cuisine. The menu can be seen on their website at www.takashichicago.com so you can judge for yourself how to classify it.

                The only dish that really impressed me was a sheep's milk panna cotta for dessert.