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Coming to Chicago in September. Recommendations?

c
cortez Aug 12, 2010 09:25 AM

Coming to Chicago from the San Francisco area (Napa) and will be staying with a friend just south of the river and north of Millennium Park (right behind the Hyatt Regency).

Looking for Chowhound recommendations for lunch, cocktails and dinner within 8-10 blocks walking distance from this location. All cuisines and price points are fine, so long as the food is delicious and the atmosphere lively and fun. I'm not bringing a tie or jacket so more formal places are off limits.

In previous visits to Chicago, I've really enjoyed Frontera/Topolobampo (how is Bayless' new place?), Cafe Spiaggia, Japonese, Blackbird and NoMi. Could go to these again but would like to branch out. I love great cocktails as well.

Thanks for your recommendations!

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Cafe Spiaggia
980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

  1. nsxtasy Aug 12, 2010 02:33 PM

    You'll find a lot of recommendations in the vicinity of the Hyatt Regency in these discussions:

    Restaurant advice in Chicago Downtown area... - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/723604
    Girls Weekend in Chicago - ALL recs welcome! - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/721890
    What's good near Hyatt Regency? - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/709215

    >> I'm not bringing a tie or jacket so more formal places are off limits.

    There aren't a lot of places in the Chicago area where jackets are required/preferred: Alinea, Everest, Charlie Trotter's, Avenues, TRU, NoMI, Spiaggia, Les Nomades, L2O, Carlos, and maybe Sixteen. That's it. If it's not on this list, don't worry about it.

    >> In previous visits to Chicago, I've really enjoyed Frontera/Topolobampo (how is Bayless' new place?)

    XOCO, his new place, specializes in "Mexican street food" like tortas and churros. IMHO it does well what it does, but the foods it has, you can find in any big city in the United States. Whereas Frontera and Topolobampo serve more unique, more creative provincial Mexican cuisine not often found this side of the border.

    If you would like to try some of our other creative provincial Mexican restaurants instead, here are some recommendations. Salpicon is in Old Town, not far from the hotels in River North. www.salpicon.com Two of my favorites are Mundial Cocina Mestiza, three miles southwest of the Loop in Pilsen near the 18th Street stop on the CTA Pink Line, www.mundialcocinamestiza.com and Mixteco Grill, on the north side not far from the Montrose stop on the CTA Brown Line, http://chicago.menupages.com/restaurants/mixteco-grill For Mexican food with a bit of French flair, I recommend Mexique in West Town, three miles northwest of the Loop. www.mexiquechicago.com

    >> Cafe Spiaggia, Japonese, Blackbird and NoMi. Could go to these again but would like to branch out.

    For Italian, try Coco Pazzo in River North, or Vivere or Cibo Matto in the Loop. For contemporary American, try Naha, MK, or Cafe des Architectes in River North, or Atwood Cafe in the Loop. For a French bistro, La Sardine in the West Loop or Kiki's Bistro in River North. For pan-Asian, Red Light in the West Loop. For tapas, Cafe Iberico in River North or Mercat a la Planxa in the South Loop. For Latin fusion, Carnivale in the West Loop or Nacional 27 in River North.

    >> I love great cocktails as well.

    Go to the Violet Hour in Bucktown. The entrance is hard to find, since it's an unmarked door hidden on a blank wall. Other good places for great cocktails include the Drawing Room, the Map Room, and Longman and Eagle.

    4 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy
      chicgail Aug 12, 2010 03:20 PM

      I was just at the Map Room and while they have a fabulous selection of beers and ales, cocktails are not their forte. Also no food there if that's important to you. I do, however, love the cocktails at The Bristol, which is not far from the Map Room. The Bristol is also a gastropub.

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      The Map Room
      1949 N Hoyne Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

      1. re: chicgail
        nsxtasy Aug 12, 2010 03:24 PM

        Speaking of gastropubs, if you enjoy beers, additional choices include Hopleaf (way up north in Andersonville) and the Gage in the Loop.

        1. re: nsxtasy
          chicgail Aug 12, 2010 03:33 PM

          To say nothing of the Purple Pig and Publican!

          Chicago has definitely become a gastropub haven.

          Does anyone know if Stephanie Izard's The Girl and the Goat considered a gastro pub, also? I haven't been there yet.

          1. re: chicgail
            nsxtasy Aug 12, 2010 03:41 PM

            >> To say nothing of the Purple Pig and Publican!
            >> Chicago has definitely become a gastropub haven.

            Given the menus at both those places (as well as the Piggery and the Pork Shoppe), a more appropriate name for Chicago may be "Hog Heaven". :)

            >> Does anyone know if Stephanie Izard's The Girl and the Goat considered a gastro pub, also? I haven't been there yet.

            I haven't been there yet, but from what I've read about it on another board, it sounds to me like a contemporary American restaurant, not particularly oriented towards beer the way gastropubs tend to be.

    2. p
      pamiam Aug 13, 2010 12:03 AM

      For creative cocktails within your 8-10 block parameters, try Gilt Bar, Sable, and (slightly out of that range) Sepia.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pamiam
        p
        pamiam Aug 13, 2010 08:41 AM

        And also slightly out of that range, but probably worth the trip if you're not going to make it all the way up to Violet Hour, is the Drawing Room. Great drinks, and tableside mixology available if you're not sitting at the bar.

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        The Drawing Room
        937 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611

        Violet Hour
        1247 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

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