Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

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musselpoint
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Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by musselpoint » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:40 pm

I'm planning a birthday weekend in the Windy City for my partner's 60th in March. Seeking recommendations for non-touristy, not overly formal but 'special' dining options for a celebratory meal. Alinea or any other degustation experience is not on the cards (I'd love it for my birthday, but I feel compelled to place his preferences ahead of mine :wink:).

We're open to any ideas except for sushi (we eat it too often) or pizza. An elegant ethnic cuisine (Greek? Indonesian? etc...?) would be great. It could even be an expense account restaurant if it offered a more casual lunch/brunch (any jazz brunches of note in Chicago?). I've had memorable meals at Blackhawk (RIP) which would be the perfect tone if my memory serves me well, and Spiaggia, which was super but I suspect too formal for dinner.

Anything within a reasonable Uber or CTA from downtown (ie not Evanston) is acceptable. The ability to amble after the meal to a jazz, blues or comedy club would be a definite plus. Good drinks, but we're not into desserts. One option for our weekend is this https://www.thechicagobeerfestival.com/ - help me find an equally if not more compelling suggestion for us both.

maggsmaggs
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by maggsmaggs » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:50 pm

My wife and I have had dinner at Sapori Trattoria (https://www.saporitrattoria.net/) followed by live blues at Kingston Mines (https://kingstonmines.com). Both on Halsted in Lincoln Park and an easy walk.

Alternatively, there are tons of restaurants in Old Town all within walking distance of Zanies and Second City if you want comedy. Spots my wife and I like in Old Town are Orso's, The Vig and Topo Gigio.

Topic Author
musselpoint
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by musselpoint » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:55 pm

Thanks, maggsmaggs. Old Town is a good idea, I'll look into the restaurants you suggest. We'd probably have to pre-book Second City (and have been there several times). Have not been to Zanies, or Kingston Mines for that matter. Appreciate your input!

B3GINN3R
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by B3GINN3R » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:58 pm

Le Colonial is amazing. Also Tzuco if you can get in.

FoolMeOnce
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by FoolMeOnce » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:59 pm

Downtown: River Roast (ask for a table by the window - right on the river). Ema (Mediterranean)

West Loop: Girl and the Goat. Bad Hunter (veg forward).

Lincoln Park: Galit (Mediterranean) (good luck getting reservations. Look now).

Hyde Park: Virtue (southern)

Northwest side: Parachute (Korean).

List of best 2019 openings: https://chicago.eater.com/2019/12/26/21 ... rants-2019

List of 38 best recs: https://chicago.eater.com/maps/38-best- ... in-chicago
Last edited by FoolMeOnce on Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

metacritic
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by metacritic » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:01 pm

Roister,
Mi Tocoya Antojeria
Frontera Grill
Publican

Topic Author
musselpoint
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by musselpoint » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:08 pm

Fantastic suggestions, keep 'em coming. A restaurant like Galit, that I wouldn't have heard of otherwise, is precisely why I asked on this forum. Cheers :)

mw1739
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by mw1739 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:11 pm

I enjoy the not overly formal RPM Italian or RPM Steak restaurants, or as another poster noted, Publican and Frontera Grill (or any other Bayless restaurant).

Bb073084
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by Bb073084 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:21 pm

Gibson’s Italia
Le Colonial
The Aviary
Nomi

Lots of good choices though

FoolMeOnce
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by FoolMeOnce » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:27 pm

If you are big meat eaters, it is hard to top Publican.

Coolguy8877
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by Coolguy8877 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:40 pm

Longman & Eagle
Cellar Door Provisions
Giant
Wherewithall

lazydavid
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:42 pm

Cabra (Peruvian)
Either of Stephanie Izard's restaurants--Girl and the Goat (gastropub) or Duck Duck Goat (Chinese)
Either of Rick Bayless' sitdown restaurants (Mexican)--Frontera Grill has already been mentioned, but Topolobampo (next door) is more special.
Prime & Provisions (Steak)
The Publican (gastropub)
Momotaro (Japanese)
Athena (Greek)
Big Jones (Southern)
Giant (Midwestern)
House of Blues also does their Gospel Brunch on Sundays. Not really a "Birthday meal" by any stretch, but could be fun as an addition to the trip.

For Jazz, Andy's in River North is the old standby, but I've recently discovered and really enjoy Winter's Jazz Club in Streeterville. Small club with a total of 90 seats in the listening room, tends to focus on singers a little more than just bands. Really nice room.

My overall favorite spot in the city for music though is the Redhead Piano Bar on Ontario.

bob60014
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by bob60014 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:47 pm

As you mentioned jazz, Bandera on Michigan has live jazz nightly. If still in the mood for jazz afterwards, walk east about a half mile to Winters Jazz Club. It's a bit hidden along the River East Art Center Promenade but it's a small venue and has some good musicans.


https://banderarestaurants.com/locations/chicago/#

https://www.wintersjazzclub.com/

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:52 pm

What kind of expense account do you have? My company-paid meals had to comply with GSA rates, no alcohol reimbursed.

Topic Author
musselpoint
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by musselpoint » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:06 pm

Jazz club recommendations are greatly appreciated - we don't get much exposure to excellent jazz players in small clubs here in Western NC. Also, I see Galit is close to B.L.U.E.S - we've had a raucous time there. Gospel brunch? Sign me up, perfect before heading out to ORD.

I haven't had an expense account since the halcyon days of Big Corporate in the late 90s. I'm guessing many companies have tightened up since then. It sure was fun at the time.


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AJTrenkle
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by AJTrenkle » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:34 pm

Green Mill for Jazz. Kind of legendary. Quite a few restaurants in the near vicinity in Andersonville. But I would probably take a quick cab or ride share. The stretch on Clark in Andersonville has a lot of options and the restaurants in nearby Lincoln Square also good. Maybe peruse some pictures on Yelp to see what looks interesting.

I love Publican and Girl n the Goat as many have mentioned.

njdealguy
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by njdealguy » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:26 pm

Alinea! Would qualify as BEYOND most acceptable expense accounts, but food sooo good.


Murgatroyd
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by Murgatroyd » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:57 pm

Some good choices given. Another is Trattoria No. 10. It’s an old style Italian in the basement of an older office building. Have enjoyed some special meals there.


http://www.trattoriaten.com/

Carson
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by Carson » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:27 pm

I don't have any great suggestions, but it is my Boglehead-ian duty to inform any Chicago readers that Restaurant Week is coming - unfortunately earlier than the OP needs, but a good time for all. There are some places that are amazing deals during this time. :beer

https://www.choosechicago.com/chicago-r ... staurants/
30-something personal finance enthusiast, just get getting started on this whole portfolio thing.

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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by SchruteB&B » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:29 pm

njdealguy wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:26 pm
Alinea! Would qualify as BEYOND most acceptable expense accounts, but food sooo good.
Didn’t OP specifically say NOT Alinea in his first post?

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whodidntante
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by whodidntante » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:36 pm

musselpoint wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:06 pm
Jazz club recommendations are greatly appreciated - we don't get much exposure to excellent jazz players in small clubs here in Western NC. Also, I see Galit is close to B.L.U.E.S - we've had a raucous time there. Gospel brunch? Sign me up, perfect before heading out to ORD.

I haven't had an expense account since the halcyon days of Big Corporate in the late 90s. I'm guessing many companies have tightened up since then. It sure was fun at the time.
I like this place. Big band night, specifically.
http://www.fitzgeraldsnightclub.com/

KyleAAA
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by KyleAAA » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:41 pm

Girl and the Goat
Au Cheval
Galit
Ba Ba Reeba
Anything in west loop, really

sfmdk240
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by sfmdk240 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:31 pm

In addition to all the places people mentioned above:

Moody Tongue (Pilsen) - get the tasting menu (separate reservation from the bar part of the restaurant). It’s superb and each course is paired with one of their beers. They specialize in saisons and sours but also have several darker beers paired with the later courses.

Boka (Lincoln Park) - another great place for a tasting menu.

Taxim (wicker park/Logan square) - delicious Greek food. I ate here last weekend for the first time and was pleased.

NewPhoneWhoDis
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by NewPhoneWhoDis » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:12 am

GT Fish & Oyster

dcdowden
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by dcdowden » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:55 am

We have enjoyed Ricardo Trattoria in Lincoln Park on Clark for birthdays in the past.
Also, we enjoyed Greek Islands in Greektown for a recent birthday with our 4 year old grandson who loves gyros. They treated us very well and the food was great.
Enjoy!

MP173
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by MP173 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:49 pm

Lots of great restaurants in the city.

Our favorite for Italian is La Scarola at Grand and Halstead.

ed

mak1277
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by mak1277 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:53 pm

How has this thread made it so far without recommending:

Purple Pig
Topolobampo / Frontera Grill

Hopeandaprayer
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by Hopeandaprayer » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:55 pm

I like Nonnina. Just north of the loop on Clark St.

Capsu78
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by Capsu78 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:04 pm

Chicago Chop House is a very dependable Steak house setting and right next door is the Redhead Piano Bar, so this is a nice one stop recommendation.
theredheadpianobar.com

apex84
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by apex84 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:07 pm

A few places we like. Not just for the dinner, but in case you need a quick bite.

Nomi (really 3 places: sushi bar, lounge menu, and fine dining with a nice view)
Blackbird or Avec (any One Off Hospitality place is good)
Nico Osteria
GT Fish & Oyster
Clever Rabbit
Xoco or Cruz Blanca (we like these more than Topolobampo or Lena Brava, still haven't been to Frontera Grill)
Dorite donuts - great chicken sandwich & doughnuts
Antique Taco
QXY Dumplings
Mercat a la planxa

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QuentinCrisp
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by QuentinCrisp » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:26 pm

Three suggestions in order of preference: (1) Yoshi's Cafe (french-asian fusion) in lakeview. (2) Antico (italian) in bucktown. (3) Chez Joel (french bistro) in little italy. You can thank me later.
- Quentin

acp03
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by acp03 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:13 pm

Since you mentioned ethnic, here's a few you can't go wrong with either:

- Le Colonial
- Aba
- Galit
- Rooh
- Vajra

Enjoy!

michaeljc70
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:19 pm

Coolguy8877 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:40 pm
Longman & Eagle
Cellar Door Provisions
Giant
Wherewithall
I loved Wherewithall. I think it was around $65 for 5 or so courses without drinks. I took a friend for a birthday. It is not that close to downtown but not that far. Maybe 5-6 miles. Not real close to a train line. It is owned by the people that own Parachute which someone else suggested. Also a good choice.

I love the ambience at Bavette's, but not cheap.

RPM Italian is beautiful. Not cheap, but not crazy expensive.

I like Banderas, it is a "chain" (4 locations) but as the other poster mentioned, they have live music. You go up an ugly escalator past the Men's Wearhouse but it is a nice ambience inside.

Other places I like that have been mentioned are the Purple Pig.

Mon Ami Gabi in Lincoln Park is nice across from the zoo and not too expensive.

Maybe not for a dinner (limited hours and menu), but the 3 Arts Cafe in Restoration Hardware in the Gold Coast is stunning. The building and restoration are something to be seen.

There are literally thousands of restaurants in Chicago. I think if you want to think a little outside the box you can go to Bucktown/Wicker Park/Logan Square/etc. instead of River North, the Loop, West Loop.
Last edited by michaeljc70 on Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

abonder
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by abonder » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:27 pm

lightnoise wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:33 pm
Piccolo Sogno for Italian

https://www.piccolosognorestaurant.com/
I second this recommendation. I recall it being tasty and fairly reasonable. The patio is wonderful if the weather permits.

poker27
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by poker27 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:22 pm

I think we need some more guidance based on cuisines.

For special occasions, my vote would be for Maple and Ash. Best steakhouse in the city, pasta and sides are stupid good, and the ambiance is one of a kind. Certainly not my kind of weekly place, but great for a special occasion.

lazydavid
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by lazydavid » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:45 am

mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:53 pm
How has this thread made it so far without recommending:

Topolobampo / Frontera Grill
it didn't:
metacritic wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:01 pm
Frontera Grill
mw1739 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:11 pm
Frontera Grill (or any other Bayless restaurant).
lazydavid wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:42 pm
Either of Rick Bayless' sitdown restaurants (Mexican)--Frontera Grill has already been mentioned, but Topolobampo (next door) is more special.
I've heard good things about Purple Pig, but haven't been myself, so wasn't going to blindly recommend it.

HoosierJim
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by HoosierJim » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:36 am

We like Greek Islands in Greek town. Great food, diverse menu, and always great service. You can get in and out quick or linger as long as you want. More info here.

Good central location, valet parking or street metered parking (get the app)

mak1277
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by mak1277 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:48 am

lazydavid wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:45 am
mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:53 pm
How has this thread made it so far without recommending:

Topolobampo / Frontera Grill
it didn't:
metacritic wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:01 pm
Frontera Grill
mw1739 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:11 pm
Frontera Grill (or any other Bayless restaurant).
lazydavid wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:42 pm
Either of Rick Bayless' sitdown restaurants (Mexican)--Frontera Grill has already been mentioned, but Topolobampo (next door) is more special.
I've heard good things about Purple Pig, but haven't been myself, so wasn't going to blindly recommend it.
Weird that I missed the Frontera posts.

Purple Pig is amazing. The fried pig's ear dish I had there is one of the best things I've ever eaten. No reservations though (at least back when I went), so you have to hustle or wait.

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musselpoint
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by musselpoint » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:03 am

Unfortunately Alinea would be lost on Big Al and although I eagerly scrutinized the Topolobampo tasting menu, the experience might try his patience. I'll definitely look into the Greektown suggestions - I've had many enjoyable meals there but nothing yet as 'special' as befitting the occasion. The Publican sounds fantastic. The Green Mill is also on the list (I've been, he hasn't) so I will look into establishments around that neighborhood.

Clearly, we have some prioritizing to do with two evenings in the city. I'd like to make a trip sometime for Restaurant Week. Asheville's is next week and we are looking forward to https://vivianavl.com/

Chadnudj
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by Chadnudj » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:09 am

musselpoint wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:40 pm
I'm planning a birthday weekend in the Windy City for my partner's 60th in March. Seeking recommendations for non-touristy, not overly formal but 'special' dining options for a celebratory meal. Alinea or any other degustation experience is not on the cards (I'd love it for my birthday, but I feel compelled to place his preferences ahead of mine :wink:).

We're open to any ideas except for sushi (we eat it too often) or pizza. An elegant ethnic cuisine (Greek? Indonesian? etc...?) would be great. It could even be an expense account restaurant if it offered a more casual lunch/brunch (any jazz brunches of note in Chicago?). I've had memorable meals at Blackhawk (RIP) which would be the perfect tone if my memory serves me well, and Spiaggia, which was super but I suspect too formal for dinner.

Anything within a reasonable Uber or CTA from downtown (ie not Evanston) is acceptable. The ability to amble after the meal to a jazz, blues or comedy club would be a definite plus. Good drinks, but we're not into desserts. One option for our weekend is this https://www.thechicagobeerfestival.com/ - help me find an equally if not more compelling suggestion for us both.

Giant. Best food in the city (shared small plates so you can try a lot with amazing flavors that are totally unique), totally reasonably priced, and very cool. (Whoever called it Midwestern food above is sadly very mistaken)

Sappori Trattoria is another decent recommendation made earlier, which is also walking distance to Kingston Mines -- an excellent blues club with two separate stages/bars (so that when one band stops playing on one stage, you go to the other room and a different band starts). There's typically a cover, but it's awesome.

For brunch, it's not crazy pricy but doable -- North Pond. Cool architecture (it's art deco/Frank Lloyd Wright-esque), right in Lincoln Park on the pond, and phenomenal food. Dinner there too is great, but pricier.
Last edited by Chadnudj on Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

Chadnudj
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by Chadnudj » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:13 am

musselpoint wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:03 am
Unfortunately Alinea would be lost on Big Al and although I eagerly scrutinized the Topolobampo tasting menu, the experience might try his patience. I'll definitely look into the Greektown suggestions - I've had many enjoyable meals there but nothing yet as 'special' as befitting the occasion. The Publican sounds fantastic. The Green Mill is also on the list (I've been, he hasn't) so I will look into establishments around that neighborhood.

Clearly, we have some prioritizing to do with two evenings in the city. I'd like to make a trip sometime for Restaurant Week. Asheville's is next week and we are looking forward to https://vivianavl.com/
It's a little adventurous/out there for a birthday meal, but there's a GREAT Ethiopian restaurant almost directly across from the Green Mill: Demera Restaurant.

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musselpoint
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by musselpoint » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:36 am

For brunch, it's not crazy pricy but doable -- North Pond. Cool architecture (it's art deco/Frank Lloyd Wright-esque), right in Lincoln Park on the pond, and phenomenal food. Dinner there too is great, but pricier.
We are Frank Lloyd Wright/20th c. architecture groupies - I'll look into it!
It's a little adventurous/out there for a birthday meal, but there's a GREAT Ethiopian restaurant almost directly across from the Green Mill: Demera Restaurant.
I would be all the way into that but he's a little freaked out by lack of utensils. It could be our more 'casual' evening of the two.

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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by lazydavid » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:40 am

Chadnudj wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:09 am
Giant. Best food in the city (shared small plates so you can try a lot with amazing flavors that are totally unique), totally reasonably priced, and very cool. (Whoever called it Midwestern food above is sadly very mistaken)
That was me, I remember it being amazing, but not the specific dishes I had. You might want to let them know to change the official description of their restaurant, because this is what they have registered:
Giant offers a menu of simple, unpretentious Midwestern fare created by Chefs Jason Vincent and Ben Lustbader, with classic cocktails by Josh Perlman.
Ben Lustbader also has a similar heading above an article that he wrote himself for the Illinois Restaurant Association:
After working in some of the best kitchens in Chicago, Chef Ben Lustbader teamed up with Chef Jason Vincent and Josh Perlman to open Giant in Chicago’s Logan Square, which launched in July 2016. Together in the kitchen, Ben and Jason create an ever-changing menu featuring unpretentious, Midwestern fare. Their work has been praised both locally and nationally, including earning the coveted #6 spot on Bon Appetit magazine’s “Best New Restaurants” list. This summer, Ben and the Giant team will open their next venture, Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar, in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood.

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Prokofiev
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by Prokofiev » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:52 am

musselpoint wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:03 am
I eagerly scrutinized the Topolobampo tasting menu . . .
I love Rick Bayless food. Not sure what the secret is (salt + oil?) but it is delicious. Don't be afraid of Topolobampo. It is excellent and much better than sitting on the Frontera Grill side (they are the same place).

But if you go to Macy's on State street (old Marshall Field's), there is a food court on the 7th floor with a Rick Bayless Fresco outlet open from 11am to 3pm. Try the tortilla soup, poblano-corn chowder and a wild mushroom quesadilla or whatever strikes your fancy. Lunch for 2 is about $20. A basic, but very cheap way to check-out his food. Plus you really should see this building. They do give tours.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler - Einstein

welx23
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by welx23 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:12 pm

A few other posters have said, but Giant. Hands down. So inventive and never a bad dish. Rosa's Lounge is down the street if you want jazz music, or there is a new wine bar (Outdoor Voices) and wonderful, cozy cocktail bar (Scofflaw) right in the vicinity.

If you don't want Logan Square -- which is a bit edgy -- a few other ideas are:
- North Pond
- RPM Italian (or Steak)
- S.K.Y. in Pilsen
- Girl and the Goat

Oh, and if you decide to go with music at the Green Mill, check out the Beijing duck at Sun Wah. Reserve ahead, but it. is. amazing.

Annabel Lee
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Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by Annabel Lee » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:22 pm

Capsu78 wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:04 pm
Chicago Chop House is a very dependable Steak house setting and right next door is the Redhead Piano Bar, so this is a nice one stop recommendation.
theredheadpianobar.com
There are many outstanding recommendations in this thread. This is not one of them.

The clientele at the Chop House is almost exclusively tourists, almost exclusively sent here by concierges at large, bland hotels who have been paid off by the restaurant. It’s excruciatingly overpriced and tries way too hard without ever coming close to authentic. Avoid at all costs especially with so many great steakhouses (and other restaurants) in the city.

Edited to add: I suppose I’ll add a few favorites & second votes for places mentioned upthread — Avec, Blackbird, Piccolo Sogno, Chicago Cut, The Publican, Duck Duck Goat and La Sirena Clandestina off the top of my head. Good luck & have fun!
Last edited by Annabel Lee on Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

supalong52
Posts: 182
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by supalong52 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:24 pm

When we visited CHI town a few years ago, we found the food (even at high end places) really, really salty. Anyone else have that experience, or did we just have bad luck?

FoolMeOnce
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Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:16 am

Re: Chicago 'special occasion' but not 'expense account' restaurant recommendations?

Post by FoolMeOnce » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:44 pm

musselpoint wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:36 am
For brunch, it's not crazy pricy but doable -- North Pond. Cool architecture (it's art deco/Frank Lloyd Wright-esque), right in Lincoln Park on the pond, and phenomenal food. Dinner there too is great, but pricier.
We are Frank Lloyd Wright/20th c. architecture groupies - I'll look into it!
It's a little adventurous/out there for a birthday meal, but there's a GREAT Ethiopian restaurant almost directly across from the Green Mill: Demera Restaurant.
I would be all the way into that but he's a little freaked out by lack of utensils. It could be our more 'casual' evening of the two.
We prefer Ethiopian Diamond to Demera, a bit up the road. Both are good. You can always ask for some forks.

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