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Lunch & dinner this weekend on Michigan Ave.

m
Marnatee Nov 16, 2009 05:35 AM

My husband and I are getting away for the weekend. We're staying near the river and Michigan Ave. and would like to have dinner somewhere close to our hotel or within walking distance. We don't want to break the bank for dinner, but want to spend somewhere in the $20-$30 range per person. I know I need a reservation so I'm hoping to find a place now, rather than "winging-it" while we're there. I'm not as particular about the type of cuisine, just as long as it's good!

Places I've thought about are:

Bandera
Catch 35
Fogo de Chao
Quartino

I'd love to go to a quaint smallish place that isn't a chain, however it seems like they're all more like in the $60-$100 per person range and I'm just not willing to spend that on dinner.

Any suggestions?

Also, we're going to the Millenium Park area on Sunday and need a good place for lunch. I'd love suggestions for that as well.

Thanks a bunch!

  1. m
    Marnatee Nov 17, 2009 08:29 AM

    Thank you all so much for your input! We have come to Chicago for the lights festival weekend a few times before, and are so excited to do it again in the wonderful windy city!!!
    We're gonna do a pizza for sure - probably at Pizano's - just because of the close location to Millineum Park. Dinner is still uncertain, but I am leaning towards Brassierie Jo or Quartino.

    Thanks again!!!

    -----
    Quartino
    626 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

    2 Replies
    1. re: Marnatee
      f
      fooddoggie Nov 19, 2009 03:31 PM

      I'm sorry but I think Quartino is awful. Why do people eat there? Subpar for Italian.
      Brasserie Jo is much nicer, higher quality ingredients, more sophisticated. No comparison there. . I also recommend Shaw's and Coco Pazzo. Near Millennium Park I recommend the Atwood Cafe in the Burnham Hotel - beautiful historic environment.

      1. re: fooddoggie
        nsxtasy Nov 19, 2009 04:12 PM

        I think some people like Quartino for the lively atmosphere, and others like it for the low prices associated with the small plates concept. Just guessing. I don't think it's bad, although it's not the best Italian in town (which I'd consider Cafe Spiaggia, Coco Pazza, and Vivere, all of which are a bit more expensive than Quartino).

        Coco Pazzo is, not surprisingly, the sister restaurant to Coco Pazzo Cafe, which I mentioned above. The Cafe is a bit less expensive, whereas its "big sister" may strain your stated price target; also, the Cafe is near your hotel and Coco Pazzo proper is a bit further away, about a half mile west.

        I like Atwood Cafe too - good recommendation. On Sundays for lunch they serve from their brunch menu, which you can see on their website at www.atwoodcafe.com

    2. e
      esmith3 Nov 16, 2009 01:58 PM

      I absolutely must suggest you try authentic stuffed crust Chicago style pizza. My husband and I have tried almost every stuffed crust pizza place, apart from Uno's, and have unanimously decided that Bella Bacinos on Wacker is THE best pizza in the city. A small stuffed crust pizza is more than two people can usually handle, but my husband and I usually order a medium and end up with about a slice or two to take home. I also love the atmosphere!
      http://www.bacinos.com/WACKER/about.html

      -----
      Bacino's
      75 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

      Bella Bacinos
      75 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

      3 Replies
      1. re: esmith3
        nsxtasy Nov 16, 2009 02:27 PM

        Chicago deep-dish pizza does indeed come in two versions, both of which are delicious: (a) the single-crust "pizza in the pan" served at Pizano's (near Millennium Park) and the original Uno and Due (near your hotel), and (b) the double-crust "stuffed" pizza served at Giordano's (in Prudential Plaza near Millennium Park, and which I like best) and Bacino's (near your hotel). The previous advice about phoning ahead with your pizza order applies to ALL of these places.

        1. re: nsxtasy
          c
          chris in illinois Nov 16, 2009 03:28 PM

          I'm in town this weekend as well and have been for ten years now (convention) and have had either Bacino's or Giordanos each year and will say that both are excellent and that you really can't go wrong with either.

          Just an FYI, there is a humongous convention centered around the Hyatt on Wacker from Wed-Sun this week that has 15,000 attendees over the five days....reservations, reservations, reservations.

          I know that Heaven on Seven (on Rush) doesn't have the best rep on this board, but for those of us who miss NO terribly it is a reasonable substitute. I also like Dao Thai on Ohio and Columbus, but haven't ever heard much from the real experts on this board about it.

          Enjoy the trip!!

          -----
          Bacino's
          75 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

          Heaven on Seven
          600 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

          Dao Thai Restaurant
          230 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

          1. re: chris in illinois
            nsxtasy Nov 16, 2009 04:04 PM

            >> reservations, reservations, reservations.

            Good advice! Note that many Chicago restaurants accept reservations on Opentable.com ; it's an easy way to see at a glance what's available for any particular date and time, and can be very convenient to use. (If there's a particular place you're interested in and it shows no availability on Opentable, it's still worth phoning as they sometimes set aside a few openings for call-ins.)

      2. nsxtasy Nov 16, 2009 06:15 AM

        The best and most appropriate of the places you've listed is Quartino, which is an excellent choice. Catch 35 is a bit pricier than you've specified, but it's good if you enjoy seafood (as is Shaw's Crab House, also nearby). Other places in the area worth considering, based on what you're looking for, include Brasserie Jo (French bistro), Coco Pazzo Cafe (Italian), and Bin 36 (wine bar). If you enjoy ethnic food, consider Sol y Nieve (tapas) or Sayat Nova (Armenian).

        For lunch near Millennium Park, I recommend Park Grill, right at the entrance to the park, for burgers, salads, etc. Also nearby, if you'd like authentic Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, are Pizano's on Madison (phone ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for it to bake), and the Gage, a gastropub.

        Website links:
        Quartino - www.quartinochicago.com
        Catch 35 - www.catch35.com
        Shaw's Crab House - www.shawscrabhouse.com
        Brasserie Jo - www.brasseriejo.com
        Coco Pazzo Cafe - www.cocopazzocafe.com
        Bin 36 - www.bin36.com
        Sol y Nieve - www.emiliostapas.com
        Sayat Nova - www.sayatnovachicago.com
        Park Grill - www.parkgrillchicago.com
        Pizano's - www.pizanoschicago.com
        The Gage - www.thegagechicago.com

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