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Restaurant Suggestions near Hyatt Magnificent Mile (formerly the Windham)

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Hello fellow Chowhounds! We just booked a last minute trip to Chicago and I am now scrambling to grasp all there is to do and see and eat in this wonderful city! We are staying in the Hyatt Magnificent Mile (formerly the Windham) and have a 3 year old. I am looking for dinner suggestions within walking distance of our hotel (say less than 1/2 mile) that would be suitable to bring a well-behaved 3YO. Preferably moderately priced (less than $20 per entree) with a casual atmosphere that serves tasty food without breaking the budget. We are open to most food styles (Italian, Pizza, Sushi, Seafood, American, etc. etc.). I would LOVE to find a place that serves homemade pasta. Does Chicago have good seafood? We are landlocked her in Dallas and anywhere we can get some fresh fish is a plus!

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Looking for personal favorites in the area.

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    1. re: TeacherFoodie

      I would also refer you to this topic, from someone who is staying at the same hotel and is asking what is nearby, including seafood restaurants: www.chow.com/topics/907922

    2. >> I am looking for dinner suggestions within walking distance of our hotel (say less than 1/2 mile) that would be suitable to bring a well-behaved 3YO. Preferably moderately priced (less than $20 per entree) with a casual atmosphere that serves tasty food without breaking the budget.

      There are plenty that fit that description. And since your three-year-old is well behaved, you should be able to take him/her anywhere! The only thing I would suggest is, in general, eating on the early side, before restaurants get really packed. And making reservations in advance is always a good idea.

      All of the following places are within a ten-minute walk of your hotel, and some are even within a couple of blocks.

      Restaurants serving a "small plates" format may be a good bet for your budget. Just keep in mind that you may not be getting as large a portion. But I've managed to stuff myself on $20-30 of food at most of these places. The best, within walking distance of your hotel, are Sable (contemporary American), Quartino (Italian), and GT Fish & Oyster (seafood). All accept reservations.

      The Purple Pig is also excellent, for Mediterranean-influenced food (and right near your hotel); however, their no-reservations policy means that waits at mealtimes are horrendous. Also, the seating there is not optimal for a family; it consists of about seven small tables (two-tops and four-tops), three large high-top communal tables that seat ~12, and a long bar that seats about 15. If you go mid-afternoon (say, between 2 and 4), you might be able to snag a small four-top, which would probably be best for you.

      For inexpensive Italian near your hotel, go to Coco Pazzo Café on St. Clair. And yes, they do make their own pastas!

      For seafood, in addition to GT Fish and their small plates, Shaw's Crab House is close by, for a more conventional seafood menu. It's not inexpensive though (but fresh seafood rarely is). Also see my comments in that other topic ( www.chow.com/topics/907922 ) about their Sunday brunch.

      You haven't mentioned Mexican food, but our contemporary Mexican food is unlike the Mexican food found in Texas or most other cities this side of the border. (Check out the menu on their website for a better understanding of what this cuisine is like and how it differs from what you're accustomed to.) Frontera Grill is a good bet and nearby; if you can't get reservations, arrive 10-20 minutes before they open the doors, rather than risking a long wait later on.

      For our local specialty of deep-dish pizza, the original locations of Uno and Due are nearby and still excellent (and unlike their chain clones, are still using the original deep-dish recipe). It's a bit further to Lou Malnati's on Wells and Pizano's on State; an advantage of these over Uno or Due is that you can phone ahead with your pizza order so you don't have to wait 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake.

      You can get excellent representations of two more of our local specialties, Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, at Portillo's on Ontario.

      If your child is feeling cranky on any given day, I've found that Grand Lux Café is a good place to go. The food is good, and it's the kind of place where nobody will notice a cranky child. :)

      To save money and stay within your budget, you may want to go to nicer restaurants at lunch, when they are less expensive, and then for dinner go to places in the "cheap eats" category like deep-dish and Portillo's.

      Enjoy your visit!

      Website links:
      www.sablechicago.com
      www.quartinochicago.com
      www.gtoyster.com
      www.thepurplepigchicago.com
      www.cocopazzocafe.com
      www.shawscrabhouse.com
      www.rickbayless.com/restaurants (Frontera Grill)
      www.unos.com
      www.loumalnatis.com
      www.pizanoschicago.com
      www.portillos.com
      www.grandluxcafe.com

      3 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Wow! Thanks, fellow Chowhounds for helping me dig through the threads and for the very helpful response from nsxtasy. I'm off to research these great options!

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Very nice post and thanks for the info, I too am coming to Chicago and would love to eat at one of Rick Bayless's restaurants but don't really have the time or patience to wait in line. Any chance I could get a solo at one of the bars? I'm thinking Frontera...
          Thanks.

          1. re: kmcdonne

            Just make a reservation at Frontera by calling, or at Topolbampo on opentable.com.
            From what I could understand in my research you will have luck if you get there when they open for lunch or dinner (as opposed to later) if you don't have a reservation.