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May 23, 2014 02:42 PM

Looking to share table at Alinea on October 10 or 12, 2014.

I will coming to Chicago by myself to run the Chicago Marathon and would really love to eat at Alinea. I know this is still months away, but I am just wondering if I would be able to get someone to go with me. I can't really justify paying for two tickets to eat there when I am already shelling out a lot of money for my hotel.

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  1. Also, would be open to suggestions for other places to try.

    1. Might have to do the NY marathon; Alinea is moving to NY for a few weeks this fall - so it might not even be an option. That said, I think Grace has surpassed them as Chicago's best restaurant and they will accommodate singles, so keep them in mind.

      Here are some of my other favorites:

      Moto: Modernist cuisine; lengthy tasting menu.

      El Ideas: Modernist cuisine in a casual, dinner party like atmosphere; tasting menu where you can hang out in the open kitchen and watch/chat with he chefs as they prepare the next course. BYOB.

      Elizabeth: Also lengthy tasting menu with lots of foraged and farm-to-table emphasis, but also modern techniques. Open kitchen.

      Goosefoot: Final tasting menu only place I'll mention; French/American fusion in a relaxed atmosphere. BYOB.

      Senza: Contemporary American cuisine; choice of tasting menu or prix fixe.

      Boka: Contemporary American in an upscale neighborhood bistro like ambiance.

      Italian: Balena and Ceres' Table are my favorites.

      Asian: Juno (Japanese) and Embeya (Fusion) are my favorites.

      Mexican: Topolobampo (love the food, but touristy ambiance and spotty service) and sister restaurant Frontera Grill (more casual and less expensive).

      Steakhouse: Bavette's or Dave Burke's

      Farm-To-Table: Publican and Girl & he Goat.

      Pizza: Coalfire & Piece

      Chicago Style Pizza: Lou Malnati's

      Brunch: Jam, North Pond (Sundays only and lunch rather than breakfast foods), Publican, Little Goat and Bongo Room are my favorites.

      Good luck with the training and the marathon!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Gonzo70

        Thanks for the recommendations! Perhaps I will go to Grace instead for my celebratory meal. I was planning on going to Girl and the Goat that Friday night. Currently I have reservations for Cafe Spiaggia for my meal the night before the race, would Balena be better?

        If you ever need recommendations for Atlanta let me know!

        1. re: rastoddard

          I have not been to Cafe Spiaggia; it has a good reputation though. I do love Balena and the bar area is perfect for a single; really friendly bartenders, excellent moderately priced food and great cocktails. Fun, energetic vibe too. It is not the place if you are seeking, traditional, authentic Italian cuisine, but is such a great venue for delicious food top notch service and a fun time.

          1. re: rastoddard

            You can call and make your GATG reservation now if you want. They book six months ahead via phone but only three on OpenTable.

        2. Publican is pretty great and kind of unique - you might have a look at their website & see if it seems like the kind of place you might like.

          1. You guys are great! I have never been to Chicago and I am so excited!

            1 Reply
            1. re: rastoddard

              ==> Currently I have reservations for Cafe Spiaggia for my meal the night before the race, would Balena be better?

              Personal preference only, and based on limited dining experiences at each, I much prefer Balena. Cafe Spiaggia was fine, and assuming it is closer to your hotel, might serve your purpose well. The major difference in my experience was the staff, which can make a bigger difference when dining alone than when dining and chatting with a group that can ignore service lapses, pretentiousness, or indifference. Neither of these venues is an old-school, red sauce on a huge pile of pasta kind of place, so your carbo-loading will likely involve ordering multiple dishes. I especially love the pastas and pizzas at Balena, which would be perfect for your weekend. All Italian restaurants around Chicago get crazy marathon weekend, so already making your reservation was well-played.