HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
What's your latest food quest?
TELL US

Group Dining

b
belmont3 Apr 1, 2011 03:24 PM

Looking for a fun, different place for a group of 10 for a birthday party. I have a reservation at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, however I just learned that there is no street parking and that Valet is $11, I think that is ridiculous. We we aren not tied down to any one area be it suburbs or city, however we dont want to go too far north (Evanston, Lincoln Park). Also, we do not want to do Sushi. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  1. nsxtasy Apr 1, 2011 05:36 PM

    Here are my thoughts. $11 for valet parking isn't particularly high for anywhere in the city where street parking is difficult to find; you'll find that it's in the $8-12 range for most of the restaurants from the Loop up to Lincoln Park. Once you get north of Lincoln Park, street parking becomes easier to find. So if this is a major issue for you (and it sounds like it is), you may want to limit your search to neighborhoods north of Lincoln Park.

    I don't know if you're specifically interested in tapas or other ethnic cuisine, or if more mainstream cuisines would work for you...? Some of the good restaurants in neighborhoods north of Lincoln Park include contemporary American (Deleece in Lakeview, Sola in North Center, Magnolia Cafe in Uptown, Bluette in Wilmette, and Evanston's places - Chef's Station, Oceanique, the Stained Glass); French bistros (Bistro Campagne and LM in Lincoln Square; Bistro Bordeaux in Evanston); creative Mexican (Mixteco Grill in Lakeview, Mexique in West Town - okay, West Town is not north of LP but parking isn't too bad around there), Italian (Campagnola in Evanston); etc. I've found street parking pretty easily around all of these except the three places in downtown Evanston, where there are inexpensive parking garages.

    If you're specifically looking for the lively atmosphere you get at Cafe Ba-ba-reeba, my first choice among these would be Mixteco Grill...

    15 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy
      b
      belmont3 Apr 2, 2011 03:13 AM

      Thank you so much for the info, I guess I should have specified that since so many people are driving separately 11 dollars for parking adds up to about 100 bucks! When you consider 100 bucks applied to a check for food and alcohol, it just doesn't seem ideal.

      1. re: nsxtasy
        chicgail Apr 2, 2011 05:38 AM

        I can't name a good taps place north of BaBaReBa, execept for one in Evanston where you said you didn't want to go, but I have a few other top-of-mind ideas

        Los Nopales on Western Ave in Lincoln Square (Michelin mention)
        Fonda del Mar on west Fullerton (recently re-named Don Diablo)
        Uncommon Ground (there's one on Devon and one on Clark St.) - live music

        There are also tons of inexpensive and fun ethnic restaurants on Argyle (Vietnamese) and Devon (Indian/Pakistani) that don't have a party atmosphere, but still might work for you.

        -----
        Uncommon Ground
        1401 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60660

        1. re: chicgail
          nsxtasy Apr 2, 2011 09:06 AM

          >> I can't name a good taps place north of BaBaReBa, execept for one in Evanston where you said you didn't want to go, but I have a few other top-of-mind ideas

          I interpreted the mention of Evanston in the original post as meaning that the OP is willing to go to Evanston (or Lincoln Park) but no further north than that. I didn't think the OP meant that they didn't want to go as far north as Evanston. (That's why I recommended several places in Evanston.) Perhaps belmont3 can clarify.

          However, I'll add that I have not been impressed with my visits to Tapas Barcelona, which is undoubtedly the Evanston tapas restaurant to which you were referring (since it's the only tapas restaurant in Evanston).

          1. re: nsxtasy
            chicgail Apr 2, 2011 09:34 AM

            On second reading, you may be right. The OP is a little ambiguous about location.

            1. re: chicgail
              b
              belmont3 Apr 3, 2011 12:32 AM

              Thanks guys, sorry I wasn't more clear, would rather not go as far as Lincoln Park or Evanston. Also not opposed to suburbs (western) if you have any reccomendations there. Not tied to tapas either. I really appreciate all of your input!

              1. re: belmont3
                chicgail Apr 3, 2011 05:10 AM

                Where will you be coming from, belmont3? Somewhere in the city? The western suburbs?

                Lincoln Park is not that far north. In fact, Cafe Ba Ba Re Ba is arguably in Lincoln Park. Evanston is 8 or 9 miles north of there and the western suburbs are at least as far away so I am still a little confused about location that will work for you.

                1. re: chicgail
                  nsxtasy Apr 3, 2011 09:17 AM

                  I'm still confused too, because of the reference to Lincoln Park and Evanston. Since Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba is in Lincoln Park, how are we supposed to know where you want to go if you don't want to go to Lincoln Park? And if Lincoln Park and Evanston don't work, you can probably ignore my other suggestions, which are almost all in those two locations or in between the two.

                  Since western suburbs work for you, why not the original location of Emilio's, in Hillside? It's been one of Chicago's top tapas restaurants for many years. www.emiliostapas.com

                  Most of the restaurants in the suburbs have free parking lots. (It's been a while since I've been to Emilio's so I don't have a clear memory of the parking arrangements, but I'm pretty sure they had a parking lot there.)

                  1. re: nsxtasy
                    b
                    belmont3 Apr 3, 2011 12:32 PM

                    Coming from the south side of the city. The suburbs are easy because we have easy access to both 294 and 55...
                    My hesitation to go so far north is not so much the distance but the route to get there is more of a challenge than a straight shot on an expressway.
                    I have read reviews of Emilios and they arent so great, and at this point am scrapping the Tapas Idea because of the menus I have looked at only Cafe BaBaReeba looked like somewhere we would order one of everything!
                    I appreciate all of your help.. I may just have to scrap the birthday dinner idea this year!

                    1. re: belmont3
                      nsxtasy Apr 3, 2011 01:49 PM

                      I wouldn't scrap the birthday dinner idea entirely. If you want to celebrate a birthday with your friends, do it!

                      You know, there's a great place on the south side of the city. It's called Amelia's Grill and it's in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, on Halsted at 45th. They serve creative provincial Mexican food, and it's really good! You can read the report I posted on a dinner there, at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/463572#5722216 It's also BYOB, so you can save money by bringing your alcohol. (If you forget, there's a supermarket right across the street.) Free parking on the street right in front of the restaurant is easy, since it's a semi-industrial neighborhood. Check out the menu at http://chicago.menupages.com/restaurants/amelias-bar-and-grill

                      Here are a couple more suggestions to consider, of places that aren't too far from the intersection of 55 and 294. I've had really great Italian food at Bella Bacino's in LaGrange. www.bacinos.com I don't think they have a dedicated parking lot. There are several free parking lots nearby in that central business district. There are lots of restaurants and bars nearby, so the lots may fill up on Saturday night, but you still should be able to find something.

                      Oak Brook really isn't that far from 294 and 55. Mon Ami Gabi is a very good French bistro in the mall, and of course there's plenty of free parking. www.monamigabi.com Reel Club has excellent seafood (sort of like an upscale steakhouse in atmosphere) and is also in the mall. www.reel-club.com Tuscany has good Italian food just south of the mall. www.stefanirestaurants.com

                      Here are a couple more suggestions to consider, of places that aren't too far from the intersection of 55 and 294. I've had really great Italian food at Bella Bacino's in LaGrange. www.bacinos.com I don't think they have a dedicated parking lot. There are several free parking lots nearby in that central business district. There are lots of restaurants and bars nearby, so the lots may fill up on Saturday night, but you still should be able to find something.

                      Oak Brook really isn't that far from 294 and 55. Mon Ami Gabi is a very good French bistro in the mall, and of course there's plenty of free parking. www.monamigabi.com Reel Club has excellent seafood (sort of like an upscale steakhouse in atmosphere) and is also in the mall. www.reel-club.com Tuscany has good Italian food just south of the mall. www.stefanirestaurants.com

                      1. re: nsxtasy
                        b
                        belmont3 Apr 3, 2011 02:02 PM

                        Amelias looks great... I may call and see if I can get a reservation there! We frequent the Oak Brook/Lombard/Downers area and were trying to go with something different.
                        Also, wondering if you know of any good Middle Eastern(maybe I am wrong in the classification) restaurants? We eat at this amazing place called Steve's Shish Kabob- one in the West Lawn area of the city and one in Palos Hills- and love thier Hummus, Kabobs, and such, and would love to try something slightly more upscale.

                        -----
                        Steve's Shish Kabob
                        10719 S Roberts Rd, Palos Hills, IL 60465

                        1. re: belmont3
                          nsxtasy Apr 3, 2011 02:54 PM

                          Yes, Middle Eastern restaurants have hummus, shish kabob, shwarma, etc. I don't know of any upscale Middle Eastern restaurants in Chicagoland; maybe someone else here does. The best known Middle Eastern restaurants around here are Pita Inn, with several locations in the northern suburbs, and Oasis Cafe in the Loop. Again, maybe someone else can provide additional recommendations.

                          1. re: nsxtasy
                            b
                            belmont3 Apr 3, 2011 03:08 PM

                            you are so knowlegable! last question... Colombian or Venezuelan restaurants, anywhere... besides El Llano.. which I already know about

                            -----
                            El Llano Restaurant
                            3941 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

                            1. re: belmont3
                              nsxtasy Apr 3, 2011 04:54 PM

                              Thanks! There are quite a few South American restaurants in Chicagoland. Many of them (not all, but many) specialize in churrasco (endless quantities of grilled meat). The best known is probably Tango Sur, a BYOB in Lakeview. For a more complete list, see http://chicago.metromix.com/browse/re...

                              1. re: nsxtasy
                                b
                                belmont3 Apr 4, 2011 12:39 AM

                                I have been reading reviews of amelias and noticed mention of it being BYOB, but the website has a wine/alcohol menu... any idea if it is? Maybe it changed? Can it be both?

                                1. re: belmont3
                                  nsxtasy Apr 4, 2011 12:56 PM

                                  It can't be both. I ate there last summer, and at that time it was BYOB (with a big BYOB sign on the windows). I suspect they had not yet received their liquor license at that time, but have received it since then. You can confirm when you call them. I'm sorry if that information was misleading.

                                  Incidentally, the owners of Amelia's just opened a second restaurant, called Fogón, in West Town. www.fogonchicago.com

      2. m
        marciab Apr 4, 2011 11:11 AM

        What about the tapas place in Berwyn; it's on Cermak; good food and a nice atmosphere...
        http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-espanola-t...

        Show Hidden Posts