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great foodie restaurant - no scene needed

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Looking for a great foodie restaurant in Chicago. I lived in Lincoln Park for a couple of years and moved back to Miami in 2009. I'm looking for a great foodie place to take my best friend (who lives in Chi) for her 29th birthday. No scene, hype or flash needed (or wanted) - just a phenomenal meal! Thanks!

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  1. Not many foodies have anything bad to say about Publican.

    1 Reply
    1. re: camusman

      It's loud and, in my experience, the service blows. But yes, the food is good.

    2. Perennial Virant's my favorite "foodie" restaurant that doesn't come with a good dose of hype or flash. Paul Virant's one of the best chefts in the city, and the new iteration (it used to be called simply Perennial) seems to fly a little under the radar because the restaurant existed before he got there.

      People certainly know about the restaurant (it's near the top of Chicago Mag's Best New Restaurants 2011 list), but good reservations are nearly always available.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Possumlad

        There's a reason that Perennial Virant flies under the radar. It is kind of boring. Not bad but not all that interesting. I read and heard such great things about Virant's suburban restaurant, Vie, that I really wanted to love this place (and I like some of his recipes that I have made at home) but I live within 2 blocks of this place and now consider it a place to go on Saturday for brunch/lunch after the farmer's market in Lincoln Park closes. I find nothing inspiring about the food there.

        1. re: KateBChi

          I disagree, but to each their own. I also live a few blocks away, and it's my go-to place for both brunch and dinner. I'm consistently impressed with the food -- far more than I've been at other "hipper" places like Girl & the Goat or Longman & Eagle. When I've brought guests, they've nearly always been surprised & excited by the food -- and amazed that it's as laid back and easy to get in to as it is.

          As another suggestion for the original poster, Sprout (Dale Levitski's restaurant) is fantastic, relatively unhyped and unflashy, and worth every penny:
          http://sproutrestaurant.com/.

      2. A few more suggestions for you. These are all Michelin Starred restauarants, and all generally have reservations available for 7-9PM a day or two in advance:

        - Sepia
        - Boka
        - Bonsoiree
        - Takashi
        - Naha

        They each have their merits. Many rave about NAHA, although my favorites among the bunch are BOKA and Sepia. You really can't go wrong at any, and none are hyped up or flashy.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Possumlad

          Thanks so much for the great recs!

          1. re: Possumlad

            My votes would be for Bonsiree or Takashi. Chef Takashi Hagihashi just competed against Michael Simon on Iron Chef.

          2. You could also try and get into Schwa, although they can be difficult to get into and be unpredictable or Bonsoiree. I would call both foodie spots and both are BYOB which is always fun.

            1. Yusho - so hot right now.