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Jan 9, 2014 09:05 PM

Foodie Weeekend in Chicago

Heading to Chicago for the first time with my girlfriend. Looking for some input, recommendations, and tips on where to go. We are pretty open to anything but tend to stick to italian, new american, or contemporary asian. We are also always in the market for good coffee, beer, and cocktails. Here are the plans so far

Friday Dinner: Plan is Nico Osteria which is in our hotel. Open to other nearby suggestions

Saturday: Spending day in the hands of local friends

Sunday Breakfast: Open

Sunday Lunch/Snacks: Open

Sunday Dinner: Drinks @ Aviary then Girl and the Goat

Monday Breakfast: Open

Monday Lunch/Snacks: Wide open

Monday Dinner: Wide open. Thinking about Avec. Recommended? How long would the wait be?

Open to any other suggestions that may not fit the buckets above.

Thanks so much!

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  1. If you like contemporary Asian, Yusho (Japanese) might be a good choice somewhere in there. I don't think it's too far from your hotel either (Google Maps says 5.5 miles by car).

    1 Reply
    1. re: lamb_da_calculus

      Second Yusho, they have great food and a great cocktail program. And you can have cocktails at Billy Sunday before or afterwards.

    2. I have not yet made it to Nico Osteria, but had friends go who spoke positively about their experience.

      For Sunday North Pond does a wonderful brunch; it is located in the heart of Lincoln Park (literally inside the park) with beautiful views of the skyline, park and pond and has a James Beard winning chef and is a recently Michelin starred venue. They do a three course prix fixe for brunch that is lunch type fare rather than breakfast items. If you opt for this, book ASAP (Open Table) as their brunch frequently is booked up in advance. Also request a table with a view of the pond. If you prefer more of a breakfast food oriented brunch I recommend Jam in Logan Square neighborhood; casual, friendly staff, outstanding and interesting brunch fare. You could always to North Pond Sunday and Jam Monday (North Pond's brunch is only available on Sunday). Publican (West Loop) also does a wonderful weekend brunch. Bongo Room (Wicker Park, Andersonville and Near Southside locations) and Tweet (Uptown) are also good for breakfast/brunch.

      You mentioned you like Contemporary Asian; my favorite restaurant in this category is Embeya (West Loop neighborhood). That might be perfect for Monday Lunch. Blackbird (Contemporary American) also does a great weekday lunch and Topolobampo (Rick Bayless' venue - regional Mexican) is also worth looking into (definitely book this one in advance via Open Table if you opt for Topolobampo).

      For Monday dinner I'd encourage you to look into Publican instead of Avec. Same neighborhood, similar price and style of cuisine, but I feel Publican is a bit better and also has the advantage of taking reservations.

      For really good coffee I recommend La Colombe (West Loop just a bit west of Girl & the Goat) or Dark Matter (Humboldt Park neighborhood). My favorite cocktail lounge is the Berkshire Room (Magnificent Mile/River North area), but Aviary is worth checking out (a bit pricey, but whimsical and a fun experience with some excellent, creative cocktails). If you go to Berkshire Room I highly recommend ordering The Weston (wheated bourbon with Dark Matter coffee essence and pipe tobacco essence) and The Continuous Negroni (aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels). Best places I know of in the city for beer are the Map Room (Bucktown) and Hopleaf (Andersonville); there are also some pretty good microbreweries such as Piece, Dryhop and Revolution.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Gonzo70

        Gonzo70 - you're recommending Topolo for lunch if I read you correctly? Unfortunately, I don't think it will fit into the OP's schedule. They only serve lunch Tuesday to Friday. No lunch service on Saturdays, though they're open for dinner. And they are closed altogether on Sundays and Mondays.

        I second Jam and Publican, as well as La Colombe, Dark Matter, Berkshire Room. Berkshire Room's Weston & Continuous Negroni are some of the best cocktails we've ever had.

        If you are at all into tiki, Beachbum Berry, or rum, stop at Three Dots & a Dash.

        1. re: kathryn

          Good catch; forgot Topolobampo didn't have lunch Mondays.

        2. re: Gonzo70

          I would second blackbird - we had a great lunch there in the summer.

        3. Original Pancake House is convenient to your hotel and would be a good choice for Monday breakfast.
          Table Fifty-Two also is close by for dinner if Southern food is okay.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Polski

            Hi Polski - I would consider Au Cheval and Purple Pig. Neither take reservations but would fit if you do a late lunch Sunday or Monday. At Purple Pig, you can put your name in and check out Michigan Avenue (and Berkshire Room is a short walk away). Purple Pig is Mediterranean and Au Cheval an 'upscale' diner.

            1. re: chunker

              We've had basically no wait at all at Purple Pig for weekday lunch, but got there just before a big rush at Au Cheval. We were OK at the counter at Au Cheval, which is how we skipped the wait.