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Aug 25, 2012 12:23 PM

Fine dining restaurants that are open for lunch

Hi there chowhounders!

1. I will visit Chicago in mid-September and I will have two lunches available in the city.
Can anyone recommend some fine dining places near downtown Chicago that are open for lunch?
Out of the Michelin one star category, only Blackbird and Sepia seem to be open for lunch. Any others? Any new restaurants that are hot and open for lunch as well?

2. I have two tickets of Alinea for 5:30PM, September 14 (Friday).
Since I will be eating alone, is there anyone to join me that day?
The cost is face value of the ticket, or $285 (wine pairing not included).

3. I am looking for a single diner who has two tickets of NEXT Restaurant but hasn't found a companion yet. I will be more than glad to buy one ticket from you and join you for dinner.
My available time is 5:30PM ~ 6:00PM, September 15 (Saturday).

Thanks much!!! :)

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  1. Sixteen might be another lunch option to look into; they were one Michelin star, but lost it last year (when their executive chef left); since that time they have added an even better chef, a top notch pastry chef and a top notch general manager and are very likely to earn back their star.

    If you are up for a short cab ride away from downtown North Pond does an awesome brunch on Sundays only (Lincoln Park neighborhood, literally inside the park with great views of the pond and skyline and a James Beard award winning chef). The brunch is a three course lunch prix fixe rather than a traditional brunch (i.e. no breakfast foods, the food is similar to what they serve at dinner).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gonzo70

      Thanks Gonzo70!

      I thought of Sixteen as well, but their dinner menu looks way more attractive than lunch, so I was a bit hesitant.

      I checked out North Pond after your advise and it is gorgeous. Except I won't be in Chicago on Sunday. (weep)

    2. Naha is just north of the loop and does a great lunch. It is primarily Mediterranean flavors with farm to table sensibilities that is creative and has generally excellent food. Topolobambo (or Frontera both of which are within a block of Naha in the 400 block of North Clark St.)) are great for a high end Mexican lunch and if you can go for a latish lunch, 1:30 to 2:30, you should be able to get a table with little problem. Topolo is more modern and high scale but both work for me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: KateBChi

        Naha sounds good to me. Thanks KateBChi!

      2. It's also worth noting that Chicago's top high-end fine-dining restaurants - Alinea, TRU, Everest, L2O, Les Nomades, Goosefoot - aren't open for lunch. Sixteen is working on moving up to that level of dining, and is in transition with a new executive chef and pastry chef; it remains to be seen whether and when their lunch may be representative of their high aspirations. I suspect the new team will revamp the lunch menu after they redo the dinner menu for fall.

        Otherwise, the places already mentioned are the best places for lunch, the closest we have to fine dining at mid-day - Naha, Topolobampo, and Blackbird (whose prix fixe lunch is a bargain). I would also throw NoMI Kitchen into the mix. Sadly, North Pond no longer serves lunch during the week in summertime, like they did in previous years.

        If you are interested in popular ("hot") restaurants with delicious food, nice places but without the fine-dining aspirations, then I would also recommend Sable (contemporary American small plates, artisanal cocktails), GT Fish (seafood small plates), Mercat a la Planxa (tapas), Cafe Iberico (tapas), Mexique (contemporary Mexican), Mundial Cocina Mestiza (contemporary Mexican), Piccolo Sogno and Piccolo Sogno Due (Italian), Cafe Spiaggia (Italian), Terzo Piano (Italian), and Purple Pig (Mediterranean small plates). And of course we have our delicious deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati's and Pizano's.