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Mar 11, 2009 06:52 PM

5 Canadian Girls Gone Wild in Chicago

hello chicago chowhounders,
5 canadian women, mid/late 30's coming in easter weekend. looking for fun, hip, happening, not outrageously priced, delicious hotspots.
we're booked at mercat a la planxa for the friday night (good friday -according to open table it's open!) but open to other great suggestions that may be open good friday.
thinking of graham elliott for saturday night.
do you think these are appropriate suggestions? what about zocalo (definitely need one night of mexican -mexican sucks in canada)
would love to hear of any cool, happening, age appropriate (for us :o) ) lounge/bars/clubs nearby as well...we arrive late on the thursday night but hoping to grab some munchies and some bevvies.
we're staying at the ritz carlton on east pearson street.
we're definitely doing at least 1 dim sum run (haven't finished perusing for chicago's best dim sum) and of course brunch ( i know that topic has been debated to death)....
thanks in advance!

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  1. Zocalo will definitely support 5 wild girls; they have some nice deals on nights other than Saturday. A different type of Mexican would be Frontera Grill / Topolobampo; you might be able to say hi to the Pres if he's in town :). The Metromix website is a good source for narrowing down the type of party you're looking for. Sunda might fit for barhopping. As to Good Friday - I don't know of any restaurant closed because of that.

    Have a brewski for me!

    1. I would go to Frontera Grill or Topolobampo for fun Mexican. Frontera accepts only a small number of reservations and keeps most of the dining room for walk-ins; beware long waits.

      Keep your reservation at Mercat a la Planxa.

      Our "Latin fusion" restaurants are great for a combination of fun, drinking, music, and food. Consider Carnivale ( ) and Nacional 27 ( ).

      Sunda is a new pan-Asian restaurant in River North and it sounds like what you're looking for.

      Restaurant website:
      Metromix First Look:

      Another fun pan-Asian place is Red Light ( ).

      Consider the "American dim sum Sunday brunch" at David Burke's Primehouse. For reports on this and other places for brunch, see the discussion at

      Enjoy your visit!

      4 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        loving it!...keep em' coming.
        if i had to choose b/w mercat & topolo...which one? much as i would love 2 nights of mexican/southwestern cuisine which is better & more happening?
        although, not exactly chowhoundish...any good places to dance near any of these restaurants?

        1. re: todc1996

          Mercat a la Planxa features the cuisine of Spain, in Europe, which is very different from the cuisine of Mexico, in North America. So I would consider going to both, since they really don't duplicate each other. You may want to check out the menus on their websites and

          OTOH, with all the "Latin" cuisines under consideration - Mercat from Spain, Frontera/Topolo from Mexico, and the possibility of Latin fusion from all over the Americas... that's why I added the couple of options for Asian cuisine, for variety (even though you probably have plenty of Asian cuisine available back home).

          1. re: todc1996

            If you go to Mercat, you'll be about a block or two from Buddy Guy's, one of the best blues clubs in Chicago (dancing and other bluesy activities very much allowed):


            1. re: jbw

              Good eye on Buddy Guy's, jbw. Great place. If you're a blues fan, that is.

              Ditto nsxtasy on Frontera and Mercat not being comparable. I'd go to both as well, but if you're $$ conscious, I'd probably go for Mercat. Frontera is really pricey. Good, but pricey. And if you're hitting Graham Elliot, you'll be spending plenty.

              The other good rec (I think) was Carnivale - haven't been there myself but saw it on "Check, Please!" Not where I would choose, but I don't like roudy, aesthetically "busy" places.

        2. My wife set up a bachelorette party at Nacional 27 that everyone seemed to enjoy. "Latin" food plus salsa dancing. I think they clear the floor of tables at some point, but if your reservation is late enough you can keep the table.

          For dim sum, I would recommend Shui Wah in Chinatown. No carts (Phoenix is probably best if that's what you're looking for), but really good stuff (salt and pepper squid in particular).

          Nacional 27

          325 W. Huron
          (312) 664-2727

          Shui Wah
          2162 S Archer Ave
          (312) 225-8811


          2131 S Archer Ave # 2
          (312) 328-0848

          1. Girls definitely head to Wicker Park lots of good restaurants, bars and clubs.Fun, eclectic and hip neighborhood to walk around and lots of partying.Things hop until 5am on the weekends.All sorts of different places to drink ,eat and shop. Just hop in a cab and tell them you want to go to Milwaukee and Damen or Division and Damen. You can also take the Blue line to Damen for two bucks.To me this sounds like the place your looking for.There are many places in our city to eat ,drink and shop.Have fun! Checkout Clark st. near Wrigley Field late night also