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Oct 4, 2011 07:17 AM

Need help finalizing itinerary. Moto, Spiaggia, TRU, Trotters or Everest?

I will be coming to Chicago for a second visit this weekend. On my first visit back in April I really enjoyed Alinea, Schwa, Purple Pig, Topo and Frontera was underwhelmed with L2O.

For my upcoming trip I have reservations to Schwa on Thursday, Next on Friday and brunch at the Publican on Sunday. I'm still up in the air for dinners on Saturday and Sunday and can't decide between Moto, Spiaggia, TRU, Trotters and Everest. I'm leaning towards Moto and Spiaggia, thoughts?

1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Moto Restaurant
945 W Fulton, Chicago, IL 60607

2300 Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614

980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Purple Pig
500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

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    Personally I don't think Moto is in a class with the others you named. It is quirky and call on molecular gastronomy, but IMO does "interesting things" for the sake of them being interesting, not because they are great.

    If it were me, I would choose Spiaggia, Everest or TRU. I had a bad experience with Everest service-wise recently, but the food was outstanding. My last visit to Trotters was boooring. He just hasn't kept his edge.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chicgail

      I agree with chicgail on all counts. In particular, her description of Moto expresses my opinion more articulately than I could ever do myself. :)

      I have two other comments. One is, are you sure you want to do two more high-end restaurants, since you're already eating at Schwa and Next? That would make your dining itinerary rather single-minded. Even though I enjoy high-end haute cuisine as much as anyone, when I'm visiting another city and trying a lot of restaurants, I try to vary things a bit, with a handful of high-end places, supplemented by others that are more casual (and moderately priced, although that is not a primary concern), and even some "cheap eats" type places. OTOH I have a friend whose main objective is to try as many high-end places as possible, and plans trips where she eats at one after another after another. I think of hers as the "Mae West strategy", i.e. "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."

      The other thing I would strongly advise is to have some sort of backup plan if Schwa cancels your reservation at the last minute, as they frequently do. Not necessarily a duplicate reservation for which you could be a no-show, but at least give some thought to exactly what you plan to do if they do cancel. Maybe you have a web-enabled smartphone on which you can go to Opentable to find openings, maybe you want to keep the phone number of your hotel's concierge handy, maybe you would instead go to a place that doesn't accept reservations anyway - but it's something I recommend thinking about ahead of time, just in case.

      Enjoy your visit, and feel free to ask more questions!

    2. Of the ones you area considering Tru would be my first choice.

      1. Thanks for all your input. I cancelled my reservation to Moto and made one for TRU on Saturday and Spaggia on Sunday.

        Regarding Schwa, I'm aware they can be flakey so I made a backup reservation to Blackbird and will cancel that once I'm confirmed with Schwa.

        Moto Restaurant
        945 W Fulton, Chicago, IL 60607

        9 Replies
        1. re: PorkyBelly

          Just be away that Schwa may - and has - cancelled on the day of the reservation. They may - or may not - let you know before you arrive for dinner. That flaky.

          1. re: PorkyBelly

            Save the money - do Cafe Spiaggia for lunch one day and do Blackbird or somewhere else Sunday night.


            Cafe Spiaggia
            980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

            1. re: uhockey

              i was gonna suggest Blackbird over some of the rest of this list too.

              1. re: mattstolz

                I was at Blackbird just two weeks ago and it was excellent.

                1. re: HoosierFoodie

                  Blackbird is very good. Not my favorite, partly due to the cramped seating and high noise level, but the food is consistently good. But there are lots of interesting finer dining restaurants in Chicago, and Blackbird is only one of them. For contemporary American cuisine, our best also include Naha, Perennial Virant, North Pond, Boka, Deleece, and Sable. And we have some great contemporary versions of other cuisines, too, such as the contemporary Italian at Piccolo Sogno and the Florentine, and the contemporary Mexican at Mexique and Mundial Cocina Mestiza. Plus there are all the other types of food where you can have a nice dinner, such as tapas at Mercat a la Planxa, Latin fusion at Carnivale, and French bistro fare at La Sardine, just to name a few more. There's lots of great food to be had in Chicago, and you can have an excellent creative meal at any of these without spending as much as at the high-end places.

                  Mundial Cocina Mestiza
                  1640 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

                  1729 North Halsted, Chicago, IL 60614

                  La Sardine
                  111 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607

                  North Pond
                  2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614

                  Mercat a la Planxa
                  638 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605

                  Perennial Virant
                  1800 N Lincoln, Chicago, IL 60614

                  1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

                  Deleece Restaurant (on Southport)
                  3747 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657

                  Piccolo Sogno
                  464 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60622

                  500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

                  702 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60661

                  Sable Kitchen & Bar
                  505 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

                  The Florentine
                  151 W. Adams, Chicago, IL 60601

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    Not to hijack this, but since we've talked about lunch vs. dinner and Blackbird, can anyone comment on how good Blackbird's prix fixe lunch is? It's very attractively priced so if it at least approximates the experience at dinner, I'd like to try it some time.

                    1. re: zooxanthellae

                      I posted a review here and in the blog - my sister did the prix fixe and it was quite the bargain. I ordered alc.


                      1. re: zooxanthellae

                        Yes, Blackbird's prix fixe lunch gives you a good idea of what the dinner experience is like. It is one of our best restaurants open for lunch (none of our highest-end places are), and the prix fixe is indeed an excellent bargain, as indicated above. Try it!

                        1. re: nsxtasy

                          Cool, thanks, I'll keep it in mind for when I have a free afternoon.