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Apr 12, 2010 09:15 AM

Dinner Before Forrest Theater

I'm taking GF to see August: Osage County for her birthday and am wondering where to eat first -- something special. I've made a reservation at 10 Arts, but am wondering if it's worth the $ (the reviews haven't been stellar). I haven't been to CC in a while, what's new and noteworthy?

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  1. 10 Arts is pretty good but not worth the high prices. If I were you I'd go to Kanella instead, it's right around the corner from the theater, is fantastic, and will cost half as much.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead

      We've been to Kanella, which we like very much, but we want to try something new. It's not quite in the neighborhood, but I'm thinking Pumpkin...thoughts?

      1. re: hungry100

        How new is new? Pumpkin has been open a lot longer than Kanella. I haven't been to Pumpkin in years so I can't really count my previous experience (which was fine).

        Some new places in that area include Sampan and Zavino, I wouldn't recommend either over Kanella though. Chifa is pretty new and not far away at 7th and Chestnut, it's probably my least favorite of Jose's places but there are some great dishes to be had there.

        Mercato is not new but is another very good place near there.

        1. re: Buckethead

          I guess "new" in my book isn't a very good definition of new, since I haven't hit many "new" places in years, Kanella being the exception. Haven't been to Mercato.

          1. re: hungry100

            You could also try Percy St BBQ (good but casual) or Supper (more upscale), both on South St not too far from the theater.

    2. I've eaten at Amis twice now and really enjoyed it, I'd recommend that.

      Fish isn't too far away and I've heard lots of good things. Also, Meritage if you're up for a little more of a walk from the theater.

      2 Replies
      1. re: urbanfabric

        Mercato is awesome but can get crowded although before theater may be ok. It is BYOB, if you want with bar, the new expanded and new menu at Valanni is good. I would also suggest Estia.

        1. re: urbanfabric

          I was going to suggest Amis as well. Really good in my experience. Otherwise Mercato if you want BYOB.

        2. I've heard good things about Chops, 700 Walnut Street. That and Union Trust are both very attractive and have many options other than steak.

          We just had a wonderful meal at Valanni, on Spruce between 12th and 13th.
          Many small plates, and they were superb. The front is a large bar scene and very noisy, but it is less noisy in the back. We hadn't been there in a while and were pleasantly surprised.

          Pumpkin is okay but I wouldn't consider it very special. If you're going that far, both Fish and Meritage are excellent.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sylviag

            Sylviag, so funny because on a night that friends and i could not agree where to go, (and t was already late) Valanni's ended up the decision with me not so happy about it.....but it really is much better recently!

            1. re: bonappetite

              We were kind of stunned to see the chairs with no backs in the back room - we didn't think they would be comfortable. But they were fine, and it was quieter back there. Very attractive.
              But the big surprise was how good the food was. The striped bass with cous-cous was delicious. I'd like the recipe for that cous-cous, I never tasted any that good. The grilled romaine is always great, and I loved the brussel sprouts.
              They always have good desserts, but none of us got to that. We will definitely go back.

          2. I agree with the Mercato recommendation. Have had several wonderful pre-theater meals there. I'm pretty sure we were able to make reservations too.

            4 Replies
            1. re: cook262

              Mercato takes reservations for pre-theater:

              "Reservations are accepted for pre-theater seating, Sunday through Friday, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. We do not reserve parties larger than 6 on Fridays."

              Cash only though. I forgot about that.

                1. re: hungry100

                  Wow, in the past Mercato would've won hands down. Now I think you could base it on whether or not you want a BYOB (Mercato) or full service bar (Valanni). Mercato is smaller, quaint and has entire wall of open windows, open kitchen.
                  Valanni is more modern and hip, larger space with separate bar area. Would see if you could sit at table by the big open window.
                  Let us know what you decide and how it all works out. BTW, if Mercato has artichokes and you like them, always get raves and they are great.
                  Valanni seems more eclectic, urban vibe as well if that would be a consideration.