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Oct 31, 2013 10:03 AM

Chcago weekend- near Conrad?

I am looking for some input on a weekend trip to Chicago at the end of November. We are staying at the Conrad off Michigan and likely will not have a car.

I am having a hard time paring down our possible dining options. For context we are looking for two dinners- one more upscale, one maybe less so (or at least not as expensive).

My husband would prefer not to cab all over the city. I will be 35 weeks pregnant when we visit, so I don't want to go somewhere we can't make reservations, nor do I want to go somewhere I can't make any choices of food. We have dined at TRU and loved it, but with so many options, I hate to go back to the same place.

Thanks for any Thoughts! I would also take thoughts if anyone has any recommendations of more sedentary activites as well!

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  1. You are staying less than half a mile from one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago, the Lobby at the Peninsula Hotel. I think it would suit you well based on what you described. As an FYI Tru changed formats at the beginning of the year and now is tasting-menu-only. The Lobby is an upscale venue serving Contemporary American cuisine. They have a great a la carte menu and also offer a five course tasting menu (and are quite flexible in terms of including items you like and excluding foods you are averse to). Elegant yet comfortable dining room and outstanding service. There is often soft live music playing in the background and on Friday's and Saturday's there is an expansive chocolate buffet that you can partake in for half price if you had dinner there that night. They do take reservations via Open Table, so no worry about having to wait for a table. Price is very reasonable for the quality and is considerably less than you would pay at Tru.

    Sixteen is a great venue and nearby to you, but tasting menus are the main emphasis here so it would not be a great choice if you want to make choices on what you eat. You may want to peak at their current menu (it changes 100% each season and tells a story of the season through the menu) to see if you happen to like what is offered (they do a fair job at making substitutions). Nice views of the city from the restaurant (it is located on the 16th floor of Trump Tower with massive floor-to-ceiling windows). They do have a three course prix fixe (with choices), but IMHO you would miss out if dining here and not partaking in a tasting menu.

    Les Nomades is a highly regarded classic French restaurant near your hotel; not my favorite (personally I found it a bit stuffy and was not wowed by the cuisine) but it has its fans and may be worth looking into. Naha (Contemporary American) and Graham Elliot (modern cuisine) are other high end venues nearby, but again not my favorites.

    For the less upscale dinner GT Fish & Oyster (assuming you enjoy seafood) would be a good choice. Lively atmosphere and great food. If you like Italian food, Piccolo Sogno Due is nearby or Quartino. Out of these GT Fish is my favorite, but they are all good venues. You also have lots of nice steakhouses nearby.

    1. Thank you Gonzo70 for your very thoughtful response. A chocolate buffet sounds delightful!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Limwi

        A quick note about Quartino. It may be the loudest restaurant I've ever been in during my life. We stopped for a drink there two weekends ago on a Friday night. It was so loud we could hardly talk. We were thinking about eating as the menu looked pretty good, but decided not to because of the noise.

        1. re: Db Cooper

          Quartino is a good spot but the main floor has subway tile on the walls and tiled floors so the noise can be difficult to deal with, if you can get seated upstairs it's not nearly as bad.

      2. The Purple Pig is connected to the Conrad off of Michigan. Wait times can be brutal so send your husband down to check in. They'll take his cell number and call you when your table is ready. You guys could just chill in your room until dinner time. There are lots of small plates so plenty to choose from. I've never had anything I haven't like there, but if you order something you don't love chances are it's in the $10 range so it's not the end of the world. Just order another dish. Oh, and the food is friggin awesome did I mention that?

        1. Of the recs, the Lobby at the Peninsula Hotel and GT Fish & Oyster are very good. I am not a huge fan of Sixteen, I was there 6 months ago and I think its a bit of a work in progress. If you want that type of setting, tasting menu type of thing, I'd go back to Tru. I am a fan of Les Nomades so I personally would consider that.