Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
May 3, 2010 09:24 AM

Sex in the City weekend

We 3 middle-aged women are meeting in Chicago (me from LA, they from Philly) for the Art Institute graduation in 2 weeks. We're billing this as SITC except without the great clothes/shoes. Oh, and no sex. Otherwise, exactly like SITC. We're staying at the Palmer House and will be taking taxis.

Friday night we're committed to a group dinner at Exchecquer where class members hung out back-in-the-day when it was a different restaurant. Saturday we need a not-too-fancy lunch idea (we'll have about an hour) near the Architecture Institute River Cruise pier, please.

Saturday night we're open. Now that I'm looking on CH I realize I should have made a reservation months ago. If we went to Frontera Grill at 6:30 p.m. - would their bar be a comfortable place to hang out? Would it be more than an hour wait for a table? I can't call today as they're closed Monday's, but assume Rick Bayless' fine dining resturant is booked.

Any other ideas? We will have had pizza the night before so was thinking not Italian but does Exchecquer feel like a pizza place and not Italian and therefore we could do Cafe Spiaggia or Vivere on Saturday? Coming from LA, I'd rather not do Asian, but am willing to do Mexican as that's such a wasteland for my east coast friends.

Sunday we're taking the Chicago Food Planet Tour which I think should hold us for dinner. If not, we're going to Second City so wonder if there's a casual place you'd recommend near there? Thanks so much.

We're spending Monday at the Art Institute before heading home and will eat at their fine didning restaurant unless you suggest otherwise. Thanks so much.

Frontera Grill
445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

Cafe Spiaggia
980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

71 W Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A great place for lunch before your tour would be Fulton's on the River, where you can sit outside and enjoy a lunch of oysters and champagne...which is oh-so-SITC. Frontera will be a nightmare, and you'll most likely have to wait 2-3 hours. No joke. You can make a reservation at Topolobampo, which is Rick's upscale restaurant. Other good spots would be Mirai, Carnivale or Blackbird. There are several restaurants near Second City, but it's certainly not Chicago's premier foodie neighborhood. Try Adobo Grill or Trattoria Roma, or if you're willing to walk further North, the Indian Grill is outstanding.

    445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

    2020 W. Division St., Chicago, IL 60622

    Indian Grill
    2258 N Clark St Ste 5, Chicago, IL 60614

    702 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60661

    4 Replies
    1. re: EdibleHumor

      Thanks for steering me clear of Frontera. Yikes! After 2-3 hours in a bar I assume we wouldn't make it to the table. I was going to try Topolobampo but assume they'd be booked so close to the date, but will check out the others. And thanks so much for the pier and Second City recs.

      445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

      1. re: mocro

        You can eat at the bar at Frontera. And order off either menu. Also, they do take limited reservations so it is worth your time to call and see. Get there when the doors open and see if you can snag a table that way.

        1. re: lbs

          Thanks for everyone's advice. I'm waitlisted at Topolobampo and Frontera and have a confirmed reservation at Carnivale which sounds fun too. What would I do w/out CH? Thank you!

          445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

          702 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60661

          1. re: mocro

            if you end up not being able to get into topolobampo or frontera, you could always go to Xoco ( for lunch before your architectural boat tour. that way you could try some more casual rick bayless food. they have really good tortas and caldos.
            Tuesday–Thursday: 7am–9pm
            Friday: 7am–10pm
            Saturday: 8am–10pm
            Sunday–Monday: Closed

    2. From the website of the Chicago Architecture Foundation at :

      "The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise departs from the dock of the Chicago’s First Lady Cruise line. The dock is located at the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Drive, across the street from the Fannie May candy shop."

      For your Saturday lunch, South Water Kitchen ( ) is very close and so is Billy Goat Tavern ( ) on Michigan. Two other places just a few blocks further are Atwood Cafe ( ) and Rockit ( ). Don't go to Fulton's on the River, since it's not open for lunch on Saturdays.

      For your Saturday dinners, it sounds like you're on top of things. Carnivale is a good choice.

      You probably shouldn't add in another Italian restaurant since you'll be having one meal of pizza and you'll also be going to Terzo Piano (the restaurant in the Art Institute run by Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia) for lunch on Monday.

      Enjoy your visit, and feel free to ask more questions!

      1 Reply
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Thanks for the advice and for the save re Fulton's on Saturday.