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Oct 16, 2012 08:27 AM

Husband just surprised me with Streisand tkts, where can I get reservations for foodies at this late date?

We will be arriving in time for a late dinner on Wednesday, 10/24, staying at the Raffaello and would like someplace more casual that night. Thursday will be our "blow out" dinner, price or cuisine doesn't really matter. For Friday, we'd like either a late lunch or early dinner before heading to United Center for the concert.

We don't want huge portions, but husband is not too keen on spoon-size portions either where you walk away from a $300 hungry. We are very food adventurous and an interesting menu is a must. We'd be okay with a true and tried Chicago established restaurant - or - someplace new and hip. I've ruled out Everest (I was there prior to my husband).

I've checked OpenTable and struck out so far with Girl & The Goat and The Pelican. I will call the concierge to see what help I can get there, but not hopeful for these two place.

HELP! Suggestions? And TIA for any and all suggestions!

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  1. Oops, that is The Publican, not Pelican.

    1. First of all, the number of "hot" restaurants that are completely booked on weeknights two weeks in advance is just a handful, and we have hundreds of foodie-worthy restaurants! It just so happens that the two you have checked are among those "hot" few places. So don't worry, there are plenty of great places still available!

      There are so many great restaurants, and it really depends on what kind of place you're looking for. If you're interested in high-end fine dining, Spiaggia is right near your hotel and as good as ever; it's also formal (jackets required) and expensive. Cafe Spiaggia, its sister restaurant next door, is excellent for moderately-priced Italian cuisine in a casual atmosphere.

      I also recommend TRU for high-end, formal fine dining; it's about half a mile from your hotel. Either Spiaggia or TRU would be a good choice for that "blowout" dinner.

      North Pond is another excellent choice. It's a couple miles north, in the middle of the park facing its namesake pond and the city skyline, and the contemporary American cuisine from James Beard Award winning Chef Bruce Sherman is superb. It's not as expensive or dressy as Spiaggia or TRU. Naha is excellent also, and it's about half a mile from your hotel; it too is somewhat less expensive and dressy vs the high-end places.

      Some of our chef-driven restaurants are excellent but quite moderate in price. These include Sable, which features contemporary American small plates and craft cocktails; GT Oyster & Fish, for seafood small plates and craft cocktails; and Piccolo Sogno Due, for Italian cuisine with a seafood focus. These three are about half a mile from your hotel. A half mile further south is Mercat a la Planxa, for tapas.

      All of these restaurants are on where you can check availability for each of the dates and times you need. All except Spiaggia, TRU, and North Pond are also open for lunch. I'm sure you can find some, maybe even all, are still available for the times you need. For example, all of the places I've mentioned show wide-open availability on Opentable for Thursday 10/25 dinner for two, with the exception of GT Fish, which shows availability only for limited times (5:00 or earlier, or 9:00 or later).

      3 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy


        Thank you for the quick reply. For the Friday blow out dinner, I have reservations now for both L2O and TRU, but I think I will cancel L2O b/c TRU has always been on my culinary bucket list. Appreciate your input in making that decision. ;-)

        For arrival evening, I have a reservation for Sable. Which do you prefer - Sable or North Pond?

        For our late lunch/early dinner on Friday, you got me thinking either Piccolo Sogno Due or Mercat....

        1. re: cookingmatterschef

          >> I have reservations now for both L2O and TRU, but I think I will cancel L2O b/c TRU has always been on my culinary bucket list.

          I ate at TRU a few months ago, and it was thoroughly outstanding. (I haven't been to L2O under their current chef.)

          >> For arrival evening, I have a reservation for Sable. Which do you prefer - Sable or North Pond?

          Wow, that's a tough choice, because they are so different from each other. North Pond is a very special experience unique to Chicago, thanks to its exquisite setting in the park. Although you don't get as much of that effect after dark as you do if you arrive in daylight. It's more expensive and to me it's more of a "special occasion" type place. Whereas Sable is more accessible - you don't have to dress up (some folks do, some are quite casual), and it's very moderate in price. I also love the flexibility of the menu at Sable; because everything is available in half portions, you can try so many things. And if you find that you want to eat lighter, the small plates format lends itself to that, since you can order as many or as few items as you like, without being tied into the usual app-main-dessert formula. I go to Sable more often than North Pond. If you go to Sable, don't miss the sweet corn creme brulee! Either one is a great choice, though.

          >> For our late lunch/early dinner on Friday, you got me thinking either Piccolo Sogno Due or Mercat....

          If this is any help, I've found the food to be more unusual at Mercat, but more delicious at PSD. And it may be a silly little thing, but I LOVE the bread service at PSD.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            I think all the places mentioned are great. That said I'd say Mercat 1) I takes you over the river to a different area than Tru and Sable, and 2) It is than a straight shot west to the United Center.

            FYI, it can be very difficult to get a cab out of the United Center (I live very near the UC, and see the crowds just about everyday!)

            Have fun!

      2. Since you mention that your arrival dinner will be late, Sable would work better than North Pond. Purple Pig is also a good late night dinner option.

        3 Replies
        1. re: camusman


          I'm thinking of a late lunch at Purple Pig on Friday, say 2:30 - 3PM with the hopes of a "lesser" wait (and we should have plenty of time to get to United Center for the show). Any feel for that?

          1. re: cookingmatterschef

            That works fine. You shouldn't have to wait very long at that hour, maybe not at all. Also, they have the same menu all day long, so it's not like you're "stuck" with a limited lunch menu.

            1. re: cookingmatterschef

              You are putting together a superb itinerary. Enjoy!

          2. For Friday night, I would recommend an early dinner in the West Loop area, one of our hottest and most diverse restaurant zones and well on your way to the UC. Current openings on Open Table around 5-5:30 include: Belly Q, Maude's Liquor Bar, Nellcote, The Publican, and Sepia.