I was just in downtown Chicago last month, and celebrated my birthday dinner at Frontera Grill. WARNING: They do NOT take reservations. We arrived at 6pm on a Saturday and waited for 90 minutes (they’d told us the wait would be 2 hours). Yes, the food was good, but I’m not sure it was THAT good.
I ditto the recommendation for Berghoff’s.
I’ll also recommend Joey Buona’s, for deep-dish pizza and other Italian food.
(By the way, if you’re looking for a fun/delicious place for breakfast, check out Toast in the the Lincoln Park neighborhood.)
Gibson’s Steak House- Great steaks, great service, great bar scene. Definitely a Chicago type place where I generally bring out-of-town guests. It is a very active restaurant, and if you are looking for quiet, you may want to avoid that.
Osteria Via Stato in the Embassy Suites is OK. Ambria is good, but foufy French and pretty quiet.
I recently had a great meal at Spring near Bucktown.
You might want to throw a post up at LTH Forum, where the folks over there have quite a bit of knowledge about Chicago food. Be a little more detailed in your post, and I’m sure you will get a lot of options:
I love the Berghoff. And Roddity’s in Greektown.
FOGO DE CHAO!!!
on North La Salle
Amazing endless chain of beef and meats.
Expensive but worth it for sure!
(reservation definitely required)
Frontera Grill is great; it can get very crowded; not sure about reservations.
Think about The Berghoff, a Chicago institution if there ever was one. Very busy, but standard well-prepared food.
For a casual to go while shopping, Gold Coast Dogs for chicago dogs,
Billy Goat Tavern for a gritty atmosphere and cheezborgers.
Harry Careys’ has great steaks and some of the best pork chops I’ve ever had, anywhere.
Russian Tea Time is great for eastern European food, down by the art museum. Try one of their platters. Absolutely outstanding service, great atmosphere, unique food.
Last time I was there a couple months ago, had dinner (business entertainment) at Joe’s Stone Crab, another location of the Miami institution. (I always wanted to go the Miami original and never made it) Stone crab and steak was about $80 per person, plus drinks, but it was excellent.
Nemeis – You may want to check out the Chicago guide on Chowhound.Com. There is currently a thread on Topolobambo vs. Arun’s that you might find interesting. Also, most of the suggestions that you will receive on this site will be of the pizza and beef variety. Chowhound is a better bet when looking for information on higher end establishments such as the ones you have listed.
Was wondering if anyone can suggest some restaurats downtown for a Birthday Celebration. We are staying three days in middle of November (kinda hoping some Christmas decorations will be up)
Fontera Grill is a must but what about
Osteria Via Stato??
Thanks for the imput, any and all suggestions are appriciated.
I’m a native…and my favorites are:
Meiji 623 W. Randolph for sushi
Frontera 445 N. Clark for Mexican
Shaw’s Crabhouse 21 E. Hubbard for seafood
Blackbird 619 W. Randolph for contemporary American
Gibsons 1028 N. Rush for steak
Wildfire 159 W. Erie for meat and potatoes
Rosebud 1500 W. Taylor St. for Italian
Wishbone 1001 W. Washington for Southern American (and breakfast)
Due 619 N. Wabash for pizza
Gold Coast Dogs 159 N. Wabash (and others) for dogs–remember no ketchup!
I’m not going to challenge you on your dislike of Arun’s, because I haven’t been there in years. Last time I went, it was wonderful, but perhaps it’s changed.
However, calling it a "dicey" area is just plain wrong. It is indeed far from downtown, and difficult to get to without a car, but there’s nothing dangerous about the neighborhood and no one should be discouraged from going for that reason. I say this as someone who grew up on Chicago’s North Side and lived there until recently. I consider myself an expert on Chicago’s neighborhoods.
For great Chicago food that’s really in a dicey location, I recommend Leon’s BBQ on Halsted and 59th, in the Engelwood area of the South Side (the neighborhood with Chicago’s highest murder rate). There aren’t any tables – and the servers are behind bullet-proof glass. I used to go there, but that was before I had a wife and kids. (There are other Leon’s locations in less dangerous neighborhoods, as well).
Try http://www.wttw.com/checkplease/. Check Please is an excellent show produced by the Chicago PBS affiliate. Every week they recruit three viewers to recommend their favorite restaurant. Each person on the panel tells why their restaurant is his/her favorite. Then the other two panel members also comment on it. Each week they review restaurants from a range of economic and ethnic strata. The web site has listings of every place reviewed over the last three seasons along with comments, phone and address, price range, and other useful information.
try ina’s for breakfast or lunch located at 1235 w. randolph,great homemade comfort food at it’s finest!
frontera grill/topolobombo are fantastic,i choose the bar area for dining[both menu’s are offered] and i have always had incredible mexican cusine.highly recommended no matter how long the wait.
i have dined twice at osteria via stato and loved it!a parade of small plates of italian antipastas and pastas come to your table via knowledgable servers,all you do is choose one of 5 or 6 entres….delicious and filling too.good for large parties.
i also love heaven on 7th[cajun comfort],the bannos bros. have two locations downtown[the garland building[7th floor] and rush st.]
arun'[located in a ‘dicey’ area far from downtown] is overated,way too expensive and degustation onlyand ambria has changed concepts[still french but with influences from el bulli in spain].
or,if it’s bizzare deconstuctivist food as theater you’re looking for try moto,they are getting lot’s of national press for their quirky but serious cusine[caution…appraoch with an open mind and wallet]!
hope you have a great time!
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