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Jul 28, 2012 06:03 AM

anniversary dinner in Chicago

My wife and I are driving from Washington DC to Chicago for 5 days and are celebrating our anniversary there. We would like to find a Fish restaurant with entree's in the $15-$25 dollar range. We are not big wine drinkers either so wine isn't important. Would to find a place with good food,ambiance and a nice view wouldn't hurt either.

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  1. If you want ambiance, you may have to bump up your cost limit.
    Some ideas for starters:
    Shaw's Crab House
    Joe's Seafood and Steak
    Catch 35

    1. A few caveats first: Chicago is hundreds of miles inland, so we have fewer fish/seafood-centric restautants than what you might find in DC. Also virtually our entire lakefront is public park, so we have far fewer restaurants with a nice view, compared to many waterfront cities that have commercial development along their shore. And, the lower end of your pricepoint may be a bit challenging for a restaurant with "ambiance," depending upon what you mean by that -- e.g., do you mean "romantic" (hard to find for $15-$25) or "vibrant" (much easier at that price point.

      With those caveats, your best bet may be GT Fish & Oyster, which has a wide range of seafood & fish options in your price range: The room is all hard surfaces and the tables are relatively close together, so I would not describe as "romantic" but it is stylish.

      Both Catch 35 and Shaw's Crabhouse are seafood restaurants that include entrees within the higher end of your price range, although they also have dishes well beyond it. Again, neither have much in the way of a "view" but their interior space is nice -- a bit quieter than GT.,

      If you willing to increase your price point or shift to restaurants that are less seafood-centric, your options will increase (or give up ambiance). And, there may be options in the various neighborhoods that meet your criteria. I've focused solely on the downtown area.

      7 Replies
      1. re: masha

        Another restaurant that intersects your price point and includes a fair number of seafood offerings is AraOn: It's one of my favorite restaurants for lunch in the Loop, but I've never eaten there for dinner. The interior is very sleek; quieter than GT. I suspect it may be relatively "dead" for dinner, as it is in the heart of Chicago's financial district.

        1. re: masha

          Catch 35 looks very good, We both don't eat shellfish,but the menu variety looks good. Are there any rooftop restaurants in Chicago? I was also looking at Ristorante Quartino.

          1. re: DelifoodguruMD

            I've not been there but the Rooftop restaurant at the Witt Hotel is very popular -- more as a bar than restaurant. Not exactly rooftop but Terzo Piano is a nice restaurant on the top floor of the Art Institute, which includes a terrace with a lovely view of Millenium Park and the lake; it's only open until 3pm except for Thurs. evenings when it is open for dinner. The Plymouth Restaurant is on the top floor of a mid rise building in the Loop but their food is pretty mediocre (disclaimer I've not been for a couple of years); better to go there for drinks and snacks -- and even then I would only order the most basic of bar food.

            1. re: masha

              The Plymouth's food is an embarrassment and I would sooner direct a tourist to Taco Bell than the Plymouth.

              1. re: ferret

                I don't disagree. But it is an ok place for a drink.

            2. re: DelifoodguruMD

              >> I was also looking at Ristorante Quartino.

              Quartino is a very good casual restaurant specializing in Italian small plates. It does not specialize in seafood though, although like most restaurants they have some seafood items. If you're really interested in seafood, then GT Fish is probably a better choice.

              1. re: DelifoodguruMD

                As to rooftops restaurants, I just saw a squib in Crains regarding a new rooftop restaurant, called The John Parker, located at the Hotel Lincoln in Lincoln Park. Here is the link to their website.
                It is evidntly from the Boka Group, which operates some of Chicago's best restaurants, including Perennial Vierant. So, although I cannot personally vouch for its quality, it has a solid pedigree and may meet your desire for rooftop dining.

            3. I second the recommendations above for GT Fish and Shaw's. GT Fish is indeed a very hip, stylish place, and their menu leans towards small plates of seafood. Shaw's menu is more traditional, and the atmosphere is designed to resemble old-fashioned seafood restaurants on the East Coast. GT Fish is somewhat less expensive than Shaw's and given your stated price range, I think it may meet your needs better.

              I was severely disappointed the last time I went to Catch 35. 'nuff said.

              3 Replies
              1. re: nsxtasy

                Looking at all the mentioned restaurants menus online, GT Fish is a little better than Shaws for us but Catch 35 has more of a selection of what we are interested in,especially since we don't eat shellfish! Both GT's and Shaws get 4 solid stars on Yelp,as well as Fish Bar and Catch 35. I appreciate everyone's help.

                1. re: DelifoodguruMD

                  I work across from Fish Bar and do not recommend it as a tourist destination. I find it a bit too gimicky (I am sick of drinks in Mason jars) and overpriced. They do not take reservations. IMHO, GT executes the casual fish-place concept much better.

                  1. re: GourmetWednesday

                    I second the thumbs-down for Fish Bar. I thought it was very overpriced for very mediocre food and I left hungry.

              2. How about Riva's? A little expensive, but went recently and the halibut was to die for. Also, ask for a table with a view, you won't be disappointed, some nights have fireworks around 9 p.m. (is it Wednesdays and Saturdays, I think? Double-check if you're interested). They have valet, which is important, a lot cheaper than general parking at Navy Pier. Also, while not a seafood restaurant, Mon Ami Gabi in Lincoln Park, , is SUPER romantic (if it's a nice evening, you can sit on the patio), reasonably priced for a fancy restaurant, they have very nice fish specials (Dover sole on Fridays) and pretty much the best mussels ever, IMHO (though, sorry, I see you don't eat shellfish). I know it's where I'd like to be taken for an anniversary...I've spent two of them there, one of them was a vow renewal! Bon appetit and hope you enjoy the city!