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Jul 27, 2012 05:44 PM

Dinner with dad

My dad is meeting me in Chicago. I want to take him to dinner some place (don't think I can afford alinea, but somewhere reasonably expensive is good) that we can talk long over many drinks, and top it off with a great meal. Was thinking publican, any suggestions? Publican vs. girl and the goat? Thanks!

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  1. Publican is very loud, and not a great place to linger.

    When is this dinner? Girl and Goat will have a long wait unless you already have a reservation.

    6 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      . . . also, a lot of the seating is communal; there are more private seatings, somewhat removed from the action, but you'll have to reserve these in advance.

      1. re: kathryn

        Thanks for the info. I have some time, 3 weeks out. I just want to make sure to pick a good place to take him to. But it doesn't look like I can get a res at Girl and the Goat, crazy. I heard Sable is good.

        1. re: Costoich

          What kind of place are you looking for? For example, if you want a higher-end fine dining restaurant (that will be expensive, although not as much money as Alinea, and dressy, with jackets required for gentlemen), Everest and TRU are both still around and excellent. You're probably looking at around $200 or so per person including tax/tip/alcohol, more if you order high quality/quantity on the alcohol. Two other excellent chef-driven places that are also very classy upscale places but not as formal (jackets not required) and not as expensive ($125-150/pp inclusive) are Naha and North Pond. The latter is notable for its exquisite setting facing its namesake pond with the city skyline looming over the opposite shore. These are all very nice places, but not inexpensive.

          Sable is indeed excellent. It's somewhat loud, but not crazy shouting loud like Publican or Girl & the Goat. But it's really in an entirely different category - pretty casual, small plates, inexpensive food (you can eat for half as much money as Naha or North Pond), etc. Another casual, fairly inexpensive place I like a lot is GT Fish, which specializes in seafood, as you've probably guessed from the name. We have some excellent mid-priced Italian places too, the best of which may be Piccolo Sogno, although Cafe Spiaggia and Vivere are also excellent. And some French bistros, too, like La Sardine, and tapas at Mercat a la Planxa (although that can be fairly loud), and creative Mexican places like Mexique.

          All of the above places accept reservations over the phone and on except La Sardine, which accepts them over the phone and on their own website but not on Opentable. You may want to check Opentable to get an idea of availability for the date and time you need.

          You also don't mention where you'll be staying/meeting, whether you want a place within walking distance of your hotel, etc. No matter where you're staying downtown, there are probably some good places a short walk away, but we would need to know where you're leaving from, since "downtown Chicago" and the many hotels are spread out over an area over two miles long.

          If you can think about how fancy or how casual you want to go, how much you want to spend, how much you care about how noisy a place is, whether you'd like to eat near your hotel, etc., give us more information and we can provide suggestions that are more specifically targeted to your needs.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Thank you so much! I was thinking 75-100 per person. In the past I have taken him to MK and The Purple Pig. Both were great! I maybe am looking for an atmosphere closer to The Purple Pig. We're staying at the Omni.

            1. re: Costoich

              Naha and North Pond both seem like good "Dad" options, without knowing your dad, as are other recommendations by nsxtasy. Near GATG and Publican but not as loud and crowded, especially early, would be Nellcote. GEB and Au Cheval are new, casual and well-reviewed, but I haven't been. An easy cab or Red Line train away would be Balena, in Lincoln Park. If he hasn't been, I would consider a Chicago steakhouse: perhaps David Burke's Primehouse or Chicago Cut for a modern twist, or, at risk of Chicagoans trashing my suggestion, Gibson's or Gene and Georgetti's for an old school experience.

              1. re: Costoich

                >> I was thinking 75-100 per person.

                My estimates above assume "moderate alcohol", i.e. 1-2 cocktails or one third to one half bottle of moderately-priced wine per person. With that amount of alcohol, dinner at North Pond or Naha will probably come in slightly above your stated price range; with less or no alcohol, they would be within that range.

                The other places I mentioned - Sable, GT Fish, Piccolo Sogno, Cafe Spiaggia, Vivere, La Sardine, Mercat a la Planxa, and Mexique - should all meet your price range with moderate alcohol (La Sardine and Mexique may even be lower than $75). And they all have sort of a "festive casual bistro" atmosphere like the Purple Pig. (North Pond and especially Naha are a bit more upscale in atmosphere.)