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Sister dinner suggestions

Hi ~
My sisters from Cleveland are coming in town and I want to take them somewhere fun and good for a nice Saturday night dinner. Catches are, I'm paying - so it can't be Alinea or the like - and I'm pregnant - so there has to be something for me on the menu. I live in the River North area and would like to stay somewhat close (ie. within 10 miles?) I know they like Small Plates - but we've been to Avec, Iberico, and BabaReeba already. Thanks!

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  1. pardon my ignorance, but what on a menu are not pregnant-friendly? spicy food?

    2 Replies
    1. re: ms. chow

      Just had a great dinner at Mercat a la Planxa saturday-it's Catalonian which necessarily includes much of the standard tapas menu, but so much more. Service was a little slow, but we were sitting in the bar area upstairs and had a big group. That being said, we really enjoyed all the dishes and the cocktails.

      1. re: ms. chow

        Raw seafood, which might harbor pathogens -- i.e., sushi especially.

      2. Check out Quartino in River North for lively small plate Italian, (It's not just an antipasto and pizza joint; their pastas are quite good,

        3 Replies
        1. re: jbw

          I love Quartino. Have never had a bad time -- or meal -- there.

          1. re: ferret

            Ooh, yes, Quartino. It's lovely and lively. Go early to avoid a crazy crowd, I'm not sure if they accept reservations.

            1. re: geg5150

              Quartino accepts reservations on Opentable.com

              It's easy to confuse Quartino with Cafe Iberico, which does not accept reservations, since both are in River North and offer small plates with a lively atmosphere.

        2. I would suggest Francesca's Forno in Wicker Park. Yummy small plates and great atmosphere. Plus, the menu is very prego-friendly. It does get loud in there, but that just means you can have more fun with your sisters!

          1. The above suggestions are excellent - Mercat a la Planxa in the South Loop for Spanish tapas, and Quartino in River North for Italian small plates. Another place worth considering is Emilio's Sol y Nieve, in River East (I'm not sure if people make a distinction between River North and River East, especially since it's probably within walking distance).

            >> would like to stay somewhat close (ie. within 10 miles?)

            LOL! There are over a thousand restaurants within a two mile radius of you, including many of Chicago's very best in all categories - I'm not exaggerating, that's an accurate number - and yet you consider 10 miles "somewhat close". Too funny!

            1 Reply
            1. re: nsxtasy

              While Cafe Iberico has stayed consistent in terms of food, i find that Emilio's have continuously deteriorated over the years. It is still ok, but why go there when there are so many other better places? Emilio's Sol y Nieve is in Streeterville.

            2. I'm sorry but I'm still stuck at the lingo "Small Plate". What does that refer to exactly?

              1 Reply
              1. re: LadyintheKitchen

                Some restaurants specialize in "small plates" - in other words, rather than entrees (main dishes) which are large in portion size and intended to be the main focus of the meal, they offer smaller portion sizes for all or most of the items. The expectation is that diners will order as many of these dishes as they like, as a way of trying more dishes than they would with the standard 3-course (appetizer-entree-dessert) meal. They are typically priced less expensively than you would see for full-sized entrees, as well. "Tapas" is the word used in Spain to refer to this concept, but many other (i.e. non-Spanish) restaurants have adopted the same approach.

              2. Thanks everyone, great suggestions! 1,000 restaraunts within 2 miles? Jeez no wonder it is so hard to make a decision on where to eat. And yes, I am pretty new to Chicago!