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Feb 19, 2012 07:22 AM

Unique restaurants downtown?

We are Minneapolis folks heading to Chicago this week for a conference and looking for a good (non-chain type) restaurant in the downtown area or nearby. We will be staying at the James Hotel (E. Ontario St. and N. Michigan Ave. roughly) and are looking for a spot to meet friends on Friday night.

Any ideas? I checked other threads on this board and already checked Girl & the Goat and Publican which have no reservations left. Thanks for the help!

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  1. I would recommend any of the Rick Bayless restaurants, Pizzeria Uno (completely different than the chain of Uno chain) which is the birth place of Chicago Deep Dish pizza or its sister restaurant Pizzeria Due

    Pizzeria Due
    619 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

    Pizzeria Uno
    29 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

    Frontera Grill
    445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

    445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

    449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

    1. A couple reliable places that are close to your hotel:
      Purple Pig, 500 N. Michigan Ave.
      Coco Pazzo Cafe, 636 N. Saint Clair St.,
      Be forewarned that it will be the tail-end of Restaurant Week in Chicago and many places will be packed.

      1. How long are you willing to wait for a table? Very likely you'll end up waiting a while at Frontera Grill (limited number of reservations taken over the phone), Pizzeria Uno (no reservations taken), Pizzeria Due (no reservations taken), Purple Pig (no reservations taken).

        Coco Pazza has availability on OpenTable for decent times around 7/8pm.

        Topolobampo only has 5:45pm on OT for 4 people on Friday, Feb 24th.

        1. Places nearby that take reservations: GT Fish & Oyster, Sable, Nomi, Maud's Liquor Bar, Blackbird, Naha
          A few more places that don't: Vera, Avec

          1 Reply
          1. re: elysiumarie

            As the others mentioned, Purple Pig is close to you and awesome, but the wait can be long; one strategy is to put your name down early (early, I tell you!), then grab a glass or two of wine across the street at Eno, the wine bar in the Intercontinental Hotel building.