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Mar 8, 2013 10:28 AM

Chicago Itinerary

I will be in Chicago for 3 nights to attend a conference. Unfortunately, lunch will be provided so I only need to round out my dinner itinerary. Thoughts on the below itinerary. TIA.

Sunday Dinner: Frontera Grill
Monday Dinner: Sable / Publican / Avec
Tuesday Dinner: Cafe Spiaggia / David Burke's Primehouse

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  1. I don't think you can really wrong here. I like all of the above. Tuesday just depends on what kind of food mood you are in. I'm a pretty big Sable fan but have not been to Avec.

    1 Reply
    1. re: HoosierFoodie

      I would prefer Burke's for Tuesday but otherwise you have made very good choices.

    2. Frontera (and Bayless' other restaurants) are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

      1. >> Sunday Dinner: Frontera Grill

        As noted above, Frontera Grill is closed on Sundays. You could switch this with your Tuesday night dinner. Or, you could go to one of our other excellent restaurants specializing in contemporary Mexican cuisine, all of which are open Sundays: Mexique, Mundial Cocina Mestiza, Mixteco Grill, or Salpicon.

        >> Monday Dinner: Sable / Publican / Avec

        Among these three, I prefer the food at Sable by far, although each has its fans. (Outstanding items at Sable include the sweet corn creme brulee, the duck sausage with pistachio, and whatever flavor panna cotta they have that day.) There are other differences besides the food. Virtually all of the items at Sable are available in half portions, and the food is extremely reasonable in price. Sable has the best craft cocktails, Publican the best beer list. Publican and Avec are both REALLY LOUD. Avec doesn't accept reservations, and waits to be seated can be lengthy. Avec has only communal seating; the Publican has a mix of long communal tables and private tables (you can specify a preference when making a reservation).

        Check out their website menus to help you decide what sounds best to you.

        >> Tuesday Dinner: Cafe Spiaggia / David Burke's Primehouse

        Well, they're both good, but the one question I must ask is whether you're sure you want Italian or a steakhouse, since those are both types of good restaurants you can find in any big city. Between the two, though, both are excellent and it's a matter of which type of food you want. Cafe Spiaggia is solid for Italian food, although I've enjoyed some of our newer places (like Piccolo Sogno Due and tesori) even more lately. And Burke's still is one of our very best for steaks.

        3 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          If you have other suggestions in lieu of Spiaggia / Primehouse, I am open to suggestions. I've been to the girl and the goat and have eaten the Chicago staples on my previous trips.

          1. re: dawsoneats

            Here are a couple of paragraphs excerpted from a post I wrote earlier today in another topic ( ), outlining several alternatives for that meal (however note that Acadia is closed Mondays and Tuesdays):

            There are several restaurants which offer terrific food along with a fine-dining experience, but without that high a price tag (and where the dress code isn't quite as formal - e.g. jackets not required for men). Three of these in the $110-140/pp range are Acadia, North Pond, and Naha (although you can spend more than that if you go for the tasting menu and/or high-end wine). Acadia is relatively new (one year old); I loved it when I ordered a la carte, not as much when I had the tasting menu. North Pond is always wonderful, not only for the food, but also for the exquisite setting in the middle of the park, facing the pond with the city skyline looming over the far shore. Naha is outstanding also. Both North Pond and Naha are headed by chefs who won the James Beard Award for Best Chef - Great Lakes.
            Also in the "not so expensive" price category, some of our very best restaurants, with some of our most creative chefs, offer a small plates format on the menu. These include Sable (contemporary American small plates, craft cocktails), GT Fish & Oyster (seafood small plates, craft cocktails), and Mercat a la Planxa (tapas), all of which accept reservations, including on Opentable. The Purple Pig, with Mediterranean-ish small plates, is also one of our best; however, it doesn't accept reservations, and waits to be seated are horrendous (120+ minutes between 5 and 10 pm); I recommend trying it mid-afternoon or very late at night.

            1. re: dawsoneats

              It would also help to post where you are from, where you are staying, how far you're willing to travel, and your budget.