New to Chicago, looking for some recommendations (Greek, pizza, etc)
it looks like I'm narrowing my choices to Costa's and Greek islands in the Oakbrook Terrace neighbourhood. We have a little one so it seems like it will be easier to stay near our hotel for dinner. Is one of these restaurants better than the other, or are we likely to get a good meal either way? Thx...
I've dined in most Greek Restaurants in Greek Town and they all do a good job. My current favorite is Costa's at the corner of Halsted & Van Buren. Even though most Greek Town restaurants will offer complimentary valet parking, Costa's has their own valet parking lot. I don't know where others park you. There is a huge pay lot right across the street. Costa's also has a location in Oak Brook Terrace. I've been there too and it's just as good as Greek Town but not in a Greek Town neighborhood.
>> I may look into Costa's, especially if there's a location near where I'm staying.
There is indeed. You can find more info on their website at www.costasdining.com
>> Would I be missing out on a huge Greek vibe by not going to the Halstead area?
Not in my opinion. Greek Town consists of restaurants along a few block stretch of Halsted Street, and that is about it, just a "restaurant row". You can contrast this with, for example, the Indian/Pakistani community of West Rogers Park, where many of the residents in the surrounding community are of Indian/Pakistani heritage. They fulfill their daily needs in the shops along Devon Avenue, including not only restaurants, but also food markets, clothing stores, shops selling books and videos, etc., all appealing specifically to a vibrant residential ethnic community.
OTOH Greek Town is probably the largest, densest concentration of Greek restaurants within the continental U.S., along with a bakery and a couple of shops. Whatever vibe is to be found is probably to be found within the restaurants themselves, which because of the competition, are fairly consistent in quality.
Pizza - deep dish, Art of Pizza, 3033 No. Ashland; Neapolitan, try Spacca Napoli, 1769 West Sunnyside; awesome thin crust, Pat’s Pizza, 2679 No. Lincoln; and eclectic/higher-end, Pizza D.O.C, 2251 West Lawrence.
Greek - I like Venus, in Greektown, 820 W. Jackson (http://www.venuschicago.com). The old standby is Greek Islands, on Halsted (where you'll find most of the Greektown joints).
BBQ - Smoque, 3800 No. Pulaski (http://www.smoquebbq.com)
For Fun: Hot Doug's. Seriously a foodie heaven. Expect a line out the door and around the building. Don't worry about seating, you'll get a spot. Doug will be there to take your order. He's v. fun. Check out the menu here (http://www.hotdougs.com) but especially "Today's Specials."
Sorry, can't help you in the Polish department.
Check out these discussions:
Our unique local specialty, deep-dish pizza, comes in two different styles: the single-crust "pizza in the pan" served at Pizzeria Uno and Due, Lou Malnati's, Pizano's, and Gino's East, and the double-crust "stuffed" pizza served at Giordano's (40 locations), Bacino's, and Edwardo's. All of these are excellent, and have multiple locations around the area (avoid non-downtown locations of Uno though).
Note that Greek Islands has a second location in Lombard, near Oak Brook.