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Apr 14, 2010 12:21 PM

I need delicious food, my girl needs it casual, Hopleaf is our go-to but I want something new! Dinner date suggestions please!

We live in Lincoln Square and like to keep it relatively close.

I am a hard-core foodie and she AIN'T, lemme tell ya. No seafood: that's the biggest downer. And nothing with tiny fancy plates.

In general I'm looking for options that are similar to Hopleaf, or have off-the-chain cuisine, have a cozy-but-not-stiff atmosphere, aren't TOO expensive, and are good for gazing across the table.

Ethnic is good!

Please help! I love you, Chicago!

Hopleaf Bar
5148 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

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  1. Where have you been in L.S that you wouldn't want to go to again (or that she didn't like)? That might narrrow some choices down. Also, car, walk, or PT?

    LM - French but the menu doesn't look too crazy. Right by Bad Dog

    Spoon Thai - BYOB, not rushed, excellent food

    Pizza Art Cafe - BYOB wood fired pizza - laid back atomosphere but still romantic

    Spoon Thai
    4608 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

    1 Reply
    1. re: lbs

      I forgot about Cara Mio on Montrose/Ravenswood. BYOB Italian. The homemade pastas are out of this world. Also in that area is Mixecto which I haven't been to since the new chef so can't really wholeheartedly recommend but the last time I was there it was very good. Spacca Napoli is in that area but I'm not a fan of the pizza. However, scores of people are so YMMV

      Spacca Napoli
      1769 W Sunnyside Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

    2. Most places outside of the top-tier Downtown/Near North restaurants will be casual - so the world is your oyster. I've liked Pizza Art Cafe, suggested by lbs, and also Big Jones on Clark St. in Andersonville - to name just two of scores of possibilities with "cozy-but-not-stiff atmosphere."

      Big Jones

      Big Jones
      5347 N. Clark, Chicago, IL 60640

      1. What about the Brown Trout, Ante Prima, Marigold, Terragusto? I rarely venture north of Belmont so that is about all I can offer up aside from the hole-in-the-wall Korean, Indian, and Vietnamese restaurants in the ethnic neighborhoods. Other threads have discussed those areas in great detail so I won't start that debate again.

        1851 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613

        1. I agree with gomexico, Big Jones is excellent for their "Southern coastal cuisine". That would be my top pick, where you'll find exactly what you've described.

          Also, although LM is the "new kid on the block" among French bistros in Lincoln Square, Bistro Campagne is still good as well.

          And if you're going for breakfast/lunch/brunch, M. Henry is awesome.

          Bistro Campagne
          4518 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

          Big Jones
          5347 N. Clark, Chicago, IL 60640