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Jan 19, 2009 08:26 AM

ISO Restaurant Rec - Trendy, Steak, Northside

We are going to dinner with another couple and I am in charge of selecting the restaurant. They are a steak and red wine type of couple. We like a more trendy menu and vibe. Does anyone have any recommendations for restaurants that will fit both couples on the northside? We want to spend under $25 (hopefully even less!) per entree.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Steakhouses are out given your price range. Try here:

    1. Well, it's tough to provide recommendations for the "North Side", because that's quite a large area, stretching from River North just north of the Loop, all the way up through the Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, North Center, Lincoln Square, Uptown, Edgewater, Andersonville, up to Rogers Park - and even Evanston recommendations would be appropriate for folks located in Rogers Park. So it's especially difficult to answer, since you probably wouldn't want to go to Rogers Park if you live in River North, and vice versa. I'll toss out some recommendations that are convenient for all of this area.

      Also, I disagree that steakhouses are necessarily ruled out by your $25 threshold. Steakhouses offer the widest price range of just about any restaurant. For example, Pete Miller's in Evanston has a dinner menu offering everything from $11 cheeseburgers to $20-25 chicken and seafood dishes to a $31 filet trio to their $43-47 "signature cuts", as you can see at OTOH you can often get relatively inexpensive cuts of meat, like hanger steak, at French bistros and American restaurants, and they will typically be right around $25 or even less. So those may be a better bet for you.

      I'll include recommendations for several non-steakhouses, but first I'll start with a couple of steakhouse options.

      If it weren't for that dollar limit, I would recommend David Burke's Primehouse. It's exactly what you're looking for - a steakhouse with a trendy menu and vibe, without the "clubby" atmosphere typical of steakhouses, and with interesting non-steak choices on the menu along with excellent steaks. However, they don't offer their burgers at dinner, and their least expensive entrees (chicken and delmonico steak) start around $25 and go up from there. You can view their menu on their website at They're in River North.

      If you're on the Far North Side, such as in Rogers Park, then Pete Miller's in Evanston, mentioned previously, is a great choice. See my remarks above regarding the prices on their menu. You don't have to limit yourself to their steaks; their seafood dishes are excellent. I love the seared sea scallops with the butternut squash ravioli. Definitely the conventional steakhouse vibe though.

      Moving on to the non-steakhouses...

      If there's one restaurant that may be *exactly* what you're looking for, it's Jack's on Halsted, in Lakeview. They call themselves "an American bistro", and that's a pretty good description. Most of their entrees are in the $15-22 range, including the steak and fries, although they also offer a $29 filet as well as $11 cheeseburgers.

      In the French bistro category, here are four possibilities in four different North Side neighborhoods, with steak options noted. Most entrees are under $25 at all of them. From south to north: (1) Kiki's is in River North, and for $29 has steak au poivre or grilled filet. (2) Mon Ami Gabi is in Lincoln Park, and their menu features 11 different steaks, with seven of them under $20. (3) Bistro Campagne, just south of Lincoln Square, has steak and fries for $23. (4) La Tache, in Andersonville, offers steak au poivre for $22, and steak and fries with either ribeye for $24 or hanger steak for $18.