ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Chicago - Where to eat?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Chicago - Where to eat?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I know that's a very broad question, so let me be more specific, where would Bourdain eat?

 

Not that I worship him, but for the sake of this question I am looking for smaller hole in the wall places that serve interesting, authentic, adventurous food that's very good. And really, nothing is off limits. Mystery meat on a stick, check, Organ meat, check, Dirty water dogs, check.

 

I know about Alinea, but that's not what I am looking for, for now.

 

I will be downtown for 2 week, without a car, so affordable cab distance is preferred.

 

Thanks

pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
Reply
pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
Reply
post #2 of 19

Hey Pierre, I'm from Chicago (well the near suburbs) and one place I always hear about but have never tried is Hot Doug's. It's kinda like a gourmet hot dog place where you can get exotic hot dogs and sausages (venison, elk, various wild game). I've heard it's a lot of fun and the food is great if your looking for a more casual experience. It's a bit of a hike by cab from downtown but I'm pretty sure there is an "el" (Chicago's elevated train and subway) Blue Line stop right by there. The "el" Blue Line runs right through downtown. The address is 3324 North California Ave. Hope this helps!

"Of course the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. At some point, I hope to learn enough to realize that I know nothing at all. Then maybe I'll be able to snatch a pebble from Julia Child's hand"
- Alton Brown
Reply
"Of course the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. At some point, I hope to learn enough to realize that I know nothing at all. Then maybe I'll be able to snatch a pebble from Julia Child's hand"
- Alton Brown
Reply
post #3 of 19

Frontera Grill

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre View Post

I know that's a very broad question, so let me be more specific, where would Bourdain eat?

 

Not that I worship him, but for the sake of this question I am looking for smaller hole in the wall places that serve interesting, authentic, adventurous food that's very good. And really, nothing is off limits. Mystery meat on a stick, check, Organ meat, check, Dirty water dogs, check.

 

I know about Alinea, but that's not what I am looking for, for now.

 

I will be downtown for 2 week, without a car, so affordable cab distance is preferred.

 

Thanks


 

 

  Hi Pierre,

 

    I haven't seen any of Bourdain's shows...but I think I get where you're going with your questions.  I go up to Chicago from time to time to eat but I really have no suggestions for what you're looking for.  

 

   I would suggest asking this question in a few of the local food forums.  Try the LTHForum and Chicago ChowHound.

 

 

   You really ate waterdogs?

 

   good luck!

 dan

post #5 of 19

We were in Chicago in May and we stayed in the loop.  We were at the Travelodge on East Harrison.. it's an old building but the room was very clean and the staff were wonderful. 

 

I'm not sure I can suggest where Bourdain might eat but I can tell you about a place we loved and that was the Exchequer on South Wabash.   I had the daily special the first time we went and I could tell that everything had been made from scratch.. my husband really enjoyed his meal too and when we were pondering over where to eat dinner the next night, we decided to go back again.  Our second visit as equally as enjoyable as the first and again the food was incredibly good.  I stuck with the special of the day and my husband ordered off the menu.  Same thing the third and final night we were there.. the food was amazing.  I didn't enjoy that day as much as I caught the bug that was making its way through my kitchen at work so I was definitely under the weather.  

 

Good luck to you and enjoy Chicago!  It is a beautiful city!

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
post #6 of 19

Just to mention.. we were also carless in Chicago.   We're used to big cities (well not as big as Chicago but we lived in Toronto for years and became used to taking public transit) so we looked into Chicago Transit and bought a three day pass for each of us when we got on the subway at O'Hare.  The worst part of that was the blasted vending machine.. my husband had a hard time with it and the attendant had to help him figure it out.  After we bought the pass which actually was vaild for three whole days from the time we purchased it until midnight three days later... it was great to have.  We'd get on a bus on Michigan ave and ride around.. when we saw alot of interesting stuff we'd get out and check out the area.  I was the one who wanted to take a cab from the airport to the hotel but my husband insisted we do the transit thing.. his logic was we had to get the passes anyway and they were sold at O'Hare.. so we did.. and I was glad.  We were on the train zipping past cars that were moving very slowly if at all on the expressway beside us and we weren't in a cab that was charging us by the minute (or however they charge)

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
post #7 of 19

I don't have a clue where Bourdain would eat. He seems bent on finding the skeeziest dives in the midwest. The places he visited "in" Detroit and Ohio were a bad joke considering what is available. I used to enjoy AB but now I just think he's a snobby New Yorker that chain smokes, drinks like a fish and really doesn't like the midwest. I mean were talking about a guy that still brags about a place that was sooo freaking nasty it was shut down by the NY health department (Les Halles).

Chow Hound used to be a great web site before it was bought out by some over sized corporation and the Chi-town board was pretty darn good back in the day. Now ....meh. 

It would help a lot if you could give us a bit more succinct idea of what you are looking for.

Pizza? Steak, Sushi, etc.

 

I completely agree with Frontera. We always enjoy it there. It's hard to beat for authenticity fun and value.

Graham Elliot Bowles has his own place and it's well worth a visit. You may remember GEB if you ever ate at the Peninsula hotel downtown in the past. He has been on Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters.

The Blackbird.

David Burkes Prime House.

If you are going to give Chicago Pizza a try it helps to sort through the difference between deep dish and stuffed pie before you choose which establishment you want to try. There are a few iconic pizza legends down town.

Seriously it's long freakin list of great possibilities and you need to narrow the field before we can help much. Chicago is a foodies dream. 

Takashi always rates high on my list as well. 

Every ones different but downtown I would certainly opt for the cab. It's not expensive to get around down town. Many places you can walk.

I'll leave you with a few links.

 

http://www.grahamelliot.com/

 

http://www.takashichicago.com/restaurant/

 

http://www.davidburke.com/restaurant_primehouse.html

 

http://www.blackbirdrestaurant.com/

 

 

 

 

 

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckFat View Post

 I used to enjoy AB but now I just think he's a snobby New Yorker that chain smokes, drinks like a fish and really doesn't like the midwest. I mean were talking about a guy that still brags about a place that was sooo freaking nasty it was shut down by the NY health department (Les Halles).

 

 

 

 

 


Really??  I'm just about finished Kitchen Confidential and in it he makes no mention (well so far I'm on the last few chapters now) of Les Halles being shut down by the health dept.  That's pretty bad.  Was he working there at the time? 

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
post #9 of 19

Leeniek,

 

I have the book and it does not mention it. But here is a site that speaks of it (New York Post)

 

http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/item_6prrVOZIhVS0r1uVeCEoJO;jsessionid=101474902503BF2275BAF0A94DE4EA83

 

 

His other book "Nasty Bits"....was a bit of a let down. His latest " Medium Raw " is suppost to be out....I think. Wonder what that is like ?

 

Pierre , if you want to know where he ate, just google : Anthony Bourdain Chicago and voila....right down to deep dish.


Edited by petalsandcoco - 6/29/10 at 1:34pm

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #10 of 19

Thanks for the link, Petals it was an interesting read.  I've been enjoying Kitchen Confidential and I was thinking about buying Nasty Bits... but I think I might just reserve it at the library instead.  I saw Medium Raw on the shelves at the bookstore the other day... what I find interesting is they are in the cookbook section at Coles and they're not cookbooks... they're books about cooking.

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
post #11 of 19

I second Hot Doug's for a fun lunch.  Someone once wrote a long thread about it on this site.  Wait, it was me.  It's only open until 3:00 or 4:00.  Go on Friday or Saturday for the duck fat fries.

 

I also suggest Cafe Iberico on N. La Salle for tapas.  The specials menu always has some nice dishes.

 

Kevin

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeniek View Post




Really??  I'm just about finished Kitchen Confidential and in it he makes no mention (well so far I'm on the last few chapters now) of Les Halles being shut down by the health dept.  That's pretty bad.  Was he working there at the time? 


 Kitchen Confidential is 10 years old and most of it is about the 80's. While AB wasn't working there at the time he still plugs the place and has done a show there since they were shut down. The linked article was overly kind to Les Halles. The NY times article didn't offer excuses because frankly there are none. 

The establishment that AB patronized for Deep dish on the Chicago episode was not in Chicago. It was in Morton Grove. The show is not very accurate in regard to the places they visit being "in" the city the show claims. Many places they visit are in the "greater" area or in the burbs. One things for sure. You certainly don't need to travel from downtown Chicago to Morton Grove to get good pizza in Chicago as long as you like deep dish or stuffed pie.

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #13 of 19


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre View Post

I know that's a very broad question, so let me be more specific, where would Bourdain eat?

 

Not that I worship him, but for the sake of this question I am looking for smaller hole in the wall places that serve interesting, authentic, adventurous food that's very good. And really, nothing is off limits. Mystery meat on a stick, check, Organ meat, check, Dirty water dogs, check.

 

I know about Alinea, but that's not what I am looking for, for now.

 

I will be downtown for 2 week, without a car, so affordable cab distance is preferred.

 

Thanks


 

 

   If you're just looking for some smaller hole in the wall places there are certainly a few you can try.  Originally I thought your preference was for nothing off limits.

 

   You can travel around one of the Vietnamese areas in the 1100w Argyle St., I like PHO777.  But I would suggest eating at a couple places in neighborhoods like this.  Get a small bite at one restaurant and the another bite at the next one that suits your fancy.  This is really the way you can take in everything that the neighborhood has.

 

   There are many places you can go for Mexican areas in Chicago.  Pilsen is one of them...I would again try some food from a couple different places.  If you're there on a Saturday you can check out the Maxwell Street Market for some good Mexican street food.  I haven't been to Maxwell street market in years.  They've moved once again and the flea market has dwindled in quality over the years, but the vendors have always been quite good.  For whatever reason, if you find yourself in Brookfield stop in at Xni Pec, 3755 Grand, for some food from the Yucatan

 

  Little Italy isn't quite what it was years ago.  If you want a good example of Italian/American food I would head out to La Scarola, 721 W. Grand.  There's not much else there...but it's a good example of it's food.  Call ahead for reservations and you may have to make it an early dinner to get seated.  As the night goes on the place gets loud, full and you may end up seeing a celebrity sitting in the back corner on the bar side of the house.  Oh yeah, it's small and tight.

 

  Hmmm...you have Greek town...a couple nice Irish pubs.  Manny's for a NY style pastrami sand which is always nice.  David Burke's for their Kobe beef sashimi app ( and their dry aged steaks).  Fox and Obel for Iberico Bellota.  Garrets for Chicago mix popcorn.  One of the pizza joints for Chicago style pizza.  Carnaval is a fun place with moderate prices.  Frontera or Topolobampo is good (although I would just as easily eat the street food and smaller joints).  BBQ...hmmm....how about SmoqueBBQ (stay away from Carson's and the 1970's style Chicago BBq).  There is supposed to be some good soul food up there too (although I haven't been to any yet...though I will!).  If you're there on a Wednesday or Saturday you can travel to the Green City Market, although I'm sure you guys have numerous wonderful markets where you live, but still.  

 

 

  If you want something else...ask.  I'm sure someone will be along to offer a suggestion.  I'm going up there again today.  I think we may start at David Burke's, chat up the staff and ask for a suggestion for ONE (kick a$$)  food Item that we should seek out within three blocks.  Then do the same thing at the next place and see where it takes us.  I don't know???  but we'll eat some good food...from a lot of places.  We may even catch a little of the Cubs game (which reminds me...there's no hotdog as good as one from Wrigley Field.  The original Maxwell Street Station has closed, but there are many other locations you can get a Maxwell street polish sausage (order it with grilled onions and mustard).  You may even be able to buy a bag of socks there as well, lol.

 

 

   I had better end this or I'll keep going.......................

 

     have fun!

  dan

post #14 of 19

This is a loaded question because there are so many great places to eat in this city!

 

Here are a few of my favorites:

 

Gilt Bar (River North Neighborhood)

-Really great, simple yet elegant food done in an unpretentious atmosphere. Try the foie & pork liver on toast. Great cocktails as well!

 

North Pond (Lincoln Park)

-Five time James Beard award nominated Chef Bruce Sherman doing seasonal, farm-to-table food.

 

Twist (Lincoln Park/Lakeview)

-The best Tapas I have found in Chicago so far.

 

Old Town Social (Old Town)

-Amazing selection of house-made charcuterie and a huge beer list. Nuff said.

 

Chicagos Dog House (lincoln Park)

-Forget Hot Dougs, the place is overrated, never open, and there's sure to be a line when it is. Great selection of vienna beef hot dogs and specialty sausages. Try the smoked duck sausage with honey glazed pears.

 

Bari (Little Italy, I think?)

-Tiny little deli that does the BEST sub sandwiches on fresh bread from the bakery next door.

 

Coast (Bucktown/Logan Square)

-I am not a big fan of sushi, but this place is really great.

 

The Publican (West Loop)

-Meat, meat, meat, and more meat. Awesome house-made charcuterie, and a great selection of seafood as well.

 

Man, oh man. I realize this list can go on forever so I'm just going to cut it off here. All of these places are great and not at all touristy like some of the others I've seen on this thread.

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

    

 

post #15 of 19

+1 for Pulican.....exceptional beer list, food is incredible

 

Naha's bar menu....chef from Fronteria recommends the wings.

 

Xoco...."fast food" in the Fronteria, topolobamba family....actually same kitchen for all 3....they grind cacao beans for chocolate drinks, pig head sandwiches on changing menu, everything is top notch.

 

Hot Chocolate, Mindy makes good burgers and extrodinary desserts....bacon-chocolate chip cookie is really good.

 

The Green Market has really good prepared food....outstanding selection of farmers.... good call Gone fishin'.

 

cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #16 of 19

gonefishing......I completely agree with you on La Scarola. Probably the best Italian I've had in the city. Very authentic, family style feel.

 

Orsos (west loop), Angelina's (lakeview), Sayat Nova for some good Armenian (downtown) to name a few.

post #17 of 19

Bourdain came to chicago and did a show on it. He ate ate L20, Hot Doug's, Burt's pizza.

 

I would recommend:

 

Hot Doug's

Burt's Pizza

La Sardine or Le Bouchon.

The Publican.

 

Pegasus rooftop in Greektown.

 

Triple Crown in China Town for Dim Sum

Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #18 of 19

Ina's for breakfast or brunch.....man I love Ina's food.

cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the suggestions and info. Knowing the right places to eat will make 2 weeks of living in a hotel and having to work in the clients office all the more bearable.

 

I'll post my impressions in follow up replys.

 

Happy 4th all

pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
Reply
pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Chicago - Where to eat?