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Chicago Restaurants

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Anybody have any good suggestions on restaurants in Chicago (excluding Alinea & Avec)? Looking for a unique and quality culinary experience. Any help or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.
post #2 of 17
You can try using our search tool in the Restaurant Review forum....

Breakfast: if you want a taste of a Chicago institution, you have to try Lou Mitchell's. Lou Mitchells Restaurant . They serve until 2:00 PM I think.

I'll leave the rest to the Chicagoans and those who've visited more recently than last April. Besides, the place we had dinner is now out of business. :eek: (Butter)
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post #3 of 17
Well, if it was me, and I was looking for a unique and quality dining experience, and I was willing to think outside the box and not consider only fine dining, I would definitely take the time to eat lunch at the restaurant discussed in a thread here....

Hot Dougs

Try to do it on Friday or Saturday for the duck fat fries.

post #4 of 17
Signature Room
Dining Room at the Ritz

Quick Eats:
Grab some chicago hot dogs at Portillos, or deep dish pizza at Girodanos, Ginos East, or Uno. Stop at any maxwell street shop for great polish sausages.

Refer here if you are looking for a specific style of dining, price range, or location. Chicago Restaurants & Dining | Metromix Chicago

Is Butter really out of business? The website is still up. I ate there when Ryan Poli was the Chef. It was really a nice off the radar place, and would be a true shame if it really is closed.
post #5 of 17
Charlie Trotters
post #6 of 17
RAS, I heard that somewhere, from someone in Chicagoland. I hope it was an error, because the meal was great.

I wrote a review of dinner at Tru but it's several years old. Has anyone eaten there in the past year or so?

Kevin, I'm still waiting for a chance to try those duck fat fries! :lips: Do you think the chicken version (schmaltz) would be a suitable substitute?? I have some in my fridge..... :D
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post #7 of 17
Old Town Braserrie.
post #8 of 17
Schmaltz fries? I'd give 'em a try. I know you watch what you eat, but go ahead and make some chopped liver. You know you want too. :D

Another Chicago favorite of ours is Cafe Iberico. It's a tapas place at 737 N. LaSalle. The regular menu is very good, (clams, calamari, octopus, Serrano ham, roasted veal with rasberry vinaigrette) and they always have some interesting specials. If I recall correctly I had a suckling pig haunch (or something along those lines) in a spicy broth that was phenomenal. Lots of sherry choices and we like the Sangria. It gets very loud and crowded after about 5:30. We always go for lunch to avoid that, and also because we always have our little girl with us.

I recommend avoiding the Paella Negro. That's all I'll say about that. :eek:

Cafe Iberico

post #9 of 17
Not trying to plug my school... but *coughs*

The Dining Room at Kendall College

Like most culinary school restaurants, this one is entirely student run, BUT imho it stands out among the crowd. Why not give it a chance and see what the chefs of tomorrow are cooking up?

Kendall College > The Dining Room
post #10 of 17
my older brother took me to this place Welcome to Fogo de Chãowhen I came to visit truely great experience. the salad bar was awsome. And I don't eat salads(usaully).
post #11 of 17
The kids at my school keep talking about the burgers at Bandera on Michigan St
post #12 of 17
What salad bar? :D
post #13 of 17
I finally made it to Tru the other night. A buddy and I went up to Chicago, since he had some other business to take care of up there. So we made the best of it

We started at Manny's Deli for a 1/2 & 1/2 Pastrami and Cored beef sandwich, piled HIGH!

We took care of some business and then went to David Burke's Primehouse for the Kobe beef sashimi appetizer they have that is really tasty.

While we were there we must have been making goggle eyes beer at a table in the lounge. The executive chef came up to us after he was finished with his guests and offered to share a few different types of beer they were sampling. It turns out they're getting ready for an upcoming event that will have beer pairings from Goose Island Brewery]Goose Island. The beers were from the reserve selections. They drank more like a wine than a beer...very nice!

After that it was off to Kamehachi for some blue fin tuna :D But they were out:( what a bummer!

Next was my personal favorite. Simple and tasty! We got some (more) Iberico Bellota from Fox & Obel and a small loaf of bread. We sampled a few other nice prosciutto's here. But there is simply nothing like the Iberico Bellota, although Pio Tosini is a very nice second. My wife and friend both think I'm a bit obsessed... I think they're way off :crazy:

Since we were in the mood for Spanish food after this we decided to get dinner at Mercat a la planxa. We both got the tasting menu paired with some Spanish wines. Nice courses...real nice pairings.

There were a few problems, like I strongly question that they're ham was Iberico Bellota. There are different producers and different reserves. This certainly was not the one that I have dedicated my life to ;) I could have questioned this...but this wasn't why we were here. There was also a course that was Spanish octopus, confit potato, smoked paprika. Some of the octopus was a bit overcooked. The potato was fabulous. The whole meal was quite enjoyable.

After this we decided to take a walk thru Chicago's Millennium park. There was a jazz quartet that was slated to start at 6:30pm, it was now 7:00pm and the concert hadn't started. We noticed two seats center stage about three rows in front of the sound booth. We moved toward the seats and sat down, the concert started a few minutes after we seated ourselves. The timing and seats were laughable.

Lastly, we finally ended up deciding at Tru for dessert. We both had shorts on so we asked the door man if it would be acceptable to step in for dessert. We were polite and would have understood if they said no. We were dressed in nice cloths, but shorts just the same. They graciously offered a table in the lounge, perfect!

We were looking at the menu for a nice drink off of the Cocktail menu. My friend had a question about one of the drinks and the server stated she would be right back. Soon Chad Ellegood came back to discuss some drink options with us. Talk about a craftsman with a passion. My friend got the pomegranate old fashioned - (rain vodka, pama, peychaud bitters). I ordered the saké martini - (rihaku nigori saké, hendrick’s gin, cucumber). Both were absolutely fantastic! Like food, a well prepared drink is a treat.

After a fantastic cocktail we both ordered the Pastry Chef's dessert tasting. I don't have pictures nor a description of each one. But each and every course that we had was an absolute harmony of similar and opposing flavors and textures. you wouldn't walk away from this tasting rubbing your belly in amazement that you could eat so much dessert. But I did walk away shaking my head at the level of flavors at a restaurant (the only other time I have experienced this was when I would visit the now closed Le Francais). The pastry chef, Meg Galus, came over to our table to thank us for choosing Tru for dessert only. She couldn't have been nicer...just full of energy and polite as ever.

We ended the evening with a cup of Intelligencia coffee, I believe it was the El Diablo (dark roast) blend. Nice, clean...full flavored. Our server the whole time was also spot on. Never imposing yet always attentive without notice.

We were then offered a tour of the restaurant, we politly accepted. We were shown the different private dining areas first. Next we were able to get a tour of all areas of the kitchen and watch them work for time while a gentlemen explained a little about the history of the restaurant, etc. We met the Chef and pastry Chef again. After this we were directed toward the dining area. Here is a room full of patrons in suits and ties. Then you have our shorts (albeit nice shorts:lol:) They took time to show us the different areas in the dining room and also pointed out their Andy Warhol.

Oh...on the subject of art. We also had a Yves Klein, in the lounge area which was absolutely stunning! Not to mention another (unknown to me) piece that was mesmerizing. Even though I was sitting right beside the piece, the best view in the house of this piece was also from the seat I was in. Not looking directly at it...but into a mirror that sat just to the right of my view. I know so little about art...but the way that mirror caught the painting which was sitting right beside me was (somehow) a pleasure Coincidence?

My friend and I have actually dined like this in Chicago a few times (although a different set of restaurants). What a great time!

post #14 of 17
Coco Pazzo if you want a trendy Italian place. Angelina's Ristorante if looking for a more homey, underground little restaurant, which is more my style ;)
post #15 of 17
While I've never heard a nice thing said about Mr. Portillo, I don't care.

You won't find a better 'fast' food place in the city. They have the best system I've ever seen for getting food out quickly, so don't be daunted by the huge lines at lunch/dinner. EVERY thing I've tried there is good, be it the hamburger, chilidogs, or plain old chicago style with peppers.

Its the only fast food (and I use the term loosely) place where they flame broil the burgers but they are NOT over cooked. They have them sort of perfectly crispy on the edges like they were fried at a Steak and Shake or culvers, but still pink in the middle with a bit of a charred taste.

And don't get me started on the hot dogs.

The Italian beefs are suppose to be top notch too, but those are lower on my food hierarchy so I'll take peoples word on it. I can't go for those when the chili dogs are there calling me.

I could live off their food.

One final note is they still use Styrofoam cups. Most of us have forgotten how NICE they are. I'll get a large drink at lunch and it still has its ice at 5pm when I get off work. Try that with a McD's or the like paper one.
post #16 of 17
After Nicko's report on Publican, I can't wait to go there!
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post #17 of 17
Texas de brazille (sp?) Is unique if u have never been to a brazillian steakhouse. Rosebud is traditional italian but we really enjoyed ourselves. I had the skirt steak feature and have thought about it many times since. Lastly, frontera is mexican like u have not had before I'm guessing.
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