a day in Chicago - brunch and dinner
We're spending a day in Chicago next week and we're trying to decide where to eat for brunch and dinner. We have been to Chicago many times before and have tried staples like Girl and the Goat, Frontera, XOCO, Hot Doug's, etc. We will be in a group of 5 people so we would prefer something more reasonably priced and accessible too - no Alinea, Next, Avec, etc.
We are looking at the following for brunch and dinner. Thoughts? We are coming from LA and NY, for perspective.
-Little Goat (brunch)
-Longman and Eagle (brunch or dinner)
-Tango Sur (dinner)
-Purple Pig (dinner)
>> We are looking at the following for brunch and dinner. Thoughts? We are coming from LA and NY, for perspective.
>> -Publican (brunch)
>> -Little Goat (brunch)
>> -Longman and Eagle (brunch or dinner)
>> -Tango Sur (dinner)
>> -Purple Pig (dinner)
In looking at these choices, my first question is what your tolerance is for long waits to be seated at places that don't accept reservations, like Longman & Eagle and Purple Pig, where waits at dinner are often upwards of 60-90 minutes (L&E) and 120+ minutes (PP). With one day here, I'm guessing you don't want to spend several hours of that day waiting to be seated. You can avoid long waits by making a reservation in advance at a place that accepts them (or by eating at off hours, such as mid-afternoon).
For brunch, I have not been to the first three restaurants for brunch. (I have eaten dinner at Publican and Longman & Eagle and was disappointed, although each has its fans.) I've posted dozens of detailed reports on brunches around the city in the brunch topic at www.chow.com/topics/364403 This topic from yesterday asked about brunches:
Impromptu baby shower brunch this Sunday - www.chow.com/topics/892194
I agree with the brunch recommendations there - North Pond, Perennial Virant, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, Deleece on Southport, and Big Jones - and I would also add Nightwood. All of these accept reservations, and all do a terrific a la carte brunch on Sundays.
For dinner, I would not recommend Longman & Eagle; it was the worst dinner I've had in the past five years. I also would not recommend Purple Pig, not because of the food (it's excellent) but due to the waits involved (two hours or more, and it's particularly a problem for a party of 5, due to their seating configuration), unless you can go at an off hour, as noted above. There are lots of terrific places that accept reservations for dinner. I'd start with several of the places I just mentioned for brunch - North Pond, Perennial Virant, Deleece on Southport, Big Jones, and Nightwood (although North Pond gets to be somewhat expensive for dinner, but the setting in the park is exquisite). I'd also consider the small plates places that accept reservations: Sable (contemporary American, craft cocktails); GT Fish & Oyster (seafood, craft cocktails); Mercat a la Planxa (tapas); and Quartino (Italian). I'd encourage you to check out the menus on their websites and see if one of them particularly appeals to you:
What day of the week will each meal be? This has a big effect on which places are open, especially for brunch.
>> we would prefer something more reasonably priced and accessible too - no Alinea, Next, Avec, etc.
Your inclusion of Avec in this statement about pricing confuses me. Perhaps you meant a different restaurant?
>> It would be on a Sunday.
Good! All the places I mentioned in my previous post do both brunch and dinner on Sundays.
>> I included Avec because the place seems small so I assume it would be too long of a wait for 5 people.
Okay, gotcha - which goes directly to my comments below, about places that accept reservations vs those that don't. Making reservations in advance - which means, of course, going to a place that accepts them - is the easiest way to avoid a lengthy wait to be seated.