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Graham Elloit or Riccardo Trattoria on Memorial Day visit

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Not many restaurants are open on Memorial Day in Chicago. We've done some research and narrowed it down to Graham and Riccardo. We were set on Graham..creative, pics looked good, well-known chef. But, I feel that Graham is too far removed from his restaurant and want to replace it on our trip. Riccardo is well regarded and we love Italian. What would you choose?? I do not want to hear about any other restaurants, just these two. We already have meals at 10 or so other places that week, just still deciding between these two. Thanks.

Riccardo Trattoria
2119 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614

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  1. I don't think there's a "right answer" to your question. They're two very different places. One is downtown near the hotels; the other is in the residential neighborhood of Lincoln Park. One serves cutting-edge contemporary American cuisine; the other serves fairly conventional Italian cuisine. That doesn't make either one "better" than the other; both are good at what they do.

    There's one comment you make that seems to clinch the decision, to me. You say you want to replace Graham Elliot in your itinerary. Then do it! With all the great restaurants here, you shouldn't feel any need to include a place in your itinerary that you're not eager to go to, regardless of whatever reasons underlie those feelings.


    4 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      I'm looking for additional insight into these restaurants from people that have eaten at either place. Location is irrelavent to me. It doesn't matter that one is Italian and American. Which one is better? Come on, answer the question and don't say North Pond. Can't seem to find many pics of Riccardo.

      North Pond
      2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614

      1. re: albatruffles

        Haven't been to Riccardo, but I looked at the menu and while it seems solid it doesn't look particularly innovative. The thing about Graham Elliot is that it's *fun*. I had a great time there a couple of months ago (the chef was in the kitchen that night). Great energy in the room, excellent cocktails at the bar before dinner, and delicious, entertaining food. We had the 10-course Experience + wine pairings. The menu will be different now for spring, but memorable dishes included the deconstructed Caesar, tempura sweetbread, curry/lemongrass/squash bisque, a Korean-style short rib, Arctic char with pumpernickel crumbs and spaetzle, and a pistachio custard. If I were coming from out of town, I'd certainly pick GE.

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

        1. re: mcgeary

          Thanks, appreciate the reply.

        2. re: albatruffles

          I was at Riccardo last October but have not been to Graham Elliot. I honestly was not that impressed. If I lived in the neighborhood, I'd think it was fine for a local option, but I wouldn't make a special trip for it.

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

      2. I was of the same mind until I read this. I have not been for over a year, but am going next week after seeing the below and the menu changes.