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Jan 11, 2009 05:30 PM

Really need your help!!!!!!!!!!!!!

my girlfriend and i are going to chicago this weekend and need a great place to eat.. we are staying at the four seasons and would like to eat somewere nice downtown this weekend. my girlfriend doesn't have the most sophisticated palit (sorry for my spelling) in the world.. Just to let you know that the last time we came to chicago, i took her to alinea and that was a little " fear factor '' for her. she does like steaks, pasta, veggies, chicken, pork etc. she isn't into seafood though. im looking for an upscale restaurant that will blow us away and that she might find something to eat on the menu. money is no object. thanks fellow foodies

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  1. I would take her to Spiaggia. Chicago has oh, maybe eight restaurants that are the "creme de la creme" for fine dining. Half or more specialize in creative contemporary cuisine, such as Alinea's, and might be too "out there" for your girlfriend. Spiaggia is the only restaurant in this high-end group that specializes in Italian food. Spiaggia also has a more casual, mid-priced restaurant called Cafe Spiaggia next door, but Spiaggia is the dressy, expensive, high-end place. Both are excellent for what they are; it sounds like you and she might prefer Spiaggia. (It's also known to be a favorite of the President-elect.) Both are just two blocks from your hotel.

    Another high-end choice she would probably enjoy is Seasons, the excellent restaurant inside your hotel. It's a bit more conventional and not as innovative/creative/unusual as Alinea, but it's still thoroughly excellent and enjoyable. This also offers the convenience of not having to go outside, which is particularly beneficial if it's snowing and/or bitter cold. (If you haven't checked the forecast yet, right now they're saying that most of this week, including Friday will be brutally bitter cold, whereas Saturday will still be below normal but not quite as cold as Friday, so the convenience of being inside the hotel might be especially suitable for dinner this Friday.) You can find more information about Seasons on the hotel website at (and weather information at ).

    As another choice, for something not quite as dressy (or expensive) as Spiaggia or Seasons, she might like North Pond. The food is contemporary American cuisine from James Beard award nominee Chef Bruce Sherman, with an emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients, but skips the unusual combinations of ingredients and cooking techniques of the molecular gastronomy type restaurants like Alinea. And it's excellent, and the service fine. What distinguishes North Pond is its setting and history. It's located in the middle of Lincoln Park (the park itself, not just the neighborhood of the same name), facing its namesake pond with the city skyline looming over the opposite shore. The renovated building at one time was the warming shelter for ice skaters on the pond. (Skating is no longer permitted.) The small front room has floor-to-ceiling windows with that gorgeous view. Even the rear room is romantic, with an open kitchen along the rear side of the room. It's a very special place, and a unique Chicago experience. It's about two miles north of your hotel, a 5-10 minute ride by cab up Lake Shore Drive and through the park.

    For steaks, there's an excellent steakhouse right near your hotel, called Saloon Steakhouse.

    You can make reservations for all of these places on

    Given your girlfriend's preferences for less unusual cuisine, I recommend that you (and preferably she) take a look at the menus for any places you're considering, including these, on the restaurants' websites. That will give you an excellent idea of how acceptable their cuisine is to her, how much she would like what they have to offer.

    Enjoy your visit!

    3 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      thank you for such a great reply Erik

      1. re: lestererik

        Les Nomades and Everest are pretty "old school" French places. Saloon or David Burkes for steak. All exept Everest are driving distance.

        1. re: HoosierFoodie

          >> All exept Everest are driving distance.

          I suspect you meant to say that all except Everest are WALKING distance. (Of course, on a day like this coming Friday, with highs predicted in single digits, walking distance is not very far at all!)

          If your girlfriend enjoys French food, by all means consider a French place. Everest is the best French restaurant in Chicago (I like it far better than Les Nomades), but it is indeed about a mile and a half from the Four Seasons, and not walking distance, especially in winter. For an excellent French restaurant close to the Four Seasons, consider Cafe des Architectes in the Sofitel, a couple blocks from the Four Seasons.