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Aug 15, 2012 02:57 AM

Chicago Solo

First time to visit Chicago early this Fall. Staying
at Park Hyatt. I would love some recommendations
close to my hotel for lunch/dinner spots with
delicious food. I know that the best food is probably
not downtown. Also would love some feedback
on the following eateries...
Maude's Liquor Bar
The Gage
The Portage
Girl and a Goat
Due Lire
I know these aren't near my hotel just would
like feedback if anyone's eaten there.
Would welcome any and all recommendations.

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  1. On your list, Nightwood and GATG are quite good.
    Gage would be good for lunch and is not far from you. Other good lunch choices near the hotel are Pastoral, Oasis Cafe, and Heaven on Seven.
    A bit farther away are Xoco and Purple Pig.

    1. Stop in at Longman & Eagle, you will not be disappointed (20 minute cab ride).

      5 Replies
      1. re: ferret

        Don't be so sure. I stopped at Longman & Eagle and I thought it was dreadful, the worst food I have eaten in Chicago in the past five years.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Agreed. People need to get over themselves about L&E. Unless you're in that neighborhood, absolutely no reason to go out of your way to eat there.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Just had a second visit in a month and that's simply misguided. I wouldn't b quick to forgive an off night, if that's what it was, but unless you're basing your experience on more than one meal then I'd suggest you resist generalizing. I went with two different groups in a 4 week span and teh food was simply spot-on teriffic. And I ran innto a friend who was there with a group and they all had a similar assessment. I'm looking forward to a return visit.

            1. re: ferret

              I totally agree with ferret. We've been there several times - the most recently about 10 days ago and it was a delight. Really perfectly executed food. Casual atmosphere. Reasonable prices. It's on our a-list. Delightful in every way.

              1. re: chicgail

                I was there the other weekend after seeing a movie at the Logan (which is great since the renovation -- really nice bar area, too) and had a lovely late lunch/early dinner. Asparagus with a one-hour egg was well balanced and thoughtfully plated was my first course -- I followed that with (from the menu online) Kentucky Fried Quail, Foie Gras Enriched Corn Bread, Country Gravy, Red Beans and Hamhock. For $17, I won't say it was quite as much food as I would have liked -- but it was quail and I should have known better. The quail was superb, though, and thankfully, the coating didn't just slough off while eating. The cornbread was great. The bartender who was taking my order was friendly and chatty (as much as he could be with how busy he was) and helped guide me through some of their whiskies I was unfamiliar with.

                As an aside, I was also introduced to a new, local gin -- Letherbee, made by one of the chefs at Lula's. Strong woods-y and anise flavors, it's also unfiltered. It's at better cocktail bars/restaurants now and should be on store shelves soon. The Reader profiled the company a few months back here:

        2. If it's not too chilly, a few drinks on the terrace at NoMI in your hotel is one of my favorite things.

          Couple comments, I would switch Au Cheval for Maude's which is the same restaurateur and on of my favorite new places. They're both on W Randolph a couple blocks from each other (and across the street from Girl and Goat) and a 10 minutes cab from your hotel. Also consider another of my newer favorites, Slurping Turtle about 5 minutes from your hotel for some great Japanese noodles and yakitory.

          1. May I ask how you came up with that list? Not that any particular place on it is good or bad, but it seems like a very random selection of restaurants, without anything distinguishing them. They vary in location (most are not near your hotel), in style, etc.

            And whoever told you that the best food in Chicago isn't downtown is just plain wrong. Granted, there are plenty of excellent places in outlying neighborhoods and the suburbs, and there is a bit more variety, particularly in terms of ethnic cuisine and price points, due to the high rents in the high-rent district ;) but much of the very best food in Chicago can be found in the various neighborhoods comprising "downtown Chicago".

            Here are some terrific restaurants near your hotel (all are within a 10-minute walk and most are within five minutes):

            Spiaggia (expensive Italian) and Cafe Spiaggia (moderate Italian) -
            David Burke's Primehouse (steakhouse) -
            Sable (contemporary American small plates, artisanal cocktails) -
            GT Fish & Oyster (seafood small plates) -
            Quartino (Italian small plates) -
            Pizano's (deep-dish pizza - 864 N State) -
            Lou Malnati's (deep-dish pizza - 1120 N. State) -
            NoMI Kitchen (contemporary American - in your hotel) -
            Purple Pig (Mediterranean - go at lunchtime to avoid long waits at dinner) -
            Topolobampo/Frontera Grill (contemporary Mexican) -

            There are some cities where the downtown doesn't have much nightlife and the best restaurants are away from downtown. Chicago isn't one of them.