HELP! Chicago Birthday Dinner idea something unique with fun atmosphere and GREAT food
Coming in from out of town...looking for a great dinner somewhere we can get dressed up but not too formal. I'm a foodie so tired of same ol' steakhouse...dont mind spending $$
Ideally I would have loved to try girl and goat, but they are booked, put my name on a canellation list though.
We're both around 30 years old...
I assume, since you're coming from out of town and you mention Girl and the Goat, that you're staying somewhere in or around downtown Chicago. There are various ways of defining "fun atmosphere", and of course we wouldn't recommend food that isn't great, right?
Here are some ideas of places that might fit what you're looking for.
Alinea has been named the best restaurant in the United States. You need to book 2-3 months ahead of time; on January 1 (or Jan 2) they will start taking reservations for March, and they fill up fast. Fun? Yes! Great food? Yes! But if you're coming before March, you probably won't be able to get a reservation.
North Pond is in the middle of Lincoln Park (the park itself), facing its namesake pond with the city skyline over the opposite shore. The food is excellent and the setting makes it unique.
Our provincial Mexican restaurants offer unique cuisine with a festive atmosphere. If you can't get a reservation for Topolobampo (they, too, book three months out), consider Mexique, with its lively bistro vibe.
Mercat a la Planxa is a tapas restaurant in the southeast corner of the Loop. The food is unique (very different from other kinds of food) and the large room has a fun spirit.
Carnivale and Nacional 27 are both Latin fusion restaurants with unusual food and a festive vibe.
Everest is a high-end French restaurant with great food, and a great view looking out over the city. It's more formal (dressy) which many might consider fun, although others might not. Our French bistros are more casual with traditional French bistro fare; La Sardine and Kiki's are among our best.
If you can take satisfaction from a restaurant with terrific food and service, and a fun atmosphere, but may not be all that unique, there are several others I'd throw out there: GT Fish (seafood small plates), Piccolo Sogno (contemporary Italian), Sable (contemporary American small plates and craft cocktails), and Boka (contemporary Italian).
Have a happy birthday!
1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
1729 North Halsted, Chicago, IL 60614
900 N. Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60610
111 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607
2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614
325 W. Huron, Chicago, IL 60610
440 S La Salle St Ste 4000, Chicago, IL 60605
445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610
Mercat a la Planxa
638 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605
1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
464 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60622
702 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60661
Sable Kitchen & Bar
505 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60654
GT Fish and Oyster
531 N. Wells St., Chicago, IL
>> theyre all booked up.
Not really. Of the 14 places I recommended above, 11 of them (all except the first three) show reservations available for January 7 on Opentable (or, for La Sardine, on their own website). Times are limited (early or late) at Piccolo Sogno or GT Fish; at the other 9 places, availability is wide open.
It's primarily only the handful of expensive high-end restaurants that only offer tasting menus, as do similar restaurants in other cities around the country. The only such places mentioned above are Alinea and Everest, although there are a few others around town. Just about anywhere else, you have a wide range of choices and can order a la carte.
nsxtasy offers some great choices. I especially second Mercat. I would also toss Graham Elliot's and Moto into the mix especially Moto if Chris Jones wins/won Top Chef.