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dinner selections near Palomar with 10 y.o.

  • b

We will be staying at the Palomar hotel with our 10 y.o. DS while my DH attends a conference in early May. We have dinner reservations at the following restaurants, but I am not sure if they will work with DS along. He is well behaved and used to restaurants, but is a light eater.

Friday:Embeya..Menu may be too limited although DS loves Asian
Saturday: Publican
Sunday Sable
Monday: Naha very pricey?

On the list, but not sure if they would be preferable are:
Piccolo Sogno Due
Perennial Vivant
Mercat a la Planxa
Topolobampo (not available)

Either for lunch, or for a casual dinner, we should probably try one chicago style pizza, although we tend to like thin crispy crusts. DS and I will be on our own during the day, hitting all the tourist sights and museums, so we might grab a pizza then.

And any suggestions for breakfast or lunch around Wrigley Field would be great--we are taking a tour, but the game is not until the evening, so crowds should not be an issue.

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  1. For lunch (or dinner) with 10 y.o. go to Little Goat (now taking limited reservations online). You can get some great food and he will have good choices as well. House smoke pastrami on the reuben was great and I really like the breakfast foods. All of your dinner choices would be fine with your son.

    1. Is little goat in the River north area, or by any of the tourist sights or museums or Wrigley field?

      1 Reply
      1. re: bawc

        Little Goat is on the W Randolph St / warehouse district restaurant row, just west of the Loop near greektown a couple blocks from Publican. It would be an on the way to or back from something -- cabbing it (short 8 minute cab ride from Palomar).

      2. Your itinerary sounds excellent so far.

        I'm not sure what your concern is regarding your son. Since he's well-behaved, he'll be welcome anywhere. Since he's a light eater, he can order a bit less - maybe an appetizer or two instead of an entrée. Of course, eating light is easy at a place with a small plates format, like Sable.

        >> Monday: Naha very pricey?

        That depends on what you're comparing it to. At dinner, it's very elegant, with excellent service along with the great food. I'd consider it in a class containing restaurants that cost a lot more. Regardless, you can see the prices on their website menu. At dinner, entrees are around $40, and the total including moderate alcohol and tax/tip generally winds up around $110-130, give or take. Obviously it won't be anywhere near that much for your son. Naha is also worth considering for lunch, when they offer a three-course prix fixe for $25, which is a true bargain.

        >> On the list, but not sure if they would be preferable are:
        Piccolo Sogno Due
        Perennial Vivant
        Mercat a la Planxa
        Topolobampo (not available)

        That really depends on whether you would prefer Italian (PSD), Spanish tapas (Mercat), or Mexican (Topolo) over the cuisines you're already planning. I haven't been to Embeya (have heard good things), am not fond of Publican (although others love it), and I love Sable. These other four are all excellent at what they do, so it really comes down to personal preference.

        Regarding Topolobampo, another option is Frontera Grill, its somewhat more casual and less expensive sister restaurant. (Topolobampo is actually one dining room inside Frontera Grill.) Frontera accepts reservations on the cityeats.com website. Waits at Frontera can be lengthy if you don't have a reservation.

        >> Either for lunch, or for a casual dinner, we should probably try one chicago style pizza, although we tend to like thin crispy crusts. DS and I will be on our own during the day, hitting all the tourist sights and museums, so we might grab a pizza then.

        Yes, adding a stop for deep-dish pizza while you're here would be a great idea. If you've never had it here, you've never had it. The original locations of Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due are right near your hotel. Pizano's on Madison is right near the Art Institute and Millennium Park. And if you're around the museum campus (Field Museum, etc), you can hit Lou Malnati's at 8th and State. All are excellent representations.

        >> And any suggestions for breakfast or lunch around Wrigley Field would be great--we are taking a tour, but the game is not until the evening, so crowds should not be an issue.

        One of my favorite breakfast-focused places is a ten-minute walk from Wrigley. It's called Southport Grocery and Cafe, and their menu includes clever (and delicious) items such as bread pudding pancakes, adult pop tarts, and savory dishes too. Like most of our breakfast specialty places, they don't accept reservations, and typically have no waits to be seated on weekdays, but on weekends between 9:30 and 1:00 waits of 30 minutes or more are not unusual. www.southportgrocery.com

        If you prefer a more conventional lunch type place (rather than breakfast/brunch), consider Deleece. It's also a ten minute walk from Wrigley (it's a couple blocks north of Southport Grocery). It's a neighborhood bistro type of place. They serve from a lunch menu during the week, and brunch on weekends. They accept reservations so it can be a good choice if you're trying to avoid lengthy waits to be seated at places that don't. (It's also excellent and moderately priced for dinner.) www.deleece.com

        Enjoy your trip, and feel free to ask more questions!

        19 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          Thank you for all your wonderful information, it is most helpful. I made a reservation for frontera grill, I wasn't familiar with that reservation website. Love the pizza suggestions, I am sure that will work one of the days, since we plan on visiting all those museums.

          Any other breakfast suggestions near our hotel? Something relatively quick and kid friendly, if there is a line in the hotel, and we want to move on?

          Any information on a restaurant called ( I think) Russian tea time? Serving dumplings or pierogi near the Art Institure. A friend mentioned it to me but couldn't remember exact information.

          1. re: bawc

            >> Any other breakfast suggestions near our hotel? Something relatively quick and kid friendly, if there is a line in the hotel, and we want to move on?

            Here are two suggestions. On Wells, about four blocks west of the hotel, is Meli Café. They have a huge menu, including a dozen different kinds of French toast. I like it! You may have a short wait to be seated on weekends.

            Another possibility is Xoco, which is part of Frontera Grill (with a separate entrance right around the corner). It's two blocks west of the hotel. Their setup is more fast food (order in line, then they bring you your food, like Panera). The food is somewhat different from Frontera's, and for breakfast, you can get churros (Mexican donuts) and five kinds of hot chocolate. Like Frontera/Topo, it's closed Sundays and Mondays.

            >> Any information on a restaurant called ( I think) Russian tea time? Serving dumplings or pierogi near the Art Institure.

            Yes, it's Russian Tea Time, and it's indeed near the Art Institute. Personally, I'm not that fond of Russian food, but you could give it a try. There are some other good choices in the vicinity, for lunch as well as dinner. I previously mentioned Pizano's, for deep-dish. Terzo Piano is a lunch-only (dinner on Thursdays only) Italian restaurant inside the Art Institute (although you can also get in without having to pay admission to the museum). It's run by Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia and Bar Toma. Other good places near the museum include Tesori (also Italian), Park Grill (American and burgers), the Gage (gastropub), and Henri (French bistro). For lighter fare at lunchtime, I like Pret a Manger, which is a fast-food restaurant featuring freshly made sandwiches and salads; there's a location at Monroe and Michigan, across the street from the museum.

            www.melicafe.com
            www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/xoco
            www.russianteatime.com
            www.terzopianochicago.com
            www.tesorichicago.com
            www.parkgrillchicago.com
            www.thegagechicago.com
            www.henrichicago.com
            www.pretamanger.com

            1. re: bawc

              Davanti Enoteca, in the Mariott Courtyard on Hubbard St., is a two-minute walk from the Palomar and has a surprisingly good breakfast menu. Head south on State and turn left on Hubbard for the entrance.

              http://www.davantirivernorth.com/

              1. re: mcgeary

                Wow, I didn't know that - thanks!

                Yes, the restaurants that are located inside hotels (including Sable, in the Palomar itself) are usually open for breakfast, and many of them are mighty fine places to eat. In addition to Davinti Enoteca and Sable, another place in this category is David Burke's Primehouse, in the James Hotel, four blocks from the Palomar. www.davidburkesprimehouse.com

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  Thanks for all the feedback, this is lining up to be a wonderful eating experience!

                  Of the restaurants mentioned for lunch, near the AI, would they also be convenient for the visiting the Shed, the Field Museum, etc...?

                  I gather we should try to avoid eating near the Navy Pier.

                  And if we can squeeze it in, anything near the Science Museum?

                  Love all the breakfast options. My son is not a big morning eater (I caught him slipping his fruit to the dog today). While not up there on the nutrition scale, he does have a fondness for doughnuts. Anything near the hotel or sights?

                  1. re: bawc

                    Re: doughnuts - Glazed & Infused has excellent doughnuts and good coffee 1 block from your hotel at 30 E Hubbard (inside the Courtyard by Marriott).

                    http://www.goglazed.com/doughnuts/

                    1. re: chunker

                      mmmm, doughnuts. we have lots here. my favorite is actually a couple blocks the other way. In order of my favorite.

                      Firecakes -- triple chocolate, old fashioned, long-john, mini-chocolate + other stuff. Nice coffee, counter pickup only.

                      Doughnut Vault -- one of the trailblazers -- ginger Stack (think sugar cider mill), chocolate old fashioned, chocolate glazed. They close when they sell out (check FB page for status on weekends). I like it but if line is long . . . .

                      Glazed & Infused -- i like the cake-style better than yeast doughnuts here.

                      Do-rite -- I have not been but i have heard good things.

                    2. re: bawc

                      >> Of the restaurants mentioned for lunch, near the AI, would they also be convenient for the visiting the Shed, the Field Museum, etc...?

                      The Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum are part of the city's "museum campus" at the south end of Grant Park, a little over a mile south of the Art Institute. That's far enough that I would answer, probably not.

                      There are not as many food options as close to the Shedd and Field as to the Art Institute. One breakfast/brunch/lunch place that's very close is Little Branch Café , which does some pretty good food to order even though it looks like a coffeehouse. www.littlebranchcafe.com Also close by is Bongo Room at Roosevelt/12th and Wabash, one of our top breakfast/brunch specialty restaurants. They do wonderful varieties of pancakes, such as pretzel pancakes with white chocolate sauce. A standard portion size consists of three gigantic pancakes, so consider getting a one-third or two-thirds portion size at a reduced price. That also lets you try more of their dishes. www.thebongoroom.com Gioco is another option for lunch near the Field, for Italian. www.gioco-chicago.com A little further is Lou Malnati's at 8th and State, for deep-dish. www.loumalnatis.com

                      >> I gather we should try to avoid eating near the Navy Pier.

                      I wouldn't eat ON Navy Pier (just because there's nothing all that great IMHO), but there are some good places nearby, no need to avoid them. Good places near Navy Pier include Emilio's Sol y Nieve for tapas ( www.emiliostapas.com ), Sayat Nova for Armenian ( www.sayatnovachicago.com ), and Bandera for American ( www.hillstone.com ). I would also recommend - enthusiastically - the Purple Pig, but only if you can go at an off hour. It's small and they don't take reservations, so you can expect to wait 1+ hour to be seated during normal lunch hours, and 2+ hours during extended dinner hours. www.thepurplepigchicago.com

                      Keep in mind, Navy Pier is only about a mile east of the Palomar. These are all places east of the Palomar, so they're on the way to or from Navy Pier.

                      >> And if we can squeeze it in, anything near the Science Museum?

                      The Museum of Science and Industry is eight miles south of the Loop, in the Hyde Park neighborhood. I'm not all that familiar with Hyde Park, but one restaurant there that recently opened to a lot of fanfare is A10. It's about a mile from the museum. www.a10hydepark.com

                      >> Love all the breakfast options. My son is not a big morning eater (I caught him slipping his fruit to the dog today). While not up there on the nutrition scale, he does have a fondness for doughnuts. Anything near the hotel or sights?

                      Oh yes. Donuts have become "a big thing" here, with various places opening up recently. They're all included in this taste test article: www.timeout.com/chicago/food-drink/ch... Those closest to the Palomar (1-2 blocks) include the Glazed and Infused location at 30 East Hubbard www.goglazed.com , and Firecakes at 68 West Hubbard. www.firecakesdonuts.com A bit further (5-6 blocks) are Do-Rite www.doritedonuts.com and Doughnut Vault http://thedoughnutvault.tumblr.com . Beware long lines at Doughnut Vault.

                      1. re: nsxtasy

                        As always, most helpful!

                        Could you tell me why Publican is not liked? Is it the food, the ambiance or the noise?

                        1. re: bawc

                          Well, some people like it, others don't. I am not a fan; for me, the food is the main thing and it just isn't very impressive. Some things (e.g. mussels) are okay, others aren't very good at all (the pork rinds and the desserts, which were all just plain dreadful). If the food were better, I might not mind the excrutiating noise level, but it isn't. I am also not fond of communal seating, but since part of their seating consists of conventional private two-, four-, and six-tops, which you can request when making your reservation, at least you can often avoid the communal seating.

                          But as I indicate, others like it, for all kinds of reasons; it has an interesting beer list and some folks like the food. You can always try it for yourself and let us know how you like it. The beer hall atmosphere might not be the best fit for a child, though. No, he won't get kicked out, and the staff will probably dote on him, but you should be aware going in that it really is very much a bar / beer hall type place.

                          1. re: nsxtasy

                            Now nsxtasy, you are beginning to sound crumundgeoney. Publican is pretty far from what I would term a European-styled beer hall in actual execution. Yes there are communal tables and yes its pretty loud, but the food is very good, you should try again. On the early side no one will look twice at a well-behaved 10 year old munching away on spicy pork rinds. I like the place a lot, but maybe I am also influenced so much by PQM, which I really like.

                            1. re: jbontario

                              It has a bar on one side of the room, it's one big high-ceilinged room with sight lines from one side to the other, part of the room has no seating other than a few high-tops and lots of standing room, and it's INCREDIBLY NOISY. Does that make it seem like a European beer hall? No matter what you call it, that's what it's like, and arguing about what to call it won't make it any quieter. It was so OPPRESSIVELY LOUD that we couldn't hear each other at our table there. So it wasn't much of a positive social experience, unless you enjoy shouting over dinner. Which means, not an experience I would want to share with my family, that's for sure.

                              As for the food, I thought it was, overall, pretty damn dreadful. That's my opinion as well as that of all my dining companions. You're welcome to yours. Without the name-calling, please.

                              There are so many great restaurants in Chicago, I don't bother wasting time going back to the few I thought were terrible. I've had far more meals in Chicago that were good and many that were great, so the handful that really disappointed me stand out. And unfortunately, the Publican is one of the those places.

                              1. re: nsxtasy

                                Wow, so many wonderful choices and suggestions!

                                I could only get a reservation at Frontera Grill on Friday, so I may move Embeya off the list, but looking for another good asian food, since it is my son's favorite cuisine; Any suggestions in the Japanese/Chinese/Vietnamese group?

                                Love the menu at Publican, but hate really noisy places...perhaps we should choose a night other than Saturday...thinking of substituting Piccolo Sogno Due that night.

                                Is Sable the same quality as the others? I have a tendency to avoid hotel restaurants.

                                Pizza lunch sounds like it would fit with our trip to the Field Museum, thanks for that as well!

                                And finally, DS is a hot dog/sausage foodie. Any suggestions for lunch (I admit not my favorite, but the things we do for our kids...)

                                1. re: bawc

                                  >> I could only get a reservation at Frontera Grill on Friday, so I may move Embeya off the list, but looking for another good asian food, since it is my son's favorite cuisine; Any suggestions in the Japanese/Chinese/Vietnamese group?

                                  Well, Embeya has gotten raves, and I'm not sure why you couldn't do it a different night. I haven't been there, but it's on my list of places to try. So is Mott Street, although that's not as close by (it's a couple miles away, in the West Town neighborhood). www.mottstreetchicago.com And there's also Saigon Sisters, which has their standalone restaurant right around the block from Embeya, as well as a booth (featuring mostly banh mi sandwiches) in the French Market. www.saigonsisters.com

                                  >> Love the menu at Publican, but hate really noisy places...perhaps we should choose a night other than Saturday...thinking of substituting Piccolo Sogno Due that night.

                                  Publican is VERY NOISY even during the week.

                                  >> Is Sable the same quality as the others?

                                  Yes, absolutely. See below.

                                  >> I have a tendency to avoid hotel restaurants.

                                  There's no need to avoid them. I know that years ago, hotel restaurants used to be uniformly dreadful, but those days are long gone. Hotels have recognized how it benefits their ability to attract hotel guests to have a really creative chef dishing out terrific food in their restaurant. Having great food also attracts locals and those staying elsewhere to the hotel's restaurants. So there are lots of benefits to the hotels to have a great restaurant with a great chef in house. Now some of our very best restaurants are located in hotels. This phenomenon is taking place nationwide (and beyond); examples in Chicago include Sixteen (in the Trump), NoMI (in the Park Hyatt), the Lobby (in the Peninsula), David Burke's Primehouse (in the James), the Florentine (in the JWMarriott), and yes, Sable (in the Palomar).

                                  More specifically, the Kimpton hotel group, which owns the Palomar and the Burnham here, develops some of the most creative chefs under its wing. Sable is a chef-driven restaurant, run by Heather Terhune, who was on Top Chef a few years ago. Here's an interview with her that was published this week: http://gapersblock.com/drivethru/2014... The food is FANTASTIC; it's my favorite restaurant in downtown Chicago. And on most nights you can see her working her magic in Sable's open kitchen, right alongside her staff.

                                  >> And finally, DS is a hot dog/sausage foodie. Any suggestions for lunch (I admit not my favorite, but the things we do for our kids...)

                                  Franks 'n' Dawgs. Although it's not that convenient to the downtown neighborhoods, it's still more convenient than Hot Doug's, and doesn't have the endless waits of Hot Doug's either. www.franksndawgs.com If you go there, it's not far from a couple of our best bakeries, Vanille (which also has a booth in the French Market) and Floriole.

                                  1. re: nsxtasy

                                    I just realized this is the first time I've mentioned the French Market in this discussion, so I should describe it a bit. It's inside a commuter train station just west of the Loop. It has several dozen booths, which include some of the very best restaurants of their kind in the city: Vanille Patisserie for pastry, Pastoral for cheese and sandwiches, Saigon Sisters for banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), Lillie's Q for barbecue, Fumare for Montreal-style smoked meat, etc. It's a bit hard to find so you may want to check the directions on the market's website at www.frenchmarketchicago.com

                                    1. re: nsxtasy

                                      I think the French Market is a great and fun suggestion! It's a foodie playground for kids of all ages, so should be perfect for you. Be advised it can get very hectic with Loop office workers weekdays at peak lunchtime, say 11:30-1:00, so the lines will be longer and seating more crowded. Along similar lines, and much closer to your hotel, is Eataly. Again, it gets very crowded, and overwhelming to some, but I love it. Mid- to late-morning and mid-afternoon are the easiest times, in my experience. (I personally wouldn't bring a child there past around 7:30 PM, when it tends to fill up with adults milling about, drinking wine and beer, and eating cheese and charcuterie.) http://www.eataly.com/eataly-chicago/

                                  2. re: bawc

                                    If your 10 year old is like my 11 year old, the fancy fare at Franks n Dawgs is not worth the long trip. Better off with basic stuff at Portillo's, a more convenient location.
                                    And Big Bowl likely has the kind of Asian food that DS would like.

                                    1. re: Polski

                                      >> If your 10 year old is like my 11 year old, the fancy fare at Franks n Dawgs is not worth the long trip. Better off with basic stuff at Portillo's, a more convenient location.

                                      I agree! Portillo's is a local Chicago-based chain of hot dog and burger restaurants. They have excellent representations of Chicago-style hot dogs as well as another local specialty, Italian beef sandwiches, as well as burgers, etc. They have a location on Ontario just a few blocks from the Palomar. www.portillos.com

                                      >> And Big Bowl likely has the kind of Asian food that DS would like.

                                      That depends on whether he leans towards more authentic Asian cuisine, or the slightly Americanized fare at Big Bowl (which is still quite good, better than many other such places). Check out the menus on the websites of this and other places to help you decide. www.bigbowl.com

                                      1. re: nsxtasy

                                        I prefer authentic Asian, after many trips to the orient, and that is what we eat near home. Portillo's sounds up his alley. Other than chili, he likes his hot dogs without adornment .

              2. Around the corner from the Palomar is Brazzaz, a Brazilian "rodizio" restaurant where they bring varieties of roast meats to your table again and again until you beg them to stop. This is preceded by a gorgeous salad bar and accompanied by a hot buffet. The regular cost is $48.50 but currently there is a $25- off coupon online, one per table, good until May 18. With two adults this brings the cost of the meal to $ 36---I don't know whether Brazzaz has a children's price but you could find out. For what they give you, $36 is a steal---see their website for pictures---and because the "method" is unusual it would be fun for your son---food is delivered on swords carried by gauchos (not the right nomenclature but you get the idea).