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Feb 1, 2010 09:34 PM

Looking for Saturday night dinner for 14, ages 17 y.o. hipster to 80+ meat and potatoes grandma, plus a couple vegetarians.

Hello fellow foodies,
Lived in Chicago and environs for about 20 years, so have some familiarity. We will be staying downtown near Water Tower Place and seeing an afternoon matinee up in Evanston at NU that day. Need a place for 14 for dinner that night. Want fun, hip and good, but not too experimental as Grandma will be with us as well and needs something she can recognize as food. Considering going on the early side, on the way back from the show...could arrive at restaurant as early as 530 or 6. Something between Evanston and Gold Coast is best option.
Thanks for any recs you can provide.

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  1. I'd suggest eating within a few blocks of your hotel on North Michigan Avenue. No need to make two trips out of it. (I'd suggest a place in Evanston but I suspect you'd be there too early.)

    I'll recommend three places. First, David Burke's Primehouse is at Rush and Ohio. It's known as a steakhouse, and the steaks are indeed among the best in the city, but they have so much more, including seafood and a very contemporary menu. It also has a very contemporary and hip decor, unlike the "men's club" atmosphere at many steakhouses.

    Second is Cafe des Architectes, just a block or two from Water Tower Place. They serve contemporary American cuisine (and IMHO some of the very best in the city); however, along with all their creative dishes, Grandma will also find traditional favorites like beef tenderloin and delmonico steak. The atmosphere is hip and modern; the restaurant is in the front of the gorgeous Sofitel, with its curving glass facade.

    Third, Cafe Spiaggia is a terrific mid-priced Italian restaurant at the north end of Michigan Ave, at Oak Street.

    1. I don't see how you could go far wrong with Reza's at Clark & Berwyn. 1) It lies right on your route from Evanston back into town. 2) It is huge and can easily accommodate a party of 14, although I'd call ahead to reserve as Reza's is very popular in the neighborhood. 3) Food would appeal to everyone. It is Persian, which is mostly huge portions of excellent rice with plain grilled beef, lamb, chicken, shrimp, scallops, or what you will, though they have interesting dishes like Fessanjan for the more adventurous, and a lot of vegetarian dishes. too. 4) It will have appeal for whoever is paying the bill as prices are modest. See menu by going to "chicago restaurant menus". If you call to reserve, ask about parking. I think sometimes they use the lot of Alamo Shoes when the store is closed, at least they used to.

      1. You should really check out the menus on the restaurant websites to see whether they have options that would be "recognizable" to Grandma. I'm guessing that Reza's wouldn't qualify, but you can look at the menu on their website at and decide for yourself.

        2 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          I see several things on Reza's menu that would appeal to a grandma, steak, chicken and lamb as well as seafood. We like Reza's a lot because my vegetarian partner has many options while I can satisfy my meat cravings. Service has always been friendly and very helpful in explaining anything that might be unfamiliar.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Grandma wouldn't recognize plain rice and plain grilled chicken?

          2. Eclectic / Southern / Cajun:
            The Wishbone on Lincoln and School in Lakeview is not just for breakfast anymore! They have a cool bar/dining room that is separate from the noisy main breakfast/lunch dining area. There are plenty of options for all! You can't beat the quality of the food for the prices, plus a fun, eclectic atmosphere!

            Updated traditional Mexican:
            Los Nopales on Western Avenue in Lincoln Square. Lot's of great options for all.

            1 Reply
            1. re: amoncada

              You'll find menus, so you can decide for yourself whether they're what you're looking for, at: