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Sep 2, 2011 05:43 PM

back for a visit, looking for a great french bistro night

my sweetheart and i had one of the best romantic restaurant nights out at la tache about seven and a half years ago. the place was quiet, but the wine was good, the waitperson was great, and the steak frietes was the best i'd had since henry's bistro in chapel hill closed.

apparently the place is no more, and apparently the food and service slid down that slippery slope since we had our night out.

but we're heading back to the city in october to visit family, and we'd like to have another at least semi-magical french bistro night out. steak au poivre, killer winelist, and al fresco dining a plus.


thank you. :)

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      1. Actually, from what I heard, La Tache really didn't decline in food or service; the owners just wanted to change things up. It's now Vincent, a Dutch-themed bistro.

        There's a fairly comprehensive list of French bistros in the discussion at Lately La Sardine has become sort of my "go to" place when someone I know wants to go to a French bistro; it's very good, but I don't think they have any al fresco seating. They also do a special on Tuesday nights, with any three courses for $25. It's in the West Loop. All of this also applies to their sister restaurant, Le Bouchon in Bucktown.

        According to Opentable, three French bistros in the city have al fresco dining: Kiki's in River North ("Outdoor Tables May Be Reserved"), Mon Ami Gabi in Lincoln Park ("Beautiful Patio Facing The Lincoln Park Conservatory"), and Cyrano's in River North ("Join Our Outdoor Only Venue W/Tables Along The Riverbank Outside & Feel As Though You'Re In France"). I've been to Kiki's and Mon Ami Gabi and both are very good. So is Bistro Campagne, which is in Lincoln Square and I believe has al fresco dining. There may be others in addition to these.


        Kiki's Bistro
        900 N. Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60610

        La Sardine
        111 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607

        Le Bouchon
        1958 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

        Bistro Campagne
        4518 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

        Mon Ami Gabi
        2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614

        Cyrano's Bistrot Wine Bar & Cabaret
        546 N Wells, Chicago, IL 60610

        Cyrano's Cafe & Wine Bar On the Riverwalk
        233 E Riverwalk S Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60601

        2 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          It would be hard to choose between Bistro Campagne and Le Bouchon for excellence and authenticity. But both are outside the main tourist area. Campagne has a delightful outdoor garden to dine in & they have a commitment to organic locally grown sustainable food.

          I had a recent dinner at Mon Ami Gabi and it was deeply disappointing. Lots of cuts of mediocre steaks in a very ordinary setting. I will not go back.

          Le Sardine is good as Le Bouchon but is bigger doesn't feel like stepping into a bistro in Paris like the Le Bouchon does. I haven't been to Kiki's in years so I can't speak to it.

          Le Bouchon
          1958 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

          Bistro Campagne
          4518 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

          1. re: nsxtasy

            I should probably have noted general distances, although these places are shown on the map to the right. Kiki's and Cyrano's are both in River North, walkable from most of the hotels near the Mag Mile. From that area, La Sardine is about a mile west, Mon Ami Gabi is a couple miles north, Le Bouchon is about four miles northwest, and Bistro Campagne is about six miles north. By comparison, if you were staying near the Mag Mile during your previous visit, La Tache (Vincent) was about six miles north of there.

          2. thanks to all of y'all. wherever we wind up, we'll raise a glass to y'all. :)