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Visiting next week - need recs

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I will be in town next week with a group of women - all thirtysomething - and looking for some ideas for dinners and perhaps after-dinner drinks. staying near Grant Park and Millennium Park neighborhoods, but willing to travel for any great 'hoods, where we can stroll around, to experience all that chicago has to offer.

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  1. Here are a few worthwhile places near Grant Park and Millennium Park:

    Mercat a la Planxa (tapas) - www.mercatchicago.com
    Pizano's on Madison (deep-dish pizza) - www.pizanoschicago.com
    The Gage (gastropub) - www.thegagechicago.com

    Here are a few others that are a little further, but still in the greater downtown area:

    Piccolo Sogno (contemporary Italian, River West) - www.piccolosognochicago.com
    Sable (contemporary American and artisanal cocktails, River North) - www.sablechicago.com
    Nacional 27 (Latin fusion, River North) - www.n27chicago.com
    Carnivale (Latin fusion, River West) - www.carnivalechicago.com
    Quartino (Italian small plates, River North) - www.quartinochicago.com

    For information about Chicago's food neighborhoods, see the discussion at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/437740

    Finally, here are links to two discussions that will give you an overview of what Chicago has to offer. This discussion tells what foods and places are unique or specialties in Chicago, foods that Chicago is particularly good at:

    first time Chicago - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/693477

    This discussion has an overview listing some of our best in various food categories, as well as advice for getting the best value for your dining dollar:

    Where are the best Chicago dinner *values* - the hidden gems? - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/697829

    I recommend making reservations in advance if you can, since our better restaurants tend to book up, especially for weekends. Many of our nicer restaurants (including all those mentioned above except the pizza place) accept reservations at Opentable.com

    That ought to get you started. If you have additional questions, especially more specific ones, we'll be happy to try to help. Enjoy your visit!