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Recommendation for dinner downtown?

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Before our group joins us in Chicago, my 14 year old son and I will have a Friday night dinner for two. He's an adventurous eater and we are both foodies. I'm looking for excellent food but not necessarily fine dining -maybe a step down. We like almost all foods and especially enjoy Asian and Greek. We also like to eat the local cuisine. Probably not French, Italian or seafood as we have very good versions of those near home. I'd like to stay around $100, b/f my glass or two of wine, and would like to be able to walk from our hotel (Fairfield Inn on East Ontario).

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  1. My top recommendation would be Frontera Grill, for creative provincial Mexican cuisine from acclaimed chef Rick Bayless. However, you may need to wait for a while for your table. Frontera Grill only accepts a handful of reservations, and holds most of the dining room for walk-in traffic. Waiting times for a table can be lengthy on weekend evenings. To be certain of avoiding a long wait, you can arrive around 4:45 and when they open at 5:00 you'll be seated immediately. It's about five blocks west of the Fairfield Inn. Check out the menu on their website at www.rickbayless.com/restaurants and you'll see how different the food is from conventional Mexican as it's commonly found in most American cities.

    I can also recommend these other interesting, very good places within a 5-10 minute walk of the Fairfield Inn that are within your stated price range:

    Sunda (pan-Asian) - www.sundachicago.com
    Heaven on Seven (cajun/creole) - www.heavenonseven.com (Rush St location)
    Emilio's Sol y Nieve (tapas) - www.emiliostapas.com
    Nacional 27 (Latin fusion) - www.nacional27.net
    Sayat Nova (Armenian) - www.sayatnovachicago.com

    One more nearby place is recently opened and I haven't yet been there, but has been getting a lot of good press:

    The Purple Pig (pork/Mediterranean) - www.thepurplepigchicago.com

    3 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Thanks, nsxtasy. Frontera would likely be a real treat for us as we are from New Orleans and most mexican is pretty lame here. Is there a place to wait if we arrive at, say, 6pm? I'm guessing 30 minutes or so for two?

      1. re: GTCmom

        Yes, they have quite a large bar area where you can wait. I'm not sure about the wait time but that's about what I would have guessed; you can call them and ask if you want to make sure.

        P.S. Sorry about the recommendation for Heaven on Seven; I never would have mentioned it if I had realized where you were from. :)

        1. re: nsxtasy

          No worries, nsxtasy. Thanks for your help. We might just have to go early to Frontera or wait a bit-it sounds too good to pass up.