Can't decide on restaurant
We will be coming to Chicago for the first time at the end of the month. I have read this board quite abit athough now I can't make up my mind. I have Graham Elliott, Tru, and Everest on my list. I had almost decided on G.E. but then read it was really noisy. Primarily looking for great food, price not a worry and atmosphere not too pretentious. Any thoughts?
We will be staying at The Fairmont so would also appreciate thoughts on nearby spots. Also looking for recs for Thai and Indian.
Thanks so much.
>> I have Graham Elliott, Tru, and Everest on my list. I had almost decided on G.E. but then read it was really noisy. Primarily looking for great food, price not a worry and atmosphere not too pretentious. Any thoughts?
These three are all very good, each in its own way. TRU and Everest are both high-end fine dining restaurants, featuring formal attire (jackets required for gentlemen), lengthy tasting menus, armies of waitstaff, high prices, etc. Everest's food is more French than the other two, and is also distinguished by its view (from the 40th floor of the Midwest Stock Exchange) and its lengthy wine list. The decor is very traditional. TRU is more of a contemporary high-end place. Graham Elliot is more casual (jackets NOT required), and has an a la carte menu in addition to the tasting menu.
When I'm having trouble deciding which restaurant to choose, I find it very helpful to look at all the sample menus on the restaurants' websites.
>> We will be staying at The Fairmont so would also appreciate thoughts on nearby spots.
Aria, inside the Fairmont, is very good; it offers pan-Asian cuisine along with American favorites. Walk to Pizano's on Madison for deep-dish pizza. Walk across the river to Fox & Obel, our premier gourmet food store, for great baked goods and prepared foods. Walk to Intelligentsia on Randolph for the best coffee in town, from our best local roaster.
>> Also looking for recs for Thai and Indian.
Our best Thai and Indian restaurants are quite some distance from the Fairmont, so you'll have to decide whether to trade off convenience against quality. There are some Thai places downtown but none that I've found really excels. If you're willing to travel, take the CTA Red Line (subway) to the Sheridan stop for TAC Quick. There are a few Indian places downtown but again, none near the Fairmont that I would recommend; the big concentration of Indian restaurants is on the far north side, on Devon between Sacramento and Western.
Pizano's Pizza & Pasta
61 E Madison St, Chicago, IL 60603
Fox & Obel Food Market
401 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611
3930 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60613
676 North Saint Clair, Chicago, IL 60611
440 S La Salle St Ste 4000, Chicago, IL 60605
55 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL
200 N Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL 60601
217 W. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654
>> We live in Toronto.
One of my favorite cities! I checked out a bunch of pastry shops when I was there a couple of years ago; I'm sure my post about them is still on the Ontario board. EDIT - It is: www.chow.com/topics/522805#5147320
Coming from Toronto, I wouldn't be eating at Thai or Indian restaurants in Chicago. Not that they aren't good; they are. But you have so many good ones back home. If I were you, I would instead be seeking out the kinds of food that Chicago does well but you can't get back home. More specifically, I'd have deep-dish pizza at least once, and I'd make sure to have at least one meal (preferably dinner) at a provincial Mexican restaurant, such as Topolobampo/Frontera Grill, Mundial Cocina Mestiza, Mexique, etc.
This discussion might help; it tells what foods and places are unique or specialties in Chicago, foods that Chicago is particularly good at:
first time Chicago - www.chow.com/topics/693477
Mundial Cocina Mestiza
1640 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608
445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610
1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622