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help with restaurants near Palmer House

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Coming to Chicago for the labor day jazz fest. When we came for same in 2008, my chowhound board research and your replies to my post suggested the following restaurants (among others) within close walking distance of our hotel.
Atwood Cafe, Trattoria 10, Rhapsody, Park Grill, The Gage, Russian Tea time
We had dinner at Atwood and Park Grill in 2008. Both excellent overall experiences. Slight preference for the Park Grill. Although we're comfortable with the option of re-visiting those restaurants, I'm wondering what you'd recommend from the list found above or additional suggestions in the event we'd like to try some different restaurants. We'll be in town for 3 dinners. Lunches will be informal or grab and go. I've read many recs for Pizzano's nearby, so we'll keep that in mind if we're in the mood for a pizza lunch or late night snack. I'd also appreciate your tips for best Chicago dog and italian beef if available in our vicinity. Due to our busy schedule, please limit your suggestions to close proximity of hotel/art institute/jazz fest. As to preferred price point for dinner for 2, I'd say approximately $120-$150 including 2 drinks each (or bottle of wine) and tip (if that's possible). We're open to many different cuisines, although we're not interested in expensive fine dining options. Contemporary American with good seafood choices tends to work well for us, but no need to limit your suggestions to that style. Lastly, I enjoy excellent micro/craft beers, so restaurant or pub suggestions with selections beyond the typical Bud/Miller/Heineken fare will be appreciated. Above average wine by the glass list, not too over-priced, also a plus. Thanks!

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  1. >> Atwood Cafe, Trattoria 10, Rhapsody, Park Grill, The Gage, Russian Tea time
    We had dinner at Atwood and Park Grill in 2008. Both excellent overall experiences.

    All of those places are still around and still good. Heather Terhune, the chef and the force behind Atwood Cafe, has moved on to Sable, in River North (north of the Loop where you're looking for suggestions) and has been replaced at Atwood by Derek Simcik, who is carrying on the same tradition.

    One place you haven't mentioned, and worth considering, is Vivere, the finer dining restaurant in the Italian Village complex a couple of blocks from the Palmer House. They are an Italian restaurant but their food also covers contemporary American; last time I was there I started with carrot-ginger soup and then had one of the best duck breasts in my life. The decor is glitzy/glam; also worth noting is that they are very busy up till around 7:15, when a lot of people leave for the theater, and it becomes a bit quieter and more relaxed after that. www.vivere-chicago.com

    Two other, newer places are worth considering. About four blocks south of the Palmer House is Mercat a la Planxa, an excellent tapas restaurant that opened a couple of years ago, probably around the time of your last visit. www.mercatchicago.com Four blocks north of the Palmer House is the new Wit Hotel. The restaurant there is called Cibo Matto and, in the same vein as Vivere, it is an Italian restaurant with a lot of contemporary American menu items. When I ate there a few weeks ago, I had veal sweetbreads (just so-so, were overpowered by lemon), braised short ribs of beef (excellent), a side dish of polenta (excellent), and the standout of the meal, a wonderful dessert composition whose main item was an amazing cardamom mascarpone panna cotta. Cibo Matto is on the second floor, not to be confused with their rooftop bar called The Roof. http://cibomatto.therestaurantsatthew...

    One last possibility in the contemporary American arena is Custom House Tavern, which is about five blocks south of the Palmer House. However, they have been going through a succession of three chef changes in the past year, with the new chef scheduled to take charge on September 1, so I think for purposes of your Labor Day trip this year it would be better to go to a place where the chef has settled in by now. www.customhouse.cc

    >> I've read many recs for Pizzano's nearby, so we'll keep that in mind if we're in the mood for a pizza lunch or late night snack.

    Yup. Don't forget, you can phone ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake. www.pizanoschicago.com

    >> I enjoy excellent micro/craft beers, so restaurant or pub suggestions with selections beyond the typical Bud/Miller/Heineken fare will be appreciated.

    The biggest selection of beers in the area is at the Gage, which is a gastropub in the modern tradition. www.thegagechicago.com For more traditional pub fare and atmosphere, there are two places on Wabash near the Palmer House that have been around forever and are a great place for a beer or a late-night burger: Miller's Pub and the Exchequer Pub. www.millerspub.com www.exchequerpub.com

    3 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      nsxtasy, Thanks so much for your helpful reply! We'll look at some websites and menus and make our decisions from there. If i have any further questions, I'll post again.

      1. re: jazzcat

        I should also mention Lockwood, the restaurant right in the Palmer House. The cuisine, from Chef Philip Foss, is contemporary American. I ate there a couple of months ago and the food was pretty good, not great (and hampered by slow service that resulted in several dishes arriving not very hot). If you get stuck there by weather or convenience or if you just want to try it out, it wouldn't be the end of the world, but it wouldn't be my first pick either.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          good to know. thanks again.