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Aug 16, 2013 01:32 PM

Please critique my week in Chicago

We are arriving on a Sunday and leaving on Friday. We are going for a flavor of Chicago with a combo of fine gastropubs featuring local organic food.

Sunday: The Bristol
Monday: Piquads Pizza for some deep dish
Tuesday: The Gage
Wednesday: Twin Anchors Ribs
Thursday: The Russia tea room

One of these may change if we can manage to get in to the Girl and the Goat, but it's not looking likely since I must have reservation. Too much of a hassle to show up and hope for the best. Thanks much!

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  1. Sort of an odd assortment of places. Bristol's great. Pequod's is fine (not my favorite but people love it). The Gage is really good but maybe not the best that Chicago has to offer. Twin Anchors is polarizing with the naysayers mostly winning. There are better rib options to be had such as at Barn & Co., Honey 1 or Smoque. Belly Q is ahip Korean barbecue place that's located in one our trendier eating areas (although it's a little farther west).

    As for the Russian Team Room, I'm guessing there's a reason, but I can't provide one (certainly not a fine gastropub featuring local organic food).

    6 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      Thanks. That's not too bad. I'm not looking for perfect. So, I will stick with the pizza and ribs choices. I'm more concerned with your comment around the Russian Tea Room, though. This is close to our hotel, it's our last night and we will be tired, and it was recommended. Should I nix that? And if so, any other recs close by. Thanks much.

      1. re: nyawira

        Which hotel? Russian Tea Time is at Adams near Michigan. You'd be much better off at Mercat a Planxa, a few blocks down (less than 10 minute walk). It also doesn't scream Chicago, but it's a great spot.

        1. re: ferret

          Mercat a planxa sounds better. I am staying at the Wyndham Blake. I'd like to not have to take taxis every night.

          1. re: nyawira

            In that case, you can probably skip Pequod's and walk to Lou Malnati's. Every bit as good (from my perspective) and close by. And you're also pretty close to the Bongo Room if you can manage to squeeze in a breakfast. Very amazing pancakes (and other breakfast dishes).

            1. re: ferret

              I will do that. Thanks much, ferret.

              1. re: nyawira

                Pizano's is also close to your hotel. Serves deep dish style pizza similar to Malnati's.
                How many are you in your party? if you're willing to eat later in the evening around 9ish to 9:30ish on a weeknight, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that the wait time for Girl and the Goat is not that long.

    2. I'm with Ferret on nearly everything. Where will you be staying or visiting? How are you getting around? That would make a big difference.

      Love The Bristol

      Pequod's is decent pizza if you're in that vicinity, but I prefer Unos, Dues or Malnoti's

      The Gage is my least favorite of Chicago's gastropubs. Vastly prefer The Publican or Purple Pig or even Owen and Engine.

      Russian Tea Room is not particularly "Chicago" and not especially good. It wouldn't be a destination for me.

      Twin Anchors is not fabulous for anything but beer and noise. If ribs are what you want, I don't know Barn, but Smoque or Belly Q are very good. I also like Lillian Q on W. North Avenue.

      For good local organic food, consider Bistro Compagne or BrownTrout or many others.

      You've entirely missed Chicago's fine Mexican (from upscale to street food) at one of Rick Bayless' restaurants: Topolobambo, Frontera Grill, Xoco. All excellent. Or even Mexique, French/Mexican Fusion. I love Antique Tacos, all locally sourced food. Inexpensive and creative. Or Big Star, just up the street for outdoor people-watching.

      Very "Chicago" is a Chicago-style hot dog with the works (no ketchup, please, ever) or an Italian beef sandwich ("wet" with sweet and hot peppers). Portillos has decent versions of both of those.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chicgail

        Great recs. I believe I will need to rethink my plan. I have to be there for work, and will be tired at the end of the day. Not too into a taxi every night for dinner. I really need a couple of nights within walking distance. The Gage was selected because its close. Looks like so far the Bristol is a winner, though.

      2. Sunday: The Bristol -- as discussed below, yes.

        Monday: Peaquods (Old Man and the Sea reference) Pizza for some deep dish -- I like the place, but I am from detriot where we have "charred cheese crust" deep dish all over the place. I personally like to order the pizza well done. Spinach and tomato, yum, or good old pepperoni.

        Tuesday: The Gage -- For downtown, good place, but if you're just going because close to hotel, you can find others that are better. Though I have sat outside here a few times after music or a walk in the park. You may consider taking a cab over to Au Cheval or Little Goat on West Randolph. Less than $10 and about 10 minutes. My favorite is Au Cheval, but no reservations so drop your name and walk across the street to the great little dive bar.

        Wednesday: Twin Anchors Ribs -- I really don't like the place. As discussed, Lillie's Q is fantastic and for a true Chicago experience, try Honey 1 BBQ with the aquarium smoker in the window.

        Thursday: The Russia tea room -- same comments, it's not really good, unless you were taking your daughter to the theater and wanted an old school experience. If that's where your hotel is, you're no more than $10 and 10 minutes in a cab to dozens of great places.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jbontario

          I actually didn't realize cabs rides to these locales were that cheap and such a short ride. Hmmmmmmm.

          1. re: nyawira

            I travel for work all the time so I get what you're saying. If you keep your restaurant choices to Randolph Street / Fulton Market, River North, River East or Streeterville (50% of the great restaurants in the city) you'll be $10 and no more than 15 mins. For example, if you went to Sable for dinner (also nice because large bar where you can easily dine solo) or even slid into Purple pig, it's ten minutes in a cab, and if its a nice night, only a 20-25 minute walk back.

            1. re: jbontario

              I will be there in mid-September, so I'm crossing my fingers! Yummy.

        2. REVISED Week:

          Thanks all from a chowhound from Portland, Maine. I will report back. Here's what I'm now contemplating:

          Sunday: Bristol
          Monday: Malnotis
          Tuesday: Antique Tacos (looks FAB) or Au Cheval (Looks Perfect!)
          Wednesday: The one I missed from Tuesday or The Girl and the Goat if I can get in
          Thursday: Mercat a Planxa or one of the rib places suggested.

          The Russia Tea room is out as is Piquads, The Gage and Twin Anchors.

          Thanks all.

          1. There is also a Lillie Q's BBQ at the French Market.

            1 Reply
            1. re: delk

              Lillie Q's [the original and full place] opened back up in Wickerpark.