Oakbrook (Oak Brook) Shopping Center - Super Specific for the Locals
- gadflier Apr 18, 2009 12:01 PM
The quest: Single best dinner choice based on food alone, type and price of food irrelevant, that is in, beside or next to the Oakbrook Shopping Center for a guest at the Marriott without a car please?
I'm familiar from other cities with the chains represented in the center, such as Cheesecake Factory, Maggianos, CPK, but don't know about Wildfire, Braxton Seafood Grill, Baisi Thai, Clubhouse, Mon Ami Gabi, Antico Posto, Mike Ditkas, and whatever else I'm missing.
I've searched each of these names, and gotten a few mixed reviews, which of course is to be expected, but most of them sound like another chain I know: Houstons, and that some of them are in fact regional mini-chains.
As an aside, for the real locals, if there's a better choice not in the shopping center but equidistant (about 3 miles) to the hotel, that's fine of course.
Thanks so much for your time and suggestion.
Closer to the Marriott than any of the restaurants that you name is Tuscany which is in the first floor of the office tower immediately to the west of the Marriott, on the same side of the street. It is what I'd recommend.
I recommend Reel Club, which is a seafood restaurant in the mall. www.reel-club.com
Several of the restaurants in the mall, including Wildfire, Mon Ami Gabi, Antico Posto, and Reel Club, are part of the Lettuce Entertain You group of restaurants. So let me start by filling you in about Lettuce Entertain You ( www.leye.com ). Lettuce Entertain You started in Chicago 30+ years ago with R. J. Grunt's. They now have several dozen different restaurants, and some of those have more than one location. They vary from high-end to mid-priced to low-end, and include some of the very finest restaurants in Chicago (Everest, TRU, L2O), various types of ethnic cuisine (Chinese, Latin fusion, Thai, tapas), some food-court concepts (foodlife), etc. Because their restaurants are so different from each other, you really need to look at each restaurant individually. A few months ago I ate at Reel Club, their newly-opened upscale seafood restaurant in Oak Brook, and I thought it was thoroughly excellent in every way, so I recommend it as my pick for best dinner choice. I have not eaten at the Oak Brook location of Wildfire, their steakhouse, but at other locations I think it's been good but great, not the very best steaks (or seafood) in the entire city but still a good steak and also a good value, a bit less expensive than some of the other steakhouses around, particularly in downtown Chicago. It's been a while since I've been to Mon Ami Gabi, their French bistro which started as a sister restaurant to Ambria, the now-closed high-end French restaurant where L2O is now; it was named after Gabino Sotelino, the chef-partner at Ambria, but back then it was quite good. I haven't eaten at Antico Posto.
Braxton Seafood Grill is part of another group of restaurants; I liked it when I ate there 10+ years ago. More recently I ate at Devon Seafood Grill downtown, which is part of the same restaurant group, and I was underwhelmed. If you would like to dine at a nice seafood restaurant, I recommend going to Reel Club rather than Braxton. Another excellent choice for upscale seafood is a few miles west of there in Downers Grove, called Parker's Ocean Grill ( www.selectrestaurants.com/parkersocean ).
It's been about the same length of time (10+ years) since I ate at Baisi Thai, which AFAIK is an independent single-location restaurants. It was okay, and convenient if you're staying across the street from the mall.
FWIW I have not eaten at Tuscany, mentioned by masha above; it's part of another local group of restaurants, the Phil Stefani group ( www.stefanirestaurants.com ).
I'd do Reza's for Persian. Head west on Cermak (22nd.) It'll be on the N side of the road.
I'd look into:
dark meat chicken kababs with dill rice (and generally any other meat/chicken/fish kebabs.
)They should have a lunch buffet as well.
Their vegetarian stew type things are nothing I'd recommend.
Basi Thai might have an instant printable gift certificate for sale on Restaurant.com if that sways you. The current coupon code is FEAST to get 70% off. I've never been to Baisi Thai. Frankly, I don't think I'd try it if I had to pay full price.
There is an outlet of a Greek joint around there I think. Someone here likes it. I forgot the name. Papagus, perhaps? Again, I've never been.
If you're not looking for overpriced tourist / business expense account waste of $ food, I'd be at Reza's in a heartbeat. Sometimes, If someone takes me out looking to gain my business, I will note how much they spend willy nilly. Wasteful spending does NOT impress me at all.
LOL - well anyway - Reza's is something a little different from the corp mall stuff. I like it. Not the BEST mid eastern food ever, but if you order correctly, it's hard to go wrong for the price and the setting.
>> There is an outlet of a Greek joint around there I think. Someone here likes it. I forgot the name. Papagus, perhaps? Again, I've never been.
Papagus closed, and Reel Club is now in the space where it was located.
If you're specifically looking for Greek food, Greek Islands, which is a restaurant in Chicago's Greek Town, has a location in Lombard, a few miles west of Oak Brook.
As noted above, most of the restaurants in that area are parts of restaurant groups and/or have multiple locations. Reza's is a chain too, with three locations.
Here are a couple more restaurants I recommend, both about 5 miles away and worth the trip. Emilio's is a tapas restaurant in Hillside, east of Oak Brook; he has opened a couple of locations in the city, but the one in Hillside is his original restaurant. www.emiliostapas.com And Vie is a contemporary American restaurant in Western Springs, southeast of Oak Brook; it is one our very best such restaurants, and Paul Virant is one of our most accomplished chefs. www.vierestaurant.com
Antico Posto is one of our favorite restaurants anywhere. Very good casual italian food (more northern than southern), quite carefully prepared, well seasoned, reasonable portion sizes. Excellent pizzas (from the wood burning oven). Light, tasty gnocchi. Excellent pastas and subtle, interesting sauces. Lovely tiny desserts at lunch. The antithesis of its one-time corporate cousin, Maggiano's. More Cafe Spiaggia than Spiaggia, but always an exceedingly pleasant time at a very fair price (cheaper than Mon Ami or Wildfire). Nxstasy, come on out and try it.
Sadly, I have spent most of my life eating around the OB mall. I need to get out more.
Best restaurant nearby, if price is no object: Morton's in Westchester, near 22nd & Wolf Road. I don't think it's even a question. Steaks, sides, desserts...everything there is done well, but it will cost you.
In the mall, Wildfire wins. Reel Club is, IMO, very unimpressive. I've eaten there three times, and none of my meals have ever gotten me excited. Maggiano's is average Italian food at best.
For the best food at the best prices, Reza's probably wins. That place is delicious and very affordable. The staff can be a little odd; I've definitely had waiters who won't look at, or interact with, my female companions. However, the waitresses are generally very pleasant and more equality-minded. And, as someone else said, it's a bit different from the norm. If you have vegetarian eaters, it's an excellent place to take them; the vegetarian platter is the size of a small buffet.
re: Eldon Kreider
Costas, a little bit North and west of the mall, is probably the Greek place you're thinking of. GREAT food, great ambiance, moderately priced. I believe it's on Summit Road just south of Roosevelt Rd.
Don't let the cheesy music on their website scare you away. I'd take this place over Tuscany anyday, and I'm Italian!!!
Oh bourj, where were you in April? :)
So - thank you to everyone who responded and I did in fact wind up at the Reel Club, for the first and last time. The place is perfectly pleasant and the food is bland and average at best. Soup, Wedge, Grilled Fish, Mixed Drink - nothing inspiring, nothing even flavorful. In short, overpriced and disappointing, though not "bad". I'll have to try "out of but near mall" next time.
You're comments on the Reel Club are spot on. The food is ok at best. I agree, it's overpriced and disappointing. I like J Alexanders, just north of the mall . Solid american food, nice space. Nothing with a "wow" factor, just well executed food. I've never been disappointed there on any meal.
Hahaha...sorry I wasn't more timely. Next time, I think you should do Wildfire. I was at the OB Mall location last night, had the scallop appetizer, roasted mushrooms, and a bone-in filet. All were excellent. Spent $90 for two people with tax and tip (one appetizer, two entrees/sides, no desserts or drinks).