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Jun 18, 2012 09:45 AM

Seeking comments/input - Bar Toma vs La Madia and also considering the Pump Room

With advanced thanks, I would be grateful for some comments on selecting Bar Toma vs La Madia. We are interested in a casual/hip kind of energy and, hopefully, delicious food as well. It appears that the La Madia menu may be slightly larger and offer more typical mains, whereas Bar Toma is more like share some starters and a pizza. We do not want to pick something that will be empty, as our dining options are on a Sunday and Monday night.

With that in mind, I thought that Pump Room might be a good choice for Sunday. Given that is is in a hotel, I figured there will be other people there. I also like the idea that is is a classic Chicago destination that has been redone. I have been unable to find a great deal of information about how the food actually is.

Final question - for a Nine over and done? Any confirmation or alternative suggestions wouls be great.

Thank you!

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  1. I really like La Madia- their artichoke pizza is amazing and it's a great casual atmosphere to have a glass of wine and some good food. I've only been to Bar Toma once and was not impressed with the food. It's also in a very large space, which made the atmosphere a little less appealing to us. I don't think either would be empty at night and not sure how you narrowed it down to these 2 options but I think of both places as somewhere for lunch or a casual dinner.
    On the steakhouse front- there are lots of choices- right now my favorites are Chicago Cut (on the river), Hugo's (where you can have seafood and order steaks from Gibsons) or Joe's.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ms. mika

      Thanks for your quick reply, Ms. Mika. I narrowed it down to these on sort of rando criteria. The people that are joining me requested "something like Scarpetta". To me, that is more about the vibe than the food. So, I guess I was going for that type of thing. Bar Toma was written up in this months Food & Wine mag and I think someone who used to live in Chicao recommended La Madia. If you or anyone else has a better suggestion, I am certainly not stuck on these.
      I will look up Chicaco Cut and Hugo's. I have been to the original Joe's in Miami, so I will check out these other two suggestions that seem more native to Chicago.

    2. I actually ate at both yesterday and continue to love La Madia for so many reasons - great wine by glass, great entrees, great salads and oh those desserts! Service is always good and the space is hip and energetic

      Bar Toma's food is inconsistent ... Though their pizza merguez is wonderful... Wine selection feels limited, service friendly but with lots of hiccups. We go if we want something post shopping but not first choice.

      1. You will love the Pump Room. I was there recently and found it as good as ever.

        As for steak places, the best IMHO is Chicago Cut. I had a terrific Tamahawk steak recently at Michael Jordan's.