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Oct 11, 2011 07:19 PM

Affordable French Restaurant Downtown...

Hello Fellow chowhounds...

Having had great help so far, I'm in need of an :

Affordable French Restaurant Downtown

(LOOP, MAG MILE, RIVER NORTH) or a bit further... but not much further as we are only there for thanksgiving weekend and no car.

I have looked but can't seem to find anything...

How about Deca @ the Ritz... no reviews here on CH...

or any other suggestions.

AFFORDABLE: would be a place that either we can order a la cart dishes from 10-15 appetizers to maybe 25-40+ entrees... and have the ability to order a tasting or prix fixe menu only for me and the others a la cart
(if that's even possible... my mom and my son are not very interested in spending a gazillion $$, I on the other hand.... if its good I don't mind at all but I can't leave them and go eat by my self so we have to compromise LOL

Thanks again!


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  1. Probably my favorite in that area is Le Sardine in the West Loop. It's authentic and reasonable and very good food. There is also Kiki's Bistro in River North. I haven't been there in years, but I know that other people really like it

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

    La Sardine
    111 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607

    4 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      I like Kiki's and was there this past week and it is close enough.

      900 N Franklin St

      Chicago, IL 60610-8101

      (312) 335-5454

      1. re: Marinauser

        Thanks! I'll check out kiki's... maybe for lunch
        for dinner im looking for something a bit more "fancy"

        how about Cafe des Architectes @ the Sofitel (menu sounds good, but you never know)
        Deca @ the Ritz

        Really appreciate all your help and time to help me get my Chow on! in Chicago!

        wish I could just go to all!

        Cafe des Architectes
        20 East Chestnut Street, Chicago, IL 60611

        1. re: yesilovestotravel

          CdA is a hotel restaurant. It's pleasant, but its name notwithstanding is not particularly French. I went on the unrelentingly strong recommendations of someone on this board. It has big ambitions, but IMO doesn't fulfill on them. I had a dining experience there that was so bad it was funny. The food was unexceptional and the service was horrible. It does, however have a very well-priced special chef's tasting menu. If price is a motivator, you should try it.

          And sorry, but I don't know Deca at all.

          1. re: yesilovestotravel

            Cafe des Architectes has evolved recently. A couple of years ago, Martial Noguier was chef there, and it was absolutely wonderful at that time. (And yes, at the time, I posted frequently about it - those who wish to be snide could even call it "unrelentingly" - but the simple fact is, there are a lot of places I post frequently about.) Since his departure, Greg Biggers has taken over in the kitchen. During his tenure, I have eaten there for Sunday brunch, which I thoroughly enjoyed (as I reported in the big brunch discussion). However, I have not eaten there for dinner under Chef Biggers (beware, the same may be true of other reports), and the current dinner menu is sufficiently different from its previous incarnation as well as the brunch menu that I don't feel I can express an opinion on its food quality without trying it for dinner. I do agree with chicgail that the menu seems to be more mainstream contemporary American rather than strictly French.

            Martial Noguier has gone on to open Bistronomic, about a block away. I have not been there, and the menu there seems different enough from his previous establishments that I can't really render an opinion on this place until I go there. I can say that I loved his cuisine at two of his previous establishments (prior to CdA he was at one sixtyblue). And as best I can tell from their website menu, Bistronomic seems like a conventional French bistro, similar in cuisine and prices to other French bistros like La Sardine and Kiki's.

            One more French bistro downtown is Paris Club, which opened in the former Brasserie Jo space. I've read mixed reviews and have not been there.

            I haven't been to deca, which is in the Ritz-Carlton, but the menu on their website sounds more contemporary American than classic French bistro.


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

            La Sardine
            111 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607

            Cafe des Architectes
            20 East Chestnut Street, Chicago, IL 60611

            840 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

            Paris Club
            59 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654

            160 E. Pearson St., Chicago, IL 60611

      2. Take a look at Maudes Liquor Bar. Don't let the name mislead. They have great food. And great drinks.

        On a personal note, why the need for so many choices? 25-40!! entrees. I don't even think Denny's has that many on their menu. That many entree choices tells me that a restaurant does nothing well so they're throwing everything at the dining room wall in order to see what sticks.

        Le Sardine is an excellent choice as well. Tuesdays they have a $27 prix fixe dinner and Friday it's $1 oysters at the bar.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hoppy2468

          I'd forgotten about Maude's, but it's a great choice for French bistro food, and also has excellent cocktails. (if you're at work, beware, there's automatic music on the home page).

          Hoppy, I think the OP was referring to price, not quantity: $10–$15 appetizers, $25–$40 entrees.

          1. re: mcgeary

            That makes much more sense. Thanks.

            1. re: mcgeary

              mcgeary! what a good memory you have... :)
              yeah, I always keep my speakers turned "off" for that reason...

              thanks for the reply... hope to make a choice soon! LOL

            2. re: hoppy2468

              Sorry!! didn't realize I forgot to put the $$...
              it was ment to say: $25-$40 entrees!
              Thanks for pointing that out! LOL

            3. This is what I posted in your other, more general topic, about affordable French restaurants:

              There are two basic kinds of French restaurants: expensive, and bistros. The expensive places are the ones that typically have creative food, lengthy tasting menus, and formal attire. French bistros are usually quite affordable, offer only a la carte menus, and the cuisine is typically conventional bistro fare. For example, La Sardine in the West Loop and its sister Le Bouchon in Bucktown both have a special on Tuesdays, with any three courses for $25, and even on other days of the week it's still not all that expensive, with the prices of lunch entrees in the mid teens and dinner entrees in the low twenties. La Sardine in the West Loop and Kiki's in River North are excellent as well as convenient to those staying downtown.

              If you're interested in trying one of our very best (Michelin star winning) high-priced French restaurants at a bargain, Everest offers a pre-theater menu for 5:00/5:30 seatings. It's a set three-course prix fixe menu, no choices, but it's only $50 or so. I suspect your companions could get that prix fixe menu and you could get the lengthy, more expensive tasting menu, but you should really check with the restaurant to verify that. Also noteworthy about Everest is its extensive wine list (1700 choices, the best French-Alsatian selection in the country) and its view from the 40th Floor of the Midwest Stock Exchange Building, looking out over the city.

              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

              440 S La Salle St Ste 4000, Chicago, IL 60605

              1. I haven't been there but would Henri fit what you're looking for?