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Good food near W Hotel Lakeshore - well traveled business group would prefer to walk and looking for something really good and not too touristy

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Good food near W Hotel Lakeshore - well traveled business group would prefer to walk and looking for something really good and not too touristy - price not the issue but would prefer a relaxing (somewhat hip -not large formal dinning room ) atmosphere - like all kinds of food esp. 'bistro' style. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thank you.

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  1. Because the W is a half mile east of Michigan Avenue, it's a bit further from the big concentration of excellent restaurants near the "Mag Mile". Here are the closest to the W; I'll include approximate walking distances:

    Emilio's Sol y Nieve (tapas) - 0.3 mile - www.emiliostapas.com
    Markethouse (contemporary American) - 0.3 mile - www.markethousechicago.com
    Coco Pazzo Cafe (Italian) - 0.4 mile - www.cocopazzocafe.com
    Le Petit Paris (French bistro) - 0.4 mile - www.lepetitparis.net
    C-House (contemporary American) - 0.4 mile - www.c-houserestaurant.com
    Sayat Nova (Armenian) - 0.4 mile - www.sayatnovachicago.com

    There are many, many more places if you consider a half mile or more to be walking distance, but these are still good choices.

    Also, it's not something you asked about, but Fox & Obel, our premier gourmet grocery store, is VERY close to the W. In addition to things like the finest meats, fish, cheeses, etc that may not be of interest to a visitor from out of town, they have wonderful baked goods (don't miss their cinnamon swirl rolls!) as well as sandwiches, salads, and other prepared foods. They also have a cafe (nothing fancy, just your basic coffeehouse atmosphere) in the rear of the store where you can get anything from a cup of coffee to a complete meal prepared to order. www.fox-obel.com

    5 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      This is great! Thank you. I don't mind walking a mile + and we do have transportation if you have a few more recommendations.
      Also just looked up fox-obel - thanks lookds great.

      1. re: eatwellbehappy

        Okay, here's more info, hope it's helpful.

        The question, of course, is how much better a place that's further away is, compared with one that's close. I would still stick with the above recommendations of Sol y Nieve for tapas, Le Petit Paris for French bistro (although Brasserie Jo and Kiki's are also very good), and Sayat Nova for Armenian. The "big" categories are contemporary American, and Italian - and we have A LOT of excellent restaurants in both these categories.

        For contemporary American, I really love Cafe des Architectes, which is in the ground floor of the curved glass facade of the Sofitel, about 0.9 mile away. The food there is the thing, with Chef Martial Noguier working his magic; I've just loved it every time I've been there. Not that this is all that important to you, but it's also a bargain; in addition to their a la carte menu, they also have a prix fixe menu, 3 courses for $42, every night, and on Sundays through Tuesdays, they have a limited "neighborhood friends menu" with 3 courses for $29. www.cafedesarchitectes.com

        For Italian, my previous recommendation of Coco Pazzo Cafe is good, but there are better places in town. I think the best moderately-priced Italian restaurant in Chicago is Cafe Spiaggia, which is about 0.8 mile away. It shares its www.cafespiaggia.com website with its super-expensive, super-fancy sister restaurant, Spiaggia, next door, so on the website make sure you click on CAFE. Another excellent place is Coco Pazzo, the more expensive sibling of Coco Pazzo Cafe, but it's a bit further, 1.1 mile. www.cocopazzochicago.com

        I think Frontera Grill and Topolobampo are worth a mention, too, although they are a bit more active and noisy than the relaxing place you say you're looking for. These are creative provincial Mexican restaurants from Rick Bayless. Frontera Grill accepts only a handful of reservations and keeps most of the restaurant for walk-in traffic; waits for seating tend to be long on weekends, not so bad during the week. Topolobampo accepts reservations but is significantly more expensive. Both are good bets for lunch during the week, when the prices of the two are similar to each other, and Frontera Grill is open for brunch on Saturdays. One mile from the W. www.rickbayless.com/restaurants

        One more place worth considering is Aria, in the Fairmont Hotel, across the river from the W (you can cross on Columbus Drive, then enter the Fairmont on the lower level). They specialize in pan-Asian cuisine although they also have mainstream dishes like steaks. Classy yet casual and relaxing. 0.8 mile www.ariachicago.com

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Thank you! This is great - I'm on my way!

          1. re: eatwellbehappy

            bumping this thread - may I ask if these are currently still correct and may I also ask for some more affordable options? Staying at the W Hotel Lakeshore, looking for ideas, usually happy to walk and/or take CTA. Also does Cafe des Architectes still do the Sunday to Tuesday bit - I don't see that or another prix fixe on their website (but maybe I didn't hunt it down yet).

            I think I can afford a yogurt from Fox and Obel for breakfast on days when I will have time for lunch - and something more on other days. Need some special bargains and ethnic spots for lunch/dinner.

            Also is there any agreement on where to get a good Chicago deep dish pizza?

            -----
            Cafe des Architectes
            20 East Chestnut Street, Chicago, IL 60611

            1. re: Sushicat

              >> may I ask if these are currently still correct and may I also ask for some more affordable options?

              Yes, the above recommendations are still current. And most of them are quite affordable. You could also consider Sayat Nova for moderately-priced Armenian food.

              >> does Cafe des Architectes still do the Sunday to Tuesday bit - I don't see that or another prix fixe on their website (but maybe I didn't hunt it down yet).

              Yes, they still serve their "neighborhood friends menu" Sundays through Tuesdays, although the price has gone up to $32. You can find a sample menu by going to their website at www.cafedesarchitectes.com and clicking on HAPPENINGS. Near the bottom of the resulting web page, there's a section on "Neighborhood Friends".

              >> I think I can afford a yogurt from Fox and Obel for breakfast on days when I will have time for lunch - and something more on other days. Need some special bargains and ethnic spots for lunch/dinner.

              For a discussion of special bargains including some of our ethnic specialties, check out this discussion:

              Where are the best Chicago dinner *values* - the hidden gems? - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/697829

              >> Also is there any agreement on where to get a good Chicago deep dish pizza?

              I think the best places are the original locations of Uno and Due in River North, as well as Pizano's and Lou Malnati's, both of which were founded by one of the main players in the early decades of Uno and Due. Uno and Due are the closest of these to the W Lakeshore. Phone ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake.