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Nov 11, 2010 01:59 PM

Solo dining near Trump Hotel?

I'm going to be in town - solo - for business Sunday night, and am looking for a good dinner place to get a late-ish dinner close to the Trump Hotel. Ideally, someplace with tasty food and a cozy bar area designed for eating - like Union Square Cafe in New York. Any suggestions?

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  1. First of all, I think *any* good restaurant should be considered good for solo dining. I've eaten solo at a lot of places, often asked my preference for eating at the bar or my own table (I generally choose the latter), and I've always experienced gracious service.

    Within the past two months, I have eaten dinner solo at two different places, and I enjoyed both of them. However, Cibo Matto is closed on Sundays, so it's ruled out for a Sunday. The other is Sable, the contemporary American restaurant with craft cocktails in the new Hotel Palomar in River North, for which I posted a detailed report at Sable's food is a noteworthy bargain, too. I didn't look closely at the bar area; I sat at a table in the (rather noisy) dining room, in view of the open kitchen with Chef Terhune at work creating her culinary magic. It's three blocks north of the Trump.

    There are also two excellent seafood restaurants about a block from the Trump, although I haven't dined solo at either. Shaw's Crab House is on Hubbard a block north. Catch 35 is on Wacker just across the river.

    On Sundays, Catch 35 seats till 9, Shaw's till 10, Sable till 9 with the bar menu available till 10.

    4 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Just wanted to second (third, fourth ...) the Sable recommendation. I've been eating there a lot though not solo but the management and staff are superb and welcoming and I'm sure would make you feel at home. The food is great and varied so there's sure to be something you crave ... and the cocktails are stellar.

        Of all the places I eat in Chicago, Sable really stands out as a wonderful experience - and the whole team there works so hard to make your meal and your experience great.

        Since they're based in a hotel, I'm sure they are quite used to solo diner ... Enjoy!

        1. re: Siun

          One other tip about Sable - even the half portions are quite ample, so don't go crazy ordering a lot of things when you see how inexpensive they are. I made the mistake of ordering too many things and then was too full for dessert.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Wrong strategy ... leave room for desert and have them wrap the leftovers - they're very kind about that.

            But yep - the half portions are often just right and especially for one.

            At the moment, I'm in love with their butternut squash soup with apple ... and their warm apple tart with cinnamon ice cream.

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        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. I live 4 blocks from the Trump in Chicago. There are probably 100 restaurants within walking distance of the Trump, and many more a short cab ride west or south of the Loop. So much depends on what kind of food you like, how much you want to spend, whether surroundings or a view matter, whether you want to meet people or stay within your personal zone, etc. Personally, when I travel and eat solo, I eat at the bar, enjoy talking with other people, and don't mind what I spend, provided I'm not enabling extortion. On that basis, here are a few suggestions of good restaurants to give you a flavor of the Chicago restaurant scene that should be open late on a Sunday night: Gibsons for steak (or it's sister next door Hugos for fish) in the "Viagra Triangle" (yes, there are 10 other great steakhouses nearby, but this is a storied Chicago locals' classic), Quartinos (owned by the same peeps as Gibsons/Hugos) for Italian on a "tapas" basis (ever have Italian tapas before?) (also a locals' favorite), Cafe Spiaggia (though not sure this one is open on Sunday) (it's sister next door Spiaggia is considered by many to be the best gourmet Italian restaurant in the U.S.), Riva on Navy Pier (very competent seafood, but you can't top the view at "sea level"), the W Hotel on Lake Shore Drive (if you're looking for a guaranteed "scene in a box") ... and by the way, don't discount Rebar, which is on the 2nd floor of the Trump, has a great view, unexpectedly nice servers, and great sushi if that's you're thing. Just to mention a few. Enjoy.

            626 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

            Cafe Spiaggia
            980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

            980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

            1 Reply
            1. re: flawrite

              Some of those - Gibson's/Hugo's and Cafe Spiaggia (which is indeed open on Sundays) are a mile away from the Trump Hotel. Nothing wrong with them - in fact, I've enjoyed them and often recommend them - but there are other, equally good choices a whole lot closer to the Trump. For steaks, David Burke's Primehouse is my favorite, and Joe's is good too. For seafood, Shaw's Crab House and Catch 35 are both just a block away. For Italian, Coco Pazzo Cafe is not far (and if it's not a Sunday, consider Cibo Matto).

            2. How is Sixteen at the Trump? I have been invited to eat there as part of a large group.

              1 Reply
              1. re: 2fat

                You're probably aware that Sixteen is a fine dining restaurant run by acclaimed Chef Frank Brunacci. I ate dinner there about a year ago. The food was creative and very good, but a little disappointing in that very little of it really "wowed" me. Nothing was *bad*, but when I go out to a nice, expensive restaurant, I expect to find at least a few dishes that are incredibly delicious and memorable, and Sixteen just didn't do that for me. I hope that makes sense.

                The service was fine. The room has a tall ceiling and one side is all windows, offering a very nice view. It was spacious, IOW the tables were spaced fairly far apart offering a nice sense of privacy. I thought it was surprisingly loud, considering the spaciousness - not a LOUD ROAR a la Publican or Avec, but not as quiet as I would have expected, but perhaps that's the direct result of all that hard surface of glass for sound to bounce off.

                Their Opentable listing says that apparel is "business casual", but at least on the weeknight I was there, it seemed dressier than that, as the majority of the gentlemen around the room were wearing jackets.