HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >


Help! Trapped in the Conrad!

One night in Chicago -- tonight -- and desperate for the best restaurant within walking distance of the Conrad ...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The Conrad is in the heart of River North, just off the Magnficent Mile -- i.e., the neighborhood that has probably the highest density of good restaurants in Chicago. You need to define better what you mean by the "best" restaurant and any other relevant criteria (e.g., do you want a reservation, care that you might have to wait 2 hours for a table, etc.) Or search "River North" or "Magnificent Mile" and you will find plenty of options.

    1. Mercat a la Planxa would be my first choice. It's Jose Garce's tapas restaurant in the Blackstone hotel

      3 Replies
      1. re: chicgail

        I'm pretty sure he means the Conrad and not the Conrad Hilton.

        1. re: chicgail

          Sorry for the mis-steer. I remembered the Conrad Hilton as the one in the South Loop. Carry on.

          1. re: chicgail

            Hilton's boutique-y hotel line is called simply "Conrad," much like Starwood/Westin has the "W" line.

        2. From Chicgal's reply I just realized that there is an ambiguity in your request. Are you staying at the Conrad Chicago, on Rush St. north of the River, or the Conrad Hilton & Towers on Michigan Ave. across from Grant Park in the South Loop? I'd assumed the former and she the latter.

          1 Reply
          1. re: masha

            The Hilton hotel at 720 South Michigan Avenue in the South Loop is now called the Hilton Chicago, according to the Hilton website. I too would assume the query is about the Conrad Chicago at 521 North Rush Street in River North.

          2. If you're at the Rush St. Conrad, consider Volare or Quartino.

            1. I would head to avec. Lots of Mediterranean-ish small plates (with some larger plates, too) with a solid wine list. It's small and doesn't accept reservations, but if you're a solo diner, I don't think it would be too hard to grab a seat at the bar. Don't hesitate to ask about half-portions on any menu items, too.

              1. Assuming you mean the Conrad Chicago at 521 North Rush Street, the number of terrific restaurants within a few blocks is astounding, as Masha indicated. The best of these? Wow, so many to choose from - and there are different definitions of "best", of course. But if you're keeping it within, say, a four block walk (that's about 3-5 minutes walking), I'd nominate these:

                TRU (fine dining - jackets required) - www.trurestaurant.com
                Naha (fine dining) - www.naha-chicago.com
                David Burke's Primehouse (steakhouse) - www.davidburkesprimehouse.com
                Sable (contemporary American small plates, craft cocktails) - www.sablechicago.com
                Piccolo Sogno Due (Italian) - www.piccolosognodue.com

                Check out their websites to see which appeals to you the most. The first three are fairly expensive; the last two are more moderately priced. I've had outstanding dinners at all of them. All are open on Mondays (which eliminated Topolobampo), and you can get a last-minute reservation for all of them, either on Opentable.com or over the phone (which eliminated Purple Pig and its endless waits to be seated). All of these are showing plenty of availability on Opentable for desirable times this evening (and yes, I highly recommend making reservations before walking over there).

                And forget about Avec and Mercat a la Planxa, which aren't what you've asked for - they're nowhere near the Conrad, and there's no need to walk/cab a mile to one of those two when there are so many places within a few blocks. (If you instead mean the Hilton Chicago, at 720 South Michigan and formerly known as the Conrad Hilton, then Mercat a la Planxa is a great recommendation!)

                2 Replies
                1. re: nsxtasy

                  Like any inquiry, it's up to the OP to decide whether it's worth walking (or taking a cab) ~1 mile for a great meal with a relatively short lead time. The options are there and the OP can make the decision for himself/herself. Our posts here can provide great suggestions so they can make an informed decision. More information *should* be a good thing.

                  1. re: danimalarkey

                    To say "forget about" in regard to someone else's suggestion doesn't add a very nice tone to the conversation.

                2. Within walking distance from the Conrad, would suggest Frontera Grill (no reserv/ Mexican), Purple Pig (no reserv/ small plates), GT Fish and Oyster (small plates seafood), Sunda (sushi and Asian). Since you're alone, you may be able to still grab a spot at the bar at one of these spots. Also second Naha, for upscale American.