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Dec 5, 2009 09:28 PM

Dinner near Congress Theater -- HELP!!

My husband and I are visiting beautiful Chicago at the end of next week. Usually, our trips there take us to the Gold Coast, but this time, we are going to attend an event at the Congress Theater, and we have NO IDEA where to eat. We generally like ethnic food in a non-ratty (does not need to be fancy though) location. Expensive or cheap would both be OK. We are staying on N. Michigan, and we will not have a car, so that might affect your recommendations, too. Thank you, thank you!

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  1. I like the Mexican food at Fuego, which is just a block down the street from the Congress. Exactly what you're looking for - ethnic food in a nice (but casual) place. Recommended - their regular mole sauce is excellent, and they always have a "mole of the week" as well.

    For an expensive option near the Congress, I've heard good things about Bonsoiree but have not been there.

    You can make reservations at either of these places over the internet at

    5 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      I had to look twice and then google the Congress Theater. I was thinking it would be on South Michigan Ave. And I live in the 'hood,

      This is the land of interesting restaurants. I have a couple of other good ideas for you.

      Urban Shack is a little dive under the "el" at Milwaukee, Western and Armitage with wonderful Latin/├ůsian fusion food. It's cheap, BYO (there's a liquor store on the corner) and really excellent. Mado on Milwaukee Ave, just west of Damen is a wonderful mom and pop/farm-to-table option. There's also Francesco's Forno on the Corner of Milwaukee, Damen and North. It's part of a local Italian chain, but almost always well appreciated. And you might enjoy Irazu, the only Costa Rican Restaurant in the city, also on Milwaukee. It may also be BYO so check.

      You might get more ideas here:

      1. re: chicgail

        >> Urban Shack is a little dive

        I think you mean Belly Shack, the counter-service restaurant from Bill Kim and his family who also own Urban Belly. :)

        Also, the OP should be aware that Milwaukee and Damen is about a mile from the Congress, and at this time of year, walking a mile can be less than pleasant. (I would have mentioned Lula, but it too is about a mile from the Congress.) It's about a half mile to Cafe Matou (French bistro, ), the Real Tenochtitlan (another Mexican restaurant, ), and the previously-mentioned Irazu ( ).

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Thanks, nsxtasy. I mixed up Belly Shack and Urban Belly and came up with Urban Shack. Maybe Bill Kim will want to use that name for his next restaurant.

          1. re: chicgail

            Thanks for all the recs! People from Chicago are so nice!

      2. re: nsxtasy

        Thank you -- Fuego sounds great, and I LOVE that you can make reservations. I'm a little bit of a control freak, I think.

      3. Try 90 Mile Cafe on Armitage just west of Milwaukee. Pretty good Cuban food reasonable prices too. Fun, Casual atmosphere and clean. Stopped there for lunch about a week ago service was good and our sandwiches were delicious. Nice replacement for the nasty bbq joint that was there previous.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulhollyus2

          Thank goodness I missed the nasty BBQ -- being vegetarian, that would be a double whammy!