Have Done Shaw's and Gibsons - need a new recommendation!
Taking some business associates out to dinner in Chicago in late February. Have had great meals at Shaw"s and Gibsons and am looking for something new. Open to suggestions and not too concerned about budget. The dinner crew is in their late 30's early 40's. I will be staying in and around the Gold Coast area but not limited for the right spots/recommendations.
This really depends on your personal preference for kinds of food, types of place, etc. Shaw's is a fairly noisy seafood restaurant and Gibson's is a fairly noisy steakhouse, so it's tough to discern what kind of place you're looking for (unless you're looking for another fairly noisy place, LOL!). Nothing against either of those - they're among our best seafood and steakhouses, respectively - but there are so many places in Chicago, even just in the Gold Coast, Michigan Avenue, and River North areas, that I can only guess how to narrow them down. But here are some suggestions in various dining categories in that geographic area, nice places where you would be comfortable dining with business associates. And I'll limit myself to places other than seafood and steakhouses, so this will give you ideas for something a little bit different from where you've already dined together.
CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN - Several excellent places are in that area. My absolute favorite is Cafe Des Architectes ( www.cafedesarchitectes.com ), in the beautiful Sofitel. The food is sinfully good. Other good choices nearby include MK ( www.mkchicago.com ) and Naha ( www.naha-chicago.com ). One more possibility is a bit more distant, about a mile and a half north of the Gold Coast. North Pond ( www.northpondrestaurant.com ) has excellent cuisine, and is also noteworthy for its exquisite, unique location. It's in the middle of Lincoln Park - the park itself, not the adjacent neighborhood of the same name - and faces its namesake pond, with the city skyline rising over the opposite shore. It's a local treasure, regardless of whether you're eating in the front room with the big windows facing the pond, or the rear room with the open kitchen along one side.
ITALIAN - There are several excellent Italian restaurants in that area. Spiaggia ( www.spiaggiarestaurant.com ) is in a league of its own; it's a very expensive and dressy (jackets required) splurge restaurant. Next door is Cafe Spiaggia (same website), which IMHO is the best moderately-priced Italian restaurant in the city. Also close by, and priced in between those two places, are Pane Caldo ( www.pane-caldo.com ) and Merlo on Maple ( www.merlochicago.com ).
MEXICAN - My first thought was Topolobampo ( www.rickbayless.com/restaurants ) but they have been booking up well in advance lately. I see there are no openings on Opentable right now for the last Saturday in February. So instead I'd recommend Salpicon ( www.salpicon.com ). Upscale Mexican food with an emphasis on creative provincial dishes.
FRENCH BISTRO - We have several good ones in that area, including Kiki's ( www.kikisbistro.com ), Brasserie Jo ( www.brasseriejo.com ), Cyrano's ( www.cyranosbistrot.com ), and Bistro 110 ( www.levyrestaurants.com ).
UPSCALE ETHNIC - In addition to restaurants mentioned above, these include Shanghai Terrace (Chinese - http://chicago.peninsula.com ), Vermilion (Latin-Indian - www.thevermilionrestaurant.com ), Le Colonial (Vietnamese - www.lecolonialchicago.com ), and Nacional 27 (Latin fusion - www.nacional27.net ). Two more just a bit further, south of the river in/near the Loop, are Aria (pan-Asian - www.ariachicago.com ) and Mercat a la Planxa (Spanish-Catalan tapas - www.mercatchicago.com ).
All of the above restaurants accept reservations on Opentable.com
So these are a few ideas, with places to consider in each category. Let us know if you're looking for something else and we can try to help you out.
This is just one of the best replies I have ever gotten on this board. Thank you nsxtasy, it is people like you that make Chowhound one of my favorites! I loved these recommendations, especially North Pond. I also liked you highlighted the Sofitel restaurant, I tend to stay there but have never dined!