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Nov 8, 2011 09:40 AM

Dining ideas post-Turkey Day

I will be in town from St. Louis the Friday after T-giving until late Sat. afternoon. Since a big meal will have happened the day before, thinking about strategy (and getting a res. in if needed) for some dining choices. Staying at the Blackstone but will have access to Zipcar, so not limited to South Loop, Loop, etc.

I was thinking about hitting some storied places that I have never been to (traveled to Chicago many times and used to live in North Shore), including Mr. Beef, Twin Anchors, Gene and Georgetti (I know that gruff service is a theme there).

Other new places or new to me that look promising:

Lillie Q
Great Lakes Pizza
Bistro Voltaire
Perennial Virant
Grange Hall Burger Bar

Any thoughts hounds?
(Happy to help with St. Louis, while not Chicago caliber, things are improving steadily and one can eat quite well here these days...)

Perennial Virant
1800 N Lincoln, Chicago, IL 60614

Mr. Beef
666 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654

Great Lake
1477 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

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  1. I haven't been to some of the places you mention. Overall, it sounds like you're looking at many places in the "cheap eats" category (which is fine), but with a few others thrown in. And that's what's confusing me. Along with those cheap eats, you mention one steakhouse and no others. Are you looking for gruff service, or for a great steak? If you're looking for a great steak, you'd be better off considering other places like David Burke's Primehouse or Chicago Cut Steakhouse. Same thing with Perennial Virant, another mention that confuses me. Perennial Virant is excellent, but I would expect someone who's interested in an excellent contemporary American restaurant to be considering not only Perennial Virant, but also Boka, North Pond, Naha, Graham Elliot, etc. Same thing with Bistro Voltaire, without mentioning other (better-known and possibly better) French bistros, like La Sardine and Kiki's Bistro. It's almost like choosing the names of a dozen restaurants at random, based on nothing in particular (and not even necessarily the best in their respective categories).

    If you're open to other suggestions, you would need to provide more information about what you're looking for. But there's one place I think deserves consideration based on what you've already posted, and that's Mercat a la Planxa, and specifically for your one dinner here. It's perhaps our best tapas restaurant, from famous restauranteur and native Chicagoan Jose Garces (who has numerous restaurants in Philadelphia). It's located right in your hotel (the Blackstone) which is another reason why it's such a logical recommendation.

    Really, you're going to have one dinner here, and it's up to YOU to decide what kind of place YOU want to go - a steakhouse, an upscale tapas restaurant, a contemporary American restaurant, a French bistro, a barbecue house, a sandwich shop, etc. (Some of those places might work for another meal during your visit, like lunch, while others won't.)

    1729 North Halsted, Chicago, IL 60614

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

    La Sardine
    111 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607

    David Burke's Primehouse
    616 N Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611

    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

    500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

    Graham Elliot
    217 W. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654

    Chicago Cut Steakhouse
    300 N LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60654

    Bistro Voltaire
    226 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60610

    2 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Have been to Mercat several times. The motivating theme behind my choices is twofold: Chicago "old school places" as a genre, and the other theme is new places within multiple types of cuisine. Of course, I am looking for fine food above all, regardless of price point, but the aforementioned is the method to my madness.

      1. re: ddfry3

        Thanks - that makes a bit more sense of it.

    2. Perennial is wonderful and very worth a visit ... I find the food delicious, service great and the cocktails lovely.

      Twin Anchors is in my neighborhood and while old school indeed it's not old school wonderful. The food is merely serviceable at best ...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Siun

        I agree with the Perennial suggestion. I dined there last night and I was so pleased with how light the food was. A perfect balance after a heavy Thanksgiving dinner, to be sure.