Restaurants that are a short walk/ride from the Drake Hotel
I'm coming to Chicago for business next week and would love to know of some special places to eat within a short walk (or subway/bus ride) from the Drake Hotel, where I'll be staying.
I'm on a modest expense account, so I'd be particularly eager to learn about inexpensive or moderately priced restaurants.
Walk north from the Drake (the lake will be on your right). First street is Bellevue. Go left along one long block with lovely old townhouses. At the end of this block State and Rush are sort of converging around a little park locally known as the Viagra Triangle because of the old guys on expense accounts who hang around looking for young women. This neighborhood is loaded with restaurants, everything from expensive (Gibson's, Trader Vic's, Hugo's, IL Mulino) to bar food along Division (consult map). You asked for modest, so I will recommend Big Bowl (Cedar just east of State/Rush), always tasty and cheery. Check out their website for selections and prices. Walk north along State/Rush---many restaurants---turn left on Division for bars, some with food. A block west on Elm is Table 52 where the Obamas had Valentine's Day dinner but you're unlikely to get in without a reservation. Also, go to "chicago restaurant menus" and click onto Gold Coast for menus of restaurants in neighborhood. A whole world just a ten-minute walk from the Drake.
Within a five-minute walk of the Drake are quite a few excellent but moderately-priced places to choose from...
1. Cafe Spiaggia, perhaps the city's best moderately-priced Italian restaurant, and right across the street from the Drake. www.cafespiaggia.com
2. The Signature Room, at the top of the John Hancock Building - known for the great view, more so than the food, but lunch is moderately priced. www.signatureroom.com
3. Saloon for steaks - again, not inexpensive, but lunch is moderately priced. www.saloonsteakhouse.com
4. Foodlife, the food court in Water Tower Place, offers plenty of affordable variety. www.foodlifechicago.com
5. Le Colonial for Vietnamese food. www.lecolonialchicago.com
6. Tempo Cafe for diner food, open 24 hours. www.tempocafechicago.com
7. Cafe des Architectes, one of our best contemporary American restaurants, in the Sofitel. Moderately priced at lunch and for their 3-course $29 "neighborhood friends" dinner menu Sundays through Tuesdays. www.cafedesarchitectes.com
8. Hugo's for seafood, and you can also get steaks from Gibson's, their sister restaurant next door. www.hugosfrogbar.com
9. The Original Pancake House on East Bellevue, for breakfast. Don't miss the huge, puffed-up, cinnamony apple pancake. www.originalpancakehouse.com
10. Ashkenaz Deli for Jewish deli sandwiches and other deli foods. http://chicago.metromix.com/restaurants/jewish_kosher/ashkenaz-deli-gold-coast/134507/content
11. Pizano's on State for Chicago-style deep-dish pizza in the pan. Call ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake. www.pizanoschicago.com
12. Giordano's on Rush for the other type of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, the double-crust "stuffed" pizza. Same advice regarding phoning ahead. www.giordanos.com
The following discussion contains recommendations of more excellent but moderately-priced restaurants, which are more than a five-minute walk from the Drake: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/616007 The hotel referenced in that topic is about 1/4 mile south of the Drake. Some of the recommendations there are not in the immediate neighborhood but are accompanied by public transportation directions (or see www.transitchicago.com ).