Full-time Employment means full-time Chicago Food Hound: Need help!
I finally got a full time job and I am making the move to my favorite city, Chicago! I have done a fair amount of visiting and restaurant-trying because I went to school in Madison, WI. I don’t know where I am living yet, but most likely Wrigleyville, Lakeview, or Bucktown.
A little background on myself; I am 23 years old, in the Finance industry and have an extreme passion for food. At the moment I am Istanbul, Turkey taking in all that the city has to offer food wise.
These are all of the restaurants I have ever been to in Chicago and my brief (very brief thoughts):
• Avec – In love
• Mexique - Loved
• Portillos – Didn’t like
• Hub 51 - Ok
• Prime Bar - Decent
• One North Kitchen and Bar - Terrible
• Sable – Liked it
• Longman and Eagle – Awesome!
• Lula Café – Liked it
• The Little Goat – eh, so-so
• Green Zebra - Love
• Gino’s- Didn’t like
• Hubbard Inn- Like it
Could you recommend some spots for me? Looking for restaurants and bars if possible.
Also, are there any magazines or local publications I should be reading?
Probecho--First, congratulations on both the job and the city. Second, from Southport hike over to Clark and take the Clark 22 bus up to Foster (5200 North). Get off. Walk one door west on Foster to the Middle Eastern Grocery and Bakery. They aren't Greek but a lot of the merchandise is the same---the olive oils, great olives, pastas, grains, cheeses, pastries, coffees. They bake their pita and spinach pies in the back room and make their felafel fresh every morning. While you're up Clark check out a) SVEA, for breakfast b) Swedish Bakery c) the Swedish deli on the west side of Clark d) PARS grocery (Persian) for browsing d) Edgewater Produce e) Reza's for lunch (Persian). This strip used to be Swedish and now is leaning Middle Eastern so the eating is great either way. Closer to you than Greektown.
Since you really enjoyed Avec and Longman & Eagle a couple places with some similarities to these venues would be The Publican, The Bristol and Purple Pig. Purple Pig can have really long wait times, so best to go either early, late or in between lunch and dinner.
You also mentioned really enjoying Mexique; other Mexican venues I really enjoy include Topolobampo, Los Nopales and Mixteco Grill (Topolobampo is considerably more expesnive; the other two are BYOB - but out of the three Topolobampo is my favorite).
If you end up in Lakeview/Wrigleyville venues worth checking out nearby would be Senza, Bar Pastoral, Frog & Snail, Milt's BBQ, Deleece, Wood, Peasantry and Southport Grocery (for brunch). I used to love Socca, but the chef/owner left recently and I am not sure about the current quality.
Some of my other favorite venues in the city (not including very expensive places) would include Baume & Brix, iNG, Elizabeth, Boka, Balena, La Sirena Clandestina, Kabocha, GT Fish, Yusho, Embeya, Sola and Jam (for brunch). North Pond also has a great deal for Sunday brunch.
There are also some really good underground dinners going on right now that are relatively good values for lengthy tasting menus: Feast & Imbibe, Sous Rising and Thurk.
definitely check out The Reader both on-line and in print when you get to Chicago. http://www.chicagoreader.com/
Places I like that:
Hopleaf - Andersonville
Bad Apple - North Center/Lincoln Square
Los Nopales - Lincoln Square
Gene's Rooftop - Lincoln Square (seasonal
)Las Tabalas - Lakeview-ish
Big Star - Bucktown/Wicker Park
The Map Room - Bucktown/Wicker Park
Handlebar - Bucktown/Wicker Park
If you're looking for a market at which to buy food, Olivia's Market on Wabansia, just west of Damen is excellent. It is small but pretty well stocked, specializes in good produce and high end products, and is rather pricey. Boar's Head deli meats, for example.
On Sundays there is a Farmer's Market in Wicker Park on Damen just south of North Avenue.
Sultan's Market on North Avenue sells nice middle eastern foods.
Danny's Market our local source for Mexican on Western Avenue sadly just closed.
There is a Jewel Foods on Paulina. It's just a Jewel.
Hope that helps.
>> Could you recommend some spots for me? Looking for restaurants and bars if possible.
You've covered a nice assortment already. The issue with Chicago is that the number of restaurants worth recommending is HUGE, and you'll never get to try all of them. I'd suggest you get settled in first, and then start accumulating a list of places to try for various purposes (a "regular rotation" of places close to home, places reserved for special occasions, lunch places close to work, etc).
>> Also, are there any magazines or local publications I should be reading?
A couple of places where you can keep up on the latest restaurant news are Eater ( http://chicago.eater.com ) and Chicago magazine and particularly the Dish column on their website at www.chicagomag.com
No, sorry; perhaps others here do. Although I'm not familiar with anything specifically, I know there are lots of specialty shops on and around the Mag Mile (North Michigan Avenue), including some on the side streets and others in the "vertical malls" like Water Tower Place, 900 N Michigan, and the one in the Marriott.