revised dinner list near Palomar Hotel
Thanks to al lthe help from the this forum, we have revised our reservations, but with a few questions.
Friday: Frontera Grill
Saturday: Piccolo Sogno Due (is it better than Balena?)
DH loves french food, so since he is working during this trip, I may change Embeya. Which is better Bavette or La Sardine?
We canceled Publican (too noisy), and Naha (too expensive and DS wanted the most expensive entree on the menu).
Lunch possibilities are Portillo for hot dogs, Pizano for Pizza or Lou Malnati, maybe Little Goat, and some of the recommendations near Wrigley Field. I hope to get to the French Market as well. Is it open but less frantic on weekends?
DS asked if he could try each of the doughnut place and compare them all. At 53 lbs, he can afford to, but I am not sure I can!
>> Saturday: Piccolo Sogno Due (is it better than Balena?)
I haven't been to Balena so I can't answer that. I like PSD a lot, though. (Coincidentally, tomorrow I'm dining at Balena's sister restaurant, the Bristol.)
>> DH loves french food, so since he is working during this trip, I may change Embeya. Which is better Bavette or La Sardine?
When someone asks which is better, a steakhouse or a French bistro, my response is usually, "Which do you want to eat, steaks or French bistro fare?" In other words, I don't think you can really say one is "better" than the other; it just depends on what you want to eat and what kind of place you want to go. Most U.S. cities have some good steakhouses, whereas good French bistros might be something you don't have back home (wherever that is); OTOH if you really want a great steak while you're here, by all means go to Burke's or Bavette's. If you're still not sure, maybe a look at the menus on their websites by all concerned will turn up a clear winner.
>> I hope to get to the French Market as well. Is it open but less frantic on weekends?
During the week, due in part to its location in the commuter train station and near the Loop, it tends to be very busy during lunchtime, and to a much lesser extent towards the end of the afternoon; it's rather quiet in the morning and the rest of the afternoon. Saturdays it's generally less frantic and the pace is more constant throughout the day, without the weekday lunchtime rush. Hope that makes sense. Oh, and it's closed on Sundays.
While I haven't been to Piccolo Sogno Due, I have been to their sister venue; I have been to Balena many times (in fact just got home from there). Piccolo Sogno is good, but Balena is one of my very favorite restaurants in the city. Wonderful ambiance, best service I have seen outside of super expensive fine dining venues, consistently outstanding cuisine, a great menu and very reasonable prices.
As Nsxtasy said, Bavette's and La Sardine are totally different types of restaurants; if I was picking one of these Bavettes would be an easy choice - but it really depends on whether you are seeking a steakhouse vs. a French bistro.
I'll attempt to tackle Bavette's vs La Sardine question: I think Bavette's is a better, more unique version of a steakhouse than La Sardine is of a French bistro. If I may please offer another solution to this dilemma though, I think the best answer is to split the difference and go to Maude's Liquor Bar. It is an updated, Americanized spin on a French bistro, from the same team as Bavette's. In fact, many of the items available at Bavette's are available at Maude's, plus some more traditional French items (while not a summery dish, I loved Maude's cassoulet). Like at Bavette's, seafood towers and oysters are expertly prepared and presented, and I also recommend the bone marrow and roast chicken. While not with the same variety or emphasis as at Bavette's, there is always at least one steak available. There are two indoor seating areas, downstairs which is loud and lively, and I believe even with plastic chairs. I much prefer and have always sat upstairs, dark and sexy with leather banquettes. There is also a sidewalk patio, weather-permitting, but IIRC (al fresco dining season in Chicago was a VERY long time ago), this might only be communal seating.
Maude's Liquor Bar
840 West Randolph
Chicago, IL 60622
Not forgetting Cantina Laredo which is directly across the street from the Palomar. They make the guacamole at tableside, fun for your son.