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Mar 21, 2011 12:58 PM

One night, single person dinner in Chicago on very short notice - suggestions

Heading to Chicago in 2 days by myself and would like to have a solid meal (given how late it is and that I'd be dining solo, would be fine sitting at the bar or a more casual setting).

I was last in Chicago in August 2010 and had dinner at L2O and Alinea - thinking of trying Avenues as they have a spot open. Would be interested in Bayless restaurants or Blackbird or Girl & the Goat, but those seem pretty difficult given I probably won't get into the city till 8pm or so.

Any suggestions for other places?

1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

2300 Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614

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  1. Avenues is a good choice, so I'd grab that reservation. Everest is another excellent high-end restaurant that often has last-minute openings.

    I find to be a tremendous help in determining availability. Most of Chicago's best restaurants are on it, so with a few clicks, you can determine availability at 600+ restaurants, even at the last minute. (Perhaps that's how you identified the opening at Avenues.)

    Dining really late, meaning past about 9:30 (and dining solo) will give you options you wouldn't otherwise have, at places like the Purple Pig which doesn't take reservations. You might be able to get a seat at the bar at Frontera Grill, which enables you to order off either menu, theirs or Topolobampo's. Or, you might not. I'd recommend phoning ahead rather than just walking in.

    It's not that hard to get a reservation at our more casual, finer dining restaurants. Just don't obsess on the dozen "hot" places that are always mobbed, like the ones you mention; instead, consider great places like Sable, the Florentine, etc. that don't get all the hype.

    Here's a new article on your likelihood of getting seated at any particular time at many of our most crowded restaurants: