avec, purple pig or longman & eagle
Two NY chowhounds going out for our anniversary while the in-laws stay with the baby. Leaning towards avec, but happy to hear if anyone strongly suggests one of the other two options. Interested in incredible food and fun atmosphere over "romantic",
Beware, none of these three accept reservations and they're among the busiest restaurants in town, with waits to be seated typically in excess of 90 minutes at desirable times. I avoid them for that reason, especially since there are so many other, equally good or better restaurants which DO accept reservations. Just so you know what you're in for regarding waiting times (and tips on what times you might be able to avoid the worst), you ought to take a look at this article from the Tribune, where you'll find all three places mentioned: http://chicago.metromix.com/restauran...
The food is a bit different at each. Avec leans towards Mediterranean; Purple Pig towards pork, cheese, charcuterie, and organ meats; L&E towards comfort foods. You might want to take a look at the menus on their websites and let that make your decision for you:
In case you're open to other choices... If I wanted incredible food and fun atmosphere and I didn't want to wait 90+ minutes to be seated, I would instead make a reservation for one of the following (all of which accept reservations on Opentable):
Sable (contemporary American and artisanal cocktails, River North) - www.sablechicago.com
Piccolo Sogno (contemporary Italian, River West) - www.piccolosognochicago.com
Mexique (Mexican/French, West Town) - www.mexiquechicago.com
Mercat a la Planxa (tapas, South Loop) - www.mercatchicago.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
Sunda (pan-Asian/sushi, River North) - www.sundachicago.com
615 W Randolph St Ste A, Chicago, IL 60661
626 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60654
325 W. Huron, Chicago, IL 60610
1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
464 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60622
702 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60661
500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Of the three, I like Avec the most - simple small dishes with big flavors. L&E is also pretty good - its entrees are something you'd see in fine-dining restaurants.
I am not a fan of Purple Pig - it's not bad; just not that memorable.
One other comment about Avec - not only is the place REALLY LOUD (as are the other two in the initial inquiry), but once you're seated, you're stuck sitting with other people at its godawful communal seating (eight tops ONLY, other than the bar), and it has the most uncomfortable seats in the entire city (backless wooden stools, backless wooden boxes, or pew-style hard wooden benchs). I've found the food disappointing, but I know a lot of other people like it.