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Dec 13, 2010 05:54 PM

Chicago Birthday Dinner with Kids and some Vegeterians

Tall order for you guys! Coming into Chicago for a weekend in January to see family. It will be my wive's birthday and would like to have a nice dinner with about 7 people which includes 3 kids up to age 8. The other couple are vegeterians but they eat fish/eggs/cheese. Need a nice place with good options. We are pretty adventurous and eat anything although I would not hit a place for cuban, carribean, or south american food as we are from florida and have plenty of that down here. My wife is high on Rick Bayless and we are considering Frontera Grill as an example of a place we are thinking of. Any other good options come to mind??

Frontera Grill
445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

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  1. There are lots of good options. A few things to note, first. Bayless closes his restaurants for a couple of weeks each January so he can take the entire staff to Mexico for "research". Also I would NOT go to Frontera Grill without a reservation, as wait times can range as high as 60-120 minutes. They only accept a handful of reservations and keep most of the dining room available for walk-in customers, but the demand is high. Topolobampo accepts reservations (including on but books up for dinner months in advance. If you are dying to enjoy Bayless and his restaurants are open when you are here, and if you can't snag a phone reservation for dinner at Frontera, I recommend going to Topolobampo for lunch, when the prices are lower than at dinner and when reservations can often be booked weeks rather than months in advance.

    Those are not the only great Mexican restaurants in Chicago. Close to downtown, I also recommend Salpicon in Old Town, Mexique in West Town, and Mundial Cocina Mestiza in Pilsen. Salpicon and Mexique accept reservations on, Mundial only accepts them over the phone. All have seafood and vegetarian dishes (check out the menus on their websites) and would be okay with well-behaved children.

    Beyond Mexican, there are so very many great restaurants in and around Chicago, and you haven't really narrowed things down in any way, other than ruling out Caribbean/South American cuisine. Just about any restaurant has seafood and vegetarian choices on the menu. So beyond Mexican, there are hundreds of restaurants that will meet your needs. Maybe if you'd like a place near where you're staying and/or spending time and you could share that information, we could make an appropriate recommendation. Or if there are other types of food you'd like to consider.