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May 10, 2010 09:23 AM

everest vs tru

quick question:

I have to make a reservation to 1 splurge restaurant and the only ones available are Everest on Friday or Tru on Saturday. Which would you recommend? Only 2 in the party have been to Chicago before. I'd like the food to be accessible (and delicious of course) and the service not to be pretentious.

Also, I need a more moderately priced restaurant. I was thinking either Cafe Spiaggia or Cafe des Architectes.


Cafe Spiaggia
980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

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

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  1. Rubysoma:

    I cannot comment on Everest. However, I had a wonderful meal at TRU a few months ago. I think it fits all of your criteria: accessible and delicious food with great service. I had langoustine, gnocchi (which was brought out as free course!) and venison followed by the dessert tasting. You can see the choices on their website. I had wine pairings and the sommelier really took the time to explain why he had paired certain wines with each dish. As I stated above, they brought me a free course of gnocchi and poured me a free half glass of wine to go with it. The service throughout was formal, but with a nice undercurrent of humor. I always ask a lot of questions about the food and they either had an immediate answer or went to ask the chef. I thought the dessert tasting was worth the $25 supplement to the prix fixe menu. I have only eaten at TRU once and I would definitely go again.

    Three nights later I had another excellent meal at Cafe Spiaggia. Of course, it's a very different atmosphere and cuisine than TRU. I had the sardines, a duck pasta, and some fish dish, followed by donuts. All of the dishes were excellent and the service was very nice. Once again, I had some nice wine pairings with the meal. It was about half the cost of TRU. I hope someone who has been to all of your possibilities will be able to make the contrasts that you need to make your decision.

    Cafe Spiaggia
    980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

    1. In both cases, you have two excellent choices, two of the very best in the city!

      Everest vs TRU: Everest has the great view looking out over the city from the 40th Floor. Both have outstanding wine lists, although Everest may be the more impressive. The service at both is excellent and not pretentious (again, I'd give a slight edge to Everest, where I have been amazed, the very best service I have experienced at any restaurant anywhere). TRU is a bit more expensive in my experience. The food at both is contemporary; TRU leans more towards contemporary American while Everest leans towards contemporary French-Alsatian. Maybe look at the sample menus on their websites and decide that way?

      Cafe Spiaggia vs Cafe des Architectes: The big difference is the type of food, and whether you prefer Italian or contemporary American. Both are outstanding and great values as well; IMHO the very best of each type of restaurant in the entire city. The service I've experienced at both has been efficient and friendly, although that is where the previous pair of expensive places distinguish themselves. Again, maybe the sample menus on their websites will help with the decision.

      1. Thanks for the quick replies! I really like the view from Everest (from what I hear), but I heard the food is better at Tru. Decisions ... decisions...

        Any recommendations on Mexican food since I can't get a reservation for any of Rick Bayless's restaurants?

        3 Replies
        1. re: rubysoma


          I'm won't try to compete with nsxtasy since his opinions are much more informed than mine! I had a great meal at the bar at Frontera Grill, but that might not be the most convenient for you. I had some fairly good food at Salpicon, but the service was rushed when the restaurant was only a third full. The dessert was not that great. At Frontera, even at the crowded bar the service was great, the food outstanding (especially the dessert).

          Frontera Grill
          445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

          1. re: rubysoma

            Hey, we're not competing; all opinions are welcome, and the more the merrier (even if we don't all always agree)!

            The thing to remember about Frontera Grill is that they hold most of the dining room available for walk-in traffic, rather than reservations. If you're there on a weeknight or for Saturday brunch, you may find that waiting times for a table aren't all that long. On a Friday or Saturday night, you can avoid long waits by arriving 10-20 minutes before they open the doors, if that timing works for you. So those may be some ways to enjoy going there without a reservation.

            Otherwise, there are other creative provincial Mexican restaurants around town. I like Salpicon ( ) in part because it's quite close to the downtown hotel areas. There are three other places I also enjoy and recommend as alternatives to the Bayless places, although they are not right downtown. Mundial Cocina Mestiza ( ) is in Pilsen, about three miles southwest of the Loop, and is convenient to public transportation (the 18th Street station on the CTA Pink Line). I love their steamed mussels slathered with chunks of bacon and poblano peppers. Mixteco Grill ( ) is on the north side, about five miles north of the Loop, not convenient to public transportation (you would have to transfer from the el to a CTA bus, see ). And Mexique ( ) is in West Town, three miles northwest of the Loop, and not that convenient to public transit (bus required); Mexique demonstrates a French influence on Mexican cuisine. Salpicon and Mexique accept reservations on; Mundial and Mixteco accept reservations over the phone. (And I recommend making them, as all of these places get busy on weekends.)


            Mundial Cocina Mestiza
            1640 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

            Frontera Grill
            445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

            Mixteco Grill
            1601 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

            1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

            1. re: rubysoma

              I have been to both Everest and TRU, and I actually liked the food at Everest better. The food at TRU was inconsistent in my opinion. There were a couple dishes in the tasting menu that were mediocre, or even unbalanced. But every dish I had at Everest was a hit. I'd pick Everest in a heartbeat if I were to make the decision purely on food.

              That said, TRU offers a handsome and spacious setting and very formal service. It is impressive, if that is what you look for in a fine dining experience.

            2. I'd pick Tru. I was there a little over a week ago and it was excellent. I'll also second the positive thoughts about Salpicon.

              1. I can't comment on Tru, but Everest fell out of favor with us. Not at all memorable (last 2 visits were very forgettable). Service is always excellent, just not especially fond of the menu.