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What options do I have now that Avenues is closed?

c
clairenim Sep 24, 2011 07:08 PM

Hello all,

I have a sister who is flying into Chicago tomorrow from California to celebrate her big 3-0 birthday with me! Since we are both away from family and after all, it IS her big 3-0, we wanted to celebrate with a great meal at a great restaurant -- which is where I need your help!

I was initially thinking Avenues since I love the Peninsula and its classic appeal. Unfortunately I heard it is currently closed for renovation. Major boo! So I wanted to know what other options are out there.

Neither my sister nor I drink, so wine selection/pairing is not of interest to us. Ideally I'd like the bill to be less than or around $100 pp. And usually I don't really care for the super modern, 10-course tasting menus a la Alinea, which is why I'm a little hesitant to go for L20 and Tru, even though they are among the most popular to be recommended on this board (at least that is my impression.. do correct me if I'm wrong). I was also thinking of Rick Bayless and his places -- but I find that I don't really dig haute-Mexican cuisine so Topolobampo seems to be out of question (besides the place is always full whenever I call). My sister has a thing for French bistro-ish restaurants (e.g. Balthazar in SoHo; Bouchon in Vegas) so perhaps we should also do a French bistro dinner one night while she is here? I even know of any French bistro-y place in Chicago so any suggestion there would be helpful too.

On a side note, has anyone been to RIA lately? I know some people on the board hate the place with passion, but it DID get 2 Michelin stars, which intrigues me. It's been on my to-try list for a while but never gotten around to it. Besides, I've been to their sister restaurant Balsan and found the place charming and delicious (the hotel is lovely beyond words).

All in all, please let me know your thoughts regarding 1. a nice alternative to Avenues for a birthday dinner (~$100pp) and 2. a possible french-bistro dinner that won't break the bank. Many thanks in advance for your pearls of wisdom!

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Alinea
1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Avenues At the Peninsula
108 E Superior, Chicago, IL 60611

Topolobampo
445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

L2O
2300 Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614

Balsan
11 E Walton St, Chicago, IL 60610

Ria
11 E Walton St, Chicago, IL 60610

  1. m
    mgofood Sep 25, 2011 05:23 PM

    You might want to try Boka. It has a short tasting menu with very interesting food, it's in a vibrant neighborhood, and has a nice interior. The It's too bad that Avenues is undergoing a transition, it truly was a great restaurant with Curtis Duffy.

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    Boka
    1729 North Halsted, Chicago, IL 60614

    1 Reply
    1. re: mgofood
      i
      igorm Sep 25, 2011 06:00 PM

      I would second BOKA. The other two suggestions are Everest or Spiaggia, either one is a great restaurant.

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      Spiaggia
      980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

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