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Jul 6, 2009 02:51 PM

Loop area - Ethiopian,sushi,Viet & more

I'll be visiting Chicago for a conference starting Thursday. I'm hoping to find things to eat that are not available in coastal North Carolina. I'll be staying on Ohio Ave just north of the Loop. What's good in this area?

I never met a cuisine I didn't like. Price-wise, I don't want to break the bank, so I won't be going back to Trotters this trip. I may splurge on a nice meal or two. I'm especially fond of Ethiopian and Vietnamese. I had a memorable meal at Ethiopian Diamond on my last trip, but I don't want to venture too far alone at night.

On my last trip I enjoyed Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Ethiopian Diamond, Naha, Hot Doug's and Avec. I've really been looking forward to returning to Chicago - it's such a great food town!

Thanks for your help.


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  1. The other Ethiopian restaurants are mostly in the same neck of the woods as Ethiopian Diamond, though the neighborhood's really not unsafe. Demera is my second favorite of the Ethiopian spots, and it's a little further south, directly off the Lawrence stop on the Red Line. It's conveniently located across the street from The Green Mill, if you wanted to check out a jazz show. Addis Abeba is another Ethiopian place (one I haven't tried, though) located in very safe (though somewhat inconvenient) Evanston. It's immediately off the Dempster Purple Line stop.

    Closer to your hotel/conference, Indian Garden has an excellent lunch buffet. I can't vouch for Le Colonial, which is the closest Vietnamese place I can think of. It seems overpriced to me, but someone who's actually eaten there should chime in. Ben Pao, while Chinese, is a cut above the P.F. Chang's chain that it somewhat resembles. Vong's Thai Kitchen is decidedly overpriced Thai food. Ruby of Siam on Washington is a city outpost of my favorite suburban Thai restaurant - the khao soy and one-bite chicken are particularly outstanding.

    You hit up some really excellent places on your last trip. Hope you have as good a time on this one!

    1. the closest authentic place you can get sushi on ohio is ginza. nothing extraordinary or trendy, just simple and solid japanese food. if you walk a bit west to wells st., you can also go to naniwa - my personal favorite place for sushi in the downtown area.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mountsac

        I absolutely love Ras Dashen for Ethiopian. It is located at Ardmore and Broadway, you could take a cab my guess would be about $20 or you could take the Red Line up there and Cab back or the 36 bus which drops off about 15 paces but buses always take longer.

        I have to find a new Vietnamese place, our fav closed. There is one opening really close, I am hoping it's a good one.

      2. Thanks for your recommendations so far!

        1. For sushi, Naniwa is one of my personal favorites. It is basic, simple, no frills. Probably closer to your hotel is Oysy. It is an izagaya, which loosely means a Japanese pub/tapas place. They have great sushi and sashimi, and a slew of small cold and hot items.

          For Vietnamese, Le Colonial would be your only choice in the area. There is one other place, but i won't mention it (bad, bad, bad). Anyway, Le Colonial is upscale Vietnamese. I know there's people on the board who would scoff at an idea like that. Besides the fact that it is a chain. The food is good and never disappoints. The setting is very romantic. And yes, it is pricey. You are paying for the great food, the soft candle light, even the wait staff's frog-closure tunics. If you are up for such a night, go for it. Otherwise, make the trek to Argyle for authentic cheap eats and fluorescent lighting.

          Le Colonial
          937 Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611

          Oysy River North
          50 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

          1. I don't think there's an etheopian place in downtown. Ginza on Ohio is the best original sushi place downtown. Japonais is fancier more americanized Japanese place.

            Ginza Restaurant
            19 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

            Japonais Restaurant
            600 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60610