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In Chicago for 2 nights

Auriana Nov 29, 2010 08:32 AM

I'm coming to Chicago next week on business for two nights and need recommendations for dinner. Expense isn't an issue, just looking for really delicious food. I'm staying on at the Westin on Michigan Avenue, across from Bloomingdale's. I won't have a car, so I'm looking for something within walking distance.

I like everything! I've heard such grand rumors about the Chicago dining scene and want to take advantage while I'm there. Thanks!

  1. s
    Siun Dec 3, 2010 09:01 AM

    I assume the rumors that interest you are not o old school steakhouses but of our wonderfully new creative food scene. There's tons to try but I'd second the Sable suggestion and add

    Naha - brilliant new American with great service

    Mercat a la planxa - fun room, delicious tapas

    Sprout - Dale Levitski's delicious food spot

    Xoco for brunch,lunch or just the Aztec hot chocolate when you get chilly

    All are very quick taxi rides from your location and taxis are cheap and plentiful

    500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

    1417 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

    449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

    1 Reply
    1. re: Siun
      Auriana Dec 3, 2010 11:36 AM

      You're correct, I'm more interested in a new/creative scene. And the reason I didn't specify preferences/price point is that I'm very open to anything, just looking for somewhere close to my hotel. I'm traveling on business, so much of my food cost will be expensed. Thanks!

    2. c
      chitowncrawler Dec 2, 2010 09:56 AM


      When in Chicago -- and money is no (or little concern) you absolutely must try one of our steakhouses. I strongly recommend the Erie Cafe. It is not too far. However, when coming to Chicago in December, plan on taking taxis. The beef in Chicago is superior to what most places in the US have. It is not just the meat itself (which is better IMO) but the care, respect, dare I say reverance for meat in the City of "Big Shoulders".

      Have you ever experienced a truly Greek restaurant? Pegasus on Halsted is a must stop...and don't be surprised if the manager plops down a comp. bottle of Uzo on your table after dinner. Bring peole with you -- this is a casually elegant fun place. They also have a very reasonably priced lunch menu with fast service.

      Yes, you must sample our world-famous pizza -- but do that for lunch.

      ALso -- if your stay has yoou in the city on Thursday or Friday -- Hot DOug's for hot dogs is a must....it is not a typical Chicago dog because they char broil (you can get typical Chicago dogs at the airport here) but on Thursdays and Fridays Doug's has duck-fat French fries. French Fries fried in duck fat -- decadent!


      Must eats in Chicago:
      A steak or slice of prime rib form one of the city's premeire steakhouses
      Deep dish from Lou Malnati's
      A Chicago Style hot dog (Vienna Beef with the works on a poppy seed bun
      )Have food and fun in Greektown
      Italian beef sandwhichw/ sweet peppers--wet

      You can't swing a dead cat without hitting an Italian restaurant, but isn't it that way everywhere?

      We could be more helpful if you told where your tastes lean.

      FYI -- Chicago is the number one market in the world for seafood. Surprised? It's the airport, we bring it in from all over the US everyday.

      There are more "cutting edge places" but these things I listed are what have made chicago famous....

      3 Replies
      1. re: chitowncrawler
        jbontario Dec 2, 2010 12:09 PM

        I have to disagree on Erie Cafe. I live around the corner and eat there only (emphasize ONLY) when it's nice and can sit outside on the terrace. I have tried the steaks and they are average at best and very expensive. The rest of the food is tired old Italian steakhouse. This place was OK when it opened ten years ago, but you are better off at many others.

        My favorites for steaks (I'm a big wine and dine clients guy) are Joe's Seafood Prime Steak & Stone Crab, David Burke's Primehouse, or Keefer's. Joe's is the best since you get the miami stone crab claws along with a phenomenal bone-in filet.

        Greektown is good, but not worth a business dinner, the food is good but nowhere near what showcases our best in Chicago.

        Another great option for fun dining that business folks might like that you can't get elsewhere is Carnivale - pan-latin with a few great steaks and tons of other items.

        David Burke's Primehouse
        616 N Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611

        702 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60661

        1. re: chitowncrawler
          HoosierFoodie Dec 2, 2010 02:03 PM

          Which steakhouse because one can't just hit any Chicago steakhouse and be guaranteed a good steak.

          1. re: chitowncrawler
            chicgail Dec 2, 2010 02:25 PM

            If the OP is looking for Oooold Chicago, it's going to be hard to find.

            It's not as though Chicago is a stockyard town. That ended decades ago and it had been in decline long before that. There are good steaks and not-so-good steaks, but like most big cities. It's not special here.

            Deep dish pizza and Chicago hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches are unique and good for a snack or a quick lunch.

            Greektown is fine, but not great and certainly not worth a stop if you only have 2 nights.

            More to the point, the Chicago dining scene is much richer with some of the finest gastropubs and molecular gastronomy and creative contemporary cuisine in the world. Many of those places will require a taxi ride.

            Auriana, give us an idea of preferences and price point and I know we can provide some options unique to Chicago that will give you a sense of the current dining scene.

          2. h
            HoosierFoodie Dec 2, 2010 08:04 AM

            If expense isn't an issue Spiaggia is great Italian but if you go expense had better not be an issue! Spiaggia Cafe is a good choice. Also expensive new Italian can be found on at Pane Caldo. After a couple of year's haitus b/c of an issue my wife and I returned a couple of months ago and were very happy...though it is pricey but not Spiaggia pricey.

            I would avoid Giordano's as it is pretty much a tourist trap. I am not a fan of Gino's. Uno/Duo are what they are but I prefer L. Malnati's for deep dish pizza. What is and isn't "Chicago pizza can be debated all day long. Portillo's is within walking distance for Italian Beef/Chicagoesque dogs, etc... But it isn't exactly find dining.

            Signature room is fine for a drink but I would leave it at that. If you want high end Tru is within walking distance as is Avenues and Seasons (in Four Seasons) though I have not been to Avenue's in quite some time and they, like Tru are high end. Bistro 110 is more than passable in the area. The Purple Pig has a good rep but I haven't been so would defer to others here.

            Bistro 110
            110 East Pearson Street, Chicago, IL 60611

            980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

            Pane Caldo
            72 E Walton St, Chicago, IL 60611

            1. j
              jbontario Nov 30, 2010 07:09 AM

              Had a terrific dinner and super-creative drinks Sunday night at Sable Kitchen and Bar. It's about a 15 walk, 5 minute cab from your location. It's on State and Illinois (off the lobby of the hotel Palomar). Can order lots of litte to medium plates (offer most things in two sizes) or full dinners. I truly enjoyed the place.

              1. v
                velvetdc1 Nov 29, 2010 07:30 PM

                Since you're staying right across the street, you could at least have a drink at the Signature Room at the top of the Hancock. Beautiful view of the whole city at night. They also serve dinner up there, which I haven't had yet - but heard good enough things to send my friends. I also second Spiaggia for Italian, especially for proximity to your hotel. NoMi too. Graham Elliot would be more of a walk, but doable and probably a good example of the "scene". Tru is another often recommended one in the area, on the higher end with a great tasting menu.

                I'll also throw in a shout-out for some Chicago pizza. After I've been away too long, even if expense isn't an issue, it's all I want. Uno, Gino's, and Giordano's are all walkable from your hotel.

                980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

                Graham Elliot
                217 W. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654

                6 Replies
                1. re: velvetdc1
                  chicgail Nov 30, 2010 07:37 AM

                  Have a drink at the Signature Room for the view. Don't eat dinner there.

                  1. re: velvetdc1
                    Auriana Nov 30, 2010 11:25 AM

                    Is Uno pizza the same chain that's elsewhere in the country (I'm in San Diego)? I'd love to try authentic Chicago pizza and am skeptical of the chain. Thanks!

                    1. re: Auriana
                      lbs Nov 30, 2010 12:12 PM

                      The Uno's and Due's here are a completely different animal from Uno Bar and Grill. The Uno's in Chicago is the original and is far superior than the crap chain. However, I can't recommend it on a personal basis because I haven't been to the original in over 10 years. And a couple of recent reports on this board and another travel board have reported that the pizza has been so-so. Personally if you are going to do Chicago deep dish - and you MUST - I would recommend either Lou Malnati's or Pizano's. I can personally attest to both having eaten at both places within the last 3 months.



                      1. re: Auriana
                        chicgail Nov 30, 2010 12:20 PM

                        You should be skeptical of the chain. I once made the mistake of eating at one of them. It's horrible. The chain uses the same name, but not the same recipe.

                        The original Unos and Dues in Chicago use the same recipe Uno's developed when it first created deep dish pizza in the 1940s. It's a true Chicago original. The Malnati and Pizano pizzas are very close offshoots of the original Uno and Due pizza. They are also excellent, but to me, the original is still the greatest.

                        1. re: Auriana
                          velvetdc1 Nov 30, 2010 01:10 PM

                          Lou Malnatis is my most favorite pizza :) but didn't think of a very close location offhand and didn't want to get into a pizza debate so offered a few options. Here is a good discussion if you want more info on where to try some pizza:


                          1. re: velvetdc1
                            Auriana Dec 1, 2010 11:49 AM

                            Thanks, I suspected as much.

                            Thanks for all the suggestions!

                      2. c
                        Combination Nov 29, 2010 12:20 PM

                        Cafe Spiaggia is great - that's definitely walking distance.

                        Cafe Spiaggia
                        980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Combination
                          sh827 Nov 29, 2010 12:50 PM

                          If expense isn't an issue, skip the cafe and eat in the main restaurant - Spiaggia!
                          Try Topolobampo (or Frontera Grill) - award winning Mexican. They share a kitchen.

                          Frontera Grill
                          445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

                          445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

                          980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

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