Any good Italian/French BYOBs close to Grant Park/in the Loop?
Will be in town for the Bluesfest. Authentic food is important, no Olive Garden wannabes please!
Any help is sincerely appreciated.
In short, the answer is no. There are some good Italian (Vivere, Trattoria 10) and French (Everest) restaurants in the Loop, but they are not BYOB. It's possible they might let you bring a bottle in but would charge you a stiff corkage fee. Links:
However, there are some alternatives that might meet what you're looking for.
If you're not wedded to BYOB and just looking for a good meal without having to pay high prices for wine, I recommend going to La Sardine ( www.lasardine.com ) on a Monday night, when all bottles of wine are half price. La Sardine is an excellent French bistro in the West Loop, just west of the Loop. Le Bouchon ( www.lebouchonofchicago.com ), its sister restaurant in Bucktown/Wicker Park, offers the same deal.
Thanks nsxtasy. I'm in town only from Friday to Sunday but maybe LaSardine for lunch. Wher do you suggest for thin crust pizza form the Loop north to Evanston?Do you like Iberico for tapas? If you've never been to Urban Belly & enjoy Asian it's excellent.
Iberico Cafe & Bar
737 N La Salle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654
3053 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
At lunchtime, BYOB is probably less of a concern, because lunch is almost always cheaper than dinner, and because most folks don't drink much at lunch (although I'm not making judgments here). However, for weekends, make sure to check the hours of restaurants, especially in the Loop itself. Lots of Loop places are open for lunch during the week, but not on weekends.
La Sardine is west of the Loop, in a mini restaurant district, and is only open for lunch on weekdays, and is closed Sundays. Vivere is my top Italian pick in the Loop, but it too is only open for lunch on weekdays, and is closed Sundays. (If you go there, there are three restaurants in the complex called Italian Village; Vivere is on the ground floor.)
Here are a few Italian and French recommendations for weekend lunches and Sunday dinners. They are not in the Loop (where many places are closed at those times) but they are not far, either. For moderately-priced Italian, Cafe Spiaggia is as good as any place in Chicago. It is at the north end of the "Mag Mile" stretch of Michigan Avenue, so it's a mile north of the Loop. They are open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. www.cafespiaggia.com For French, Le Bouchon is open for lunch on Saturdays; it's four miles northwest of the Loop. www.lebouchonofchicago.com Bistro 110 is on the Mag Mile and is open for lunch and dinner every day (they do a nice brunch on Sundays). www.bistro110restaurant.com
I'm not the one to ask about thin crust, because I prefer deep-dish (as do most Chicagoans, according to surveys). Spacca Napoli offers authentic (and certified) neopolitan-style pizza, and Great Lake has gotten raves (but it's small and capacity is an issue).
Cafe Iberico in River North is good for tapas (but doesn't accept reservations). So is Mercat a la Planxa, which is in the Loop near Grant Park and is a bit more upscale. I've only been there for dinner, and have heard that it's not as impressive for lunch.