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Feb 18, 2014 07:02 AM


I'll be in Chicago for the first time in the spring. Have always wanted to go to a Bayless restaurant, so made reservations at Topolobampo after reading you can't make reservations at Frontera. Then read that Topolobampo had slipped.

Would appreciate comments and advice.

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  1. I personally think it is still top rate - one of my favorites.

    1. I have dined there three times during the past couple of years and find the food itself incredible (and the cocktails enjoyable as well) but the ambiance is unfortunately touristy and not on par with most Michelin starred venues (or restaurants at this price point). Likewise service tends to be disinterested and they assume everybody is a fan of Rick Bayless and has no knowledge of fine dining (during my most recent visit I received a five minute lecture on what a tasting menu is and how I need not be intimidated by five courses - on top of that this was the same server I'd had four to five months ago).

      The food is worth a trip but keep expectations low regarding ambiance and service. They did just recently do some renovations and alter the menu format and I am hoping the overall experience will be a bit better going forward, but am not too optimistic. If the service and ambiance were on par with the food I'd be dining here every few weeks.

        1. re: weinstein5

          And the new menu format (and pricing) is up on the website:

          I have reservations booked for a couple months from now to give Topolo one last chance to provide adequate service in addition to the stellar food; if we are turned off by the service again this will likely be our last visit for some time.

        2. Thank you so much for the information, comments, and links, gonzo and weinstein.

          Everything is very helpful. After looking at the menu, I'm a little up in the air. Will have to take more time to assimilate the choices.

          Thanks again!

          1. Never had a problem being seated at Frontera without a reservation but you can make reservations on Frontera's website if you think it will be necessary

            7 Replies
            1. re: foufou

              Oh, glad to know that!

              Do you prefer Frontera to Topolobampo?

              1. re: laredo

                To clarify foufou's post one can be seated at Frontera without a reservation - but there is usually a lengthy wait for this. I do not think foufou was implying it is easy to just walk in and immediately be seated. If so that would be highly unusual IMHO. Unless arriving before they open wait times are typically long.

                1. re: Gonzo70

                  They no have an option on the Frontera website to make reservations - an not to scare you away they can be long but the worst I ever had was about 40 minutes for brunch - but it is worth it - also if you can get a seat at the bar you can order off either menu -

                  Both restaurants are great - Frontera us more laid back and casual - Topo, at least the old setting, was upscale

                  1. re: weinstein5

                    You can make reservations for Frontera Grill off their website or off City Eats


                    1. re: lbs

                      Thank you both.

                      I did make reservations at Frontera. Now I have to decide between it and Topo.

                      Spoiled for choice! Advice is welcome.

                  2. re: Gonzo70

                    I have never had a long wait time but I am probably not dining at prime time either or with large parties...