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Best Area for Proximity to Deliciousness?

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Hot damn. Compared to my NYC, Chi-town is huge.

Lots of spread out enclaves of not to-be-missed yumminess.

I haven't been in 10 years and frankly I am a bit overwhelmed.

Having said that, what area would you choose to be in the best "food neigborhood"....?
Currently we are booked for the Fairmont Millenium. So far the places I've been interested in checking out are in the West Loop. The concierge said it would be a 10-15 minute taxi ride based on traffic.

Is there anything awsome NTBM (Not to be missed) in the Loop, near Grant Park? Should I base myselfin a more food-centric area? Seems Fulton Market is a hotbed of culinary oferings.

Basically which area has the highest concentration of place I will want to check out?

I have a pretty extensive history with Chicago and have done all the big name stuff. This time I want to focus on Big Star, Urban Belly, Publican, avec, franks and dawgs, xoco etc....no Blackbird, Alinea, Spiaggia etc....

Sorry for the all over the place prose. So excited to get it all going!

Thanks,
lisa

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  1. We usually stay in River North at the Palomar due to proximity to Xoco, Purple Pig, Sable, GT Fish and Oyster. Doughnut Vault and Lou Malnati's aren't very far either.

    1. As someone noted on a post in another thread, Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. Many - MANY - of those neighborhoods have awesome offerings.

      If you're going to be in the Wicker Park, Bucktown area for Big Star and Urban Belly. Consider (strongly consider) Bonsoiree, Lulu, Longman & Eagle and maybe Revolution Brewing in nearby Logan Square.

      1. If you do stick with the Fairmont, you'll be near Mariano's Fresh Market.
        It has a terrific food court.
        333 E. Benton Pl.

        5 Replies
        1. re: camusman

          Thanks for the Palomar recc. Never heard of it, but I'm pretty sure I'm switching it up. Half the price of Fairmont and it seems like there are a ton of places that will be right there, a real neghborhood vibe....I wish the reservationist who answered had been to NYC because then I could have asked if River North were more like Grammercy/Union Square/ Upper East Side midtown/bay ridge yada yada....but she assured me that it was a hotbed of great places to eat....and so I am happy! My husband thinks that giving up the gFairmont's gold floor/free parking/full breakfast/and a 100 daily gift card to macy's is ridiculous....but I say I'd rather be closer to good restaurants!

          1. re: ZenFoodist

            River North still feels like Midtown/5th Ave due to the large numbers of hotels, department stores, and office buildings. But it seems a bit less tourist-y to me as its further from Millenium Park/etc.

            1. re: ZenFoodist

              You can also enjoy great artisanal cocktails and very nice food at Sable right in the Hotel Palomar. I live 6 blocks away and it's a favorite of mine. A few other places I really like close to Palomar are Roka Akor (Japanese); the Doughnut Vault for breakfast on Saturday (closed Sunday and need to check facebook for line times and availability); and you could stop for a great Mexican hot chocolate at Xoco.

              1. re: jbontario

                Any thoughts on grahamwich? We've done Doughnut Vault, Do-Rite, and Xoco for a quick breakfast pastry and coffee. I saw that grahamwich is now carrying Bleeding Heart baked goods.

                1. re: kathryn

                  I wouldn't plan a hotel by Fulton Market/West Loop, but anywhere in the Mag Mile, River North, or Loop areas would be an easy cab or possibly public transit ride to that area. For something out-of-the box, you could consider staying at the Longman and Eagle (boardinhouse/gastropub). The Logan Square neighborhood boasts some of our best, newest, and most original restaurants, and you won't feel like a tourist staying there.