Steak & Italian recs near Fairmont Hotel
Will be in town for three nights next week. Looking for Italian and Steakhouse recommendations in the Fairmont Hotel vicinity. Researched threads and they seem a little dated. One night I plan to get pizza at either Bacino's or Pizano's. Trying to fill in the other two. I realize steak in Chicago is like pizza, many opinions. Some additional info to help with recs. Looking for "red sauce" Italian. Good food, nice atmosphere, unpretentious is fine. Trying to find something within a reasonable cab ride from hotel. Prefer that the steak house has a track record with the poster. Hoping the rec will be based on several visits. Not concerned with atmosphere so much as food quality. Any assistance is appreciated on what I know can be an opinionated topic. Hoping that the limited radius from hotel helps(?).
For traditional red sauce Italian downtown you might want to give Harry Caray's a look. Decent steaks, too. Anyway, a lot of people seem to like it:
But for that version of Italian, I prefer the neighborhoods. Vernon Park Tap is short cab ride away:
A bit further away, but also popular is Sabatino's, here:
Here are two steak recommendations. The first one is Aria, the restaurant inside the Fairmont. It specializes in Asian cuisine rather than steak, but the food is quite varied. Last time I ate there, they had a smoked prime rib special and it was delicious, so they know what they're doing with steaks. They also have filet and ribeye on the menu. www.ariachicago.com
However, if you want a "pure" steakhouse, get thee to David Burke's Primehouse. They dry age their steaks and they're the best in the city. From the Fairmont, it's three blocks west and five blocks north (a little over half a mile), so you could walk it if the weather isn't dreadful. www.jameshotels.com/Chicago-Hotel.aspx?name=The-James-Chicago&page=Primehouse
For pizza, you should decide whether you want the single crust "pizza in the pan" or the double-crust "stuffed" pizza. If you want the single crust "pizza in the pan", I'd suggest going to the original Pizzeria Uno or Pizzeria Due ( www.unos.com ) since they're just as close (7 blocks) as Pizano's ( www.pizanoschicago.com ). For double-crust "stuffed pizza", I'd suggest Giordano's ( www.giordanos.com ) which is right across the street from the Fairmont in Prudential Plaza, rather than Bacino's ( www.bacinos.com/WACKER/about.html ). All are good, though, so if you'd rather go to Pizano's or Bacino's, that's fine too. Wherever you go, phone ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake.
For Italian, Coco Pazzo Cafe ( www.cocopazzocafe.com ), a few blocks north of the Fairmont, is the closest decent place. If you don't mind going a little further, I think the two best mid-priced Italian restaurants in the city are Vivere ( www.vivere-chicago.com ), 7 blocks southwest of the Fairmont in the Italian Village complex in the Loop, and Cafe Spiaggia ( www.cafespiaggia.com ), a mile north of the Fairmont at the north end of Michigan Avenue.
All of the above, other than the pizza places, accept reservations on Opentable.com
I'd go for Volare. It's old-school, and delicious.
It's walking distance if it's not below zero and it's a nice walk. You have to walk downstairs from Michigan Ave. (east side, or your right as you walk up Michigan) at Grand. You'll see Volare from the bottom of the stairs. One of Chicago's hidden treasures, IMO.
It's kinda loud, with big parties sharing family-style food. But the food is delicious. And they're open 7 nights.