Coming from Boston with an appetite and need recs!
I'll be visiting Chicago for the first time this Thursday and thought I'd drop a note and ask for some recs before I start my eating. I'm open to any type of food, and am willing to splurge once (already have my eye on a dinner at Alinea, if possible). Other than that, I'd really like to have the best of what Chicago has to offer. Of course, I'd like to have some pizza (hear Gino's East is the place to go - any other choices?) and would love to get some great street food (something close to the loop or the convention center is ideal). I will be eating most nights with a group of 6-10, so larger restaurants with seating is ideal. We will all be staying near the Loop (Lake and State, to be exact), but don't mind traveling 10-30mins by El for a great meal. Some other suggestions for meals the group I'm with is looking for is Middle Eastern (Lebanese, Persian, etc. - we've heard good things about Reza's), Meditteranean (Spanish/Portuguese, Greek) and sushi (not too pricey!).
I'm looking forward to the advice and input of fellow 'hounds, and can't wait to eat in Chicago!
In Chicago - you should probably check out the Mexican scene. It starts of course with Rick Bayless with Topolobampo/Frontera Grill. He now has Xoco. There are a ton of other options.
There is Greek Town in Chicago, but frankly I've not been impressed.
IMHO take a pass on sushi in Chicago.
Places I would check out Mercat a la Planxa, Publican, The Gage, Sunda. I love Lou Malnati's for deep dish but also check out Piece.
For street food, you should check out Maxwell Street Market on Sunday morning (if it's still open - might be closed seasonally).
Some quick thoughts for you to consider - you can further "google" the restaurant names to learn more, and, also, click on the web-links I'm providing:
Persian (in place of Reza):
Deep Dish Pizza (in place of Gino’s East):
Lou Malnati’s (on Wells St.
Mexican – Birria (specialty of the state of Jalisco):