Special restaurant needed for mother's 80th birthday
Those are good questions that will help in making a recommendation.
I don't know if you're looking for a really fancy fine dining type place, but if you are, most of those restaurants in Chicago are not open for lunch, only for dinner. One exception is NoMI. North Pond is also a very special place, but they serve lunch only during the warmer months, not in the middle of the winter (they are always open for Sunday brunch though). What day of the week is her birthday, and how soon is it?
I won't be taking her out on her actual birthday so I'm flexible on the day of the week. And yes I was looking for a really fancy fine dining experience for lunch but didn't realize that most of them only serve dinner. NoMI is beautiful as is North Pond. Thanks for the recommendations. Any others that are open for lunch?
2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614
It's a little tricky to answer the question because there are "shades of gray" as far as what qualifies for a "really fancy fine dining experience". In other words, one restaurant may be ever so slightly "fancier" than another, but someone else may think that the other one is just as "fancy". And I'm using "fancy" for a combination of qualities - expensive, formal (although places are often dressier at dinner than at lunch), a high level of service, etc.
Anyway, IMHO NoMI (in the Park Hyatt) is the top place for a really fancy fine dining experience that's open for lunch. Sixteen (in the Trump Hotel) is another place, although I wasn't quite as impressed with it as I was with NoMI. North Pond is a very small step down because it's not quite as dressy as these other two (most gentlemen don't wear jackets) and not quite as expensive; it also offers its exquisite location in the middle of the park.
After that, the next bunch of places are another small step down, although keep in mind that you can have a very fine meal at any of these. The two I would consider next are Topolobampo for provincial Mexican, and Naha for contemporary American. But if you're looking for a really fancy fine dining experience, I would still go with NoMI or North Pond as my top recommendations.