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In search of special dinner restaurant, but not extremely expensive

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My husband and I are planning a trip without the kids for one night in Chicago. This is a rare occasion for us (mostly travel with the kids, so an overnight is a big deal) and we'd like a very nice dinner. Last time we did this we went to Alinea, which was wonderful. Unfortunately, that's a bit out of the price range for this visit.

We're looking for something more in the $200/person range, including wine, hopefully with a tasting menu. Any cuisine, as long as the food is excellent and the atmosphere is nice. We'd be staying in the Mag Mile area, but are willing to take a cab to anywhere fairly central.

Any help is appreciated

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  1. A tasting menu with wine at graham elliot is in your price range. I really enjoy GE and it is a nice restaurant I do not consider it a romantic destination, It's a little more laid back and fun.

    Another option is the seasonal tasting menu at Ria. The menu with a wine pairing is 185, so with tax and gratuity, the bill will be over 200 dollars per person. To keep costs down I would order a bottle of wine instead of the wine pairing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PopMegaphone

      I highly recommend Ria's seasonal tasting menu with wine pairing. When I was there, I asked to have the wine pairing but at half the volume - because I am not a big drinker - and they were able to accommodate me and only charge me around $40 for the pairing. In my opinion, after Alinea, Ria is really the best all-around fine-dining experience you can have in Chicago now.

    2. Chris Nugent's new restaurant, Goosefoot is also one to consider. Eight course tasting menu for just $90 and it is BYOB - so well under your budget. They are supposed to roll out a twelve course tasting menu soon for about $140.

      I just dined last night at El Ideas which is an unorthodox venue, but was outstanding food and a very fun, memorable experience. They feature a 13-14 course tasting menu, are extremely small (sixteen seats) and the chefs serve the food and encourage you to come hang out in the kitchen and observe them and chat with them in between courses. This is $135 and also BYOB.

      The smaller tasting menu at Blackbird would be in your price range and the larger one just a bit over (provided you went inexpensively with the wine). Topolombampo is another option, but requires some advance planning in order to procure a reservation.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gonzo70

        We had an outstanding meal at Goosefoot recently. For $90, it really is an outstanding value, and the fact that it's a BYOB only enhances its affordability. I'd feel very confident recommending it to out of town visitors, whether they had budget constraints or not.