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Best Restaurant in Chicago for Foodie Weekend?

I am going to Chicago Nov 3-5. I have reservations for Girl and the Goat for Sat night, Ailnea for Sunday night. But looking for a "must go to" restaurant for Sat/ Sun/ Monday afternoon lunch or brunch. Plane leave 6pm Monday so dinner is out. What do you recommend?

I was thinking of the following for lunch:

Purple Pig
Republican
Longman & Eagle
Slurping Turtle- (love Tagashi on Top chef Master) but if I can onlygo on lunch on Sunday is it worth it
Frontera

My husband wants to try the best traditional Chicago pizza too. Suggestions?

I know many restaurants closed on Monday for lunch.

I appreciate any advise, thanks

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  1. Well, you've already covered the answer to the question posed in the topic title, with your Sunday night reservation. :) As for the rest of your questions...

    I would definitely have deep-dish pizza for one of your lunches, perhaps on Monday. Lou Malnati's is always reliable, and so is Pizano's. And the River North locations of Uno and Due. I'd pick whichever location of those choices is closest to where you'll be staying (which you don't mention).

    For Sunday brunch, I recommend North Pond. Between the exquisite setting in the middle of the park facing its namesake pond and the city skyline, and the fine contemporary cuisine from James Beard Award-winning Chef Bruce Sherman, it's an easy pick - not just a great restaurant with great food, but a lovely location that makes for an unforgettable experience, one that is uniquely Chicago in flavor.

    Frontera Grill does not really serve lunch per se on the days you'll be here. It's closed Sundays and Mondays. On Saturdays, they serve brunch. And you can expect waits of 90+ minutes to be seated for their Saturday brunch, unless you arrive shortly before they open the doors. If you'd like to try our contemporary Mexican cuisine, if you can't arrive early, and if you don't like the idea of spending a significant chunk of your limited time here standing around waiting for a table, you might consider going to lunch/brunch at Mexique instead. You can make a reservation for Mexique on Opentable.com (Mexique is also open for brunch on Sundays if North Pond doesn't appeal to you.)

    Those three - Deep-dish, North Pond, and contemporary Mexican - would be my "must do, do not miss" options, to augment your two dinner reservations. You could also do Purple Pig for another lunch, but I would keep it as a backup option, if one of the top three recommendations doesn't work out for you.

    >> Slurping Turtle- (love Tagashi on Top chef Master) but if I can onlygo on lunch on Sunday is it worth it

    Slurping Turtle is not open for lunch on Sundays.

    4 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Thanks for all your insight. I am staying downtown near the museum. Ok, I had made reservations at the North Pond on Sunday but I wasn't sure if that was the best choice, but I did read about the James Beard award, so now you convinced me. Mexican isn't a must but I was just curious if all Rick Bayless' restaurant were worth going to, I know hard to get in, but I am from LA and have been to REDO out here, which is good but very expensive, trendy, nice atmosphere but.....woud I go back...maybe.

      Chicago has soo many good restaurants and not enough time for me to check them out.
      Ok...Sun is set, Monday Pizza...but what to do on Saturday after we get in around noon.

      Not a lot of places open on Saturday lunch....any suggestions. I would say Topolobampo but it seemed booked on Sat. Plus we have an earlyish reservation at GATG on Sat.

      What is up with booking reservations so far in advance in Chicago? Is that normal to be booked 6-8 weeks ahead?

      Thanks

      1. re: audreymck

        Topolobampo doesn't serve lunch on Saturdays.

        Maybe do Purple Pig when you get in, since it's small plates, and you can order lightly.

        1. re: audreymck

          >> I am staying downtown near the museum.

          Our downtown extends for several miles, and there are multiple museums throughout that area. :)

          >> Mexican isn't a must but I was just curious if all Rick Bayless' restaurant were worth going to, I know hard to get in, but I am from LA and have been to REDO out here, which is good but very expensive, trendy, nice atmosphere but.....woud I go back...maybe.

          I suggest you take a look at the menus on the restaurant websites to get a better feel for what they have to offer, and how much it differs from what you're accustomed to in L.A. (I'm a bit familiar with the Mexican food in L.A. - for example, I've been to Moles La Tia in Boyle Heights - and while it's good and varied, I think our contemporary Mexican restaurants are a bit more contemporary and creative from what I've seen there.) Also, Rick Bayless is not the only contemporary Mexican in town; you might want to check out website menus at Mundial Cocina Mestiza, Mexique, and Salpicon.

          >> Chicago has soo many good restaurants and not enough time for me to check them out.
          Ok...Sun is set, Monday Pizza...but what to do on Saturday after we get in around noon.
          >> Not a lot of places open on Saturday lunch....any suggestions.

          Brunch at Mexique or Mundial Cocina Mestiza, for the Mexican theme. Sable, for small plates of contemporary American and craft cocktails. Perennial Virant, in the same genre. Mercat a la Planxa, for tapas. Cafe Spiaggia, for Italian. The Purple Pig, for small plates of Mediterranean cuisine. Or, in the "cheap eats" category, Italian beef sandwiches and Chicago hot dogs at Portillo's.

          >> I would say Topolobampo but it seemed booked on Sat. Plus we have an earlyish reservation at GATG on Sat.

          Topolobampo isn't open for lunch on Saturdays. Frontera Grill does Saturday brunch, but typical waiting times to be seated are crazy. If you can get there before they open the doors (10:30, I think) you can walk right in, but it sounds like you don't get in early enough to do that.

          >> What is up with booking reservations so far in advance in Chicago? Is that normal to be booked 6-8 weeks ahead?

          It depends on the restaurant, and on how picky you are about what day of the week and what time you want. You can count on your fingers our restaurants that fill their reservations book entirely 6-8 weeks ahead; they include Topolobampo and Frontera Grill, as well as Alinea and Girl and the Goat. Just a few others, not many. But if you want that prized 7:30 seating on a Saturday night, you need to reserve it at least several weeks in advance at our most popular places.

      2. I loved the brunch menu at The Publican on Sundays. As for the Slurping Turtle, may I suggest that you visit Takashi's namesake restaurant in Wicker Park instead on Sunday? Takashi serves the noodle menu on Sundays for brunch. The Slurping Turtle is the result of the successful operation of his Sunday ramen brunch in his original restaurant.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sunbrace

          Takashi has actually quit serving noodles for Sunday brunch at the namesake (and Michelin-starred) restaurant.. We had reservations for the Sunday menu and they called us to tell us it would no longer be available.

          1. re: sunbrace

            Just a note: Publican serves Saturday and Sunday, but the menus are different. They are on OpenTable, so you can make a reservation.

          2. Vote Publican, not Republican ;->
            One other brunch possibility: Perennial Virant

            1. What a great itinerary. Girl and the Goat. Alinea. Now do Publican (not Republican - LOL election season or not, this is the bluest city in one of the bluest states in the country) for Sunday brunch and it's perfect.

              4 Replies
              1. re: chicgail

                yes, Publican, oops, not Freudian slip, yes Blue all the way.

                What is your favorite deep-dish pizza near downtown but ok to travel little?

                1. re: audreymck

                  >> What is your favorite deep-dish pizza near downtown but ok to travel little?

                  Lou Malnati's, although Pizano's and Uno and Due are both close runners-up.

                  Malnati's has downtown locations in the Gold Coast at State and Rush; in River North on Wells; and in the South Loop at 8th and State. Pizano's is in the Gold Coast on State north of Chicago, and in the Loop on Madison. Uno and Due are in River North.

                  1. re: audreymck

                    You can't go wrong with Uno, Due, Malnoti or Pizano.

                    Kidding a little about the blue state stuff, but hey, it is election season and if we don't laugh about it all a little it becomes overwhelming..

                    1. re: audreymck

                      Lou Malnati's has a very sweet crust. Some like it, but I know many that don't, myself included. As far as the Chicago institutions, I'd take Maggiano's over Malnati's any day. Others may think I'm crazy for saying this, but a slice of the spinach deep dish from Chicago's Pizza (open till 4AM!) hits the spot for me every time.

                      Uno and Due are fine, but touristy.

                  2. If you arrive in time, a stroll through Green City Market in Lincoln Park where many of our chefs shop (open until 1) followed by lunch across the street at Perennial Virant is a great Saturday option ... If the weather is nice follow with a cocktail on the roof or La Colombe coffee from Elaynes to sip while you stroll down Wells Street to Spice House, La Fournette and Old Town Oil.

                    And remember Bayless' Tortas Frontera in terminals 1and 3 at Ohare serve great food and will make you a tasty Margarita to go!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Siun

                      Unfortunately I don't think will make it from the airport in time our plane arrives 12ish. But yes, we have always try stop at Frontera in between flights so not so sad if I miss out on his restaurants in the city. Your city has too many good choices and unfortunately we have so little time. Thanks for the tips,