Chicago restaurants

I am traveling to Chicago at the end of June, and so I'm looking to make dinner reservations now, in preparation. We are booked for The Publican one night, and a Greek resto called Taxim another. I would love to go to Girl & The Goat, although it seems to be too late. I have three nights left to fill, as well as a bunch of lunches. I'm looking to fellow Food52ers to point me in the right direction. The only requirement is that the food is stellar, and they take reservations. Thanks in advance!

Cristina Sciarra


Cristina S. June 28, 2012
I just wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions! In the end, we went to:

- The Publican (Good service, but spotty food. The rillettes with strawberries and the waffle are not to be missed though.)
- Cafe Spiaggia (We went for lunch, split a pizza, pasta and a poached egg something or other to happy results.)
- The Girl & The Goat (everything was so rich and savory, even the desserts.)
- Big Star (The tacos were cheap and flavorful. The drinks weren't too bad either.)
- Ada Street (In the middle of nowhere. Not very good service, but very tasty small plates.)
- The Violet Hour (for 'secret', super delicious drinks)
- Slurping Turtle (for noodles. Good, not great.)
- The Bristol (Our waiter was distractingly enthusiastic, but the food was quality. I particularly liked the raviolo and the basque cake.)
- Floriole (for breakfast. I wish I could have taken a spoon to their display case.)

Food tourism! You Chicagoans live in a very toothsome city.
ChefJune May 24, 2012
Oh and I forgot Reza's on Clark Street (in Andersonville) for the Duck Fessendjan.
MTMitchell May 24, 2012
I second Avec -- the brandade is delicious, as is the other food. And yeah, what pierino said about Chicago-style pizza. It's not my favorite (I'm not a native Chicagoan), but it's an experience. I like the one at Lou Malnati's -- it's heavy, though, so it might be an ambitious lunch depending on what else you have planned for the day! I've also heard that Terzo Piano (sp?) at the Modern Wing at the Art Institute does a lovely lunch, and you could kill two birds with one stone and see the Art Institute at the same time. Also in Andersonville there's a place called the Hopleaf. it's a Belgian bar/restaurant, and it has an insane beer list and incredible food (mussels, interesting sandwiches, meat). No reservations are accepted, and it can get super-crowded, so I'd go on the early side. The garden is probably open, though.
ATG117 May 24, 2012
I've heard some not great reviews about Girl and the Goat, despite the hype. I would second the Rick Bayless suggestions.
Shaelyn,Clements May 23, 2012
I'll add Maude's Liquor Bar and Balena to the list as well!
ChefJune May 24, 2012
The food is wonderful at Avec, but I have never been inside a louder restaurant. Not even Notre Dame stadium after a touchdown is louder!
Shaelyn,Clements May 23, 2012
You can go to Girl and the Goat and get the entire dinner menu in the bar area! It's wonderful, highly recommend and it's fine without a reservation.

Also would highly recommend Avec (no reservations).
pierino May 23, 2012
My Chicago pals HATE deep dish pizza (I do too) and insist that it's not the real Chicago pizza, but tourists seem to like it. Deep dish is more of a casserole than a pizza. But it is a great town for food, period stop.
ChefJune May 24, 2012
Deep dish pizza IS real Chicago pizza, but so is cracker like crust pizza, and also the in-between crust pizza. The sausage pizza at Uno's is still the stuff dreams are made of. At least it was last time I had it. And I make it at least once a year during football season.
keel May 24, 2012
I love a nice buttery crust with sausage and cheese. Yum!
ChefJune May 23, 2012
Lots of "must eat" places in my home town these days. I always stop in at Bin 36 - casual fine dining with outstanding wine and cheese programs. In the area of Foster and Kedzie is the stellar Tre Kronor. They don't take ressies for brunch but you can make one for dinner. Their trout is so good I drool at the thought. and at brunch they make their own sweet rolls (in East Coast speak that would be "Danish.") If you love Thai and can do a splurge, Arun's is really special. His red curry is the stuff of dreams. There are more...
keel May 23, 2012
I love Table 52! The chef is Art Smith and the food is southern style so it can be a little heavy but really great! Although you cannot get reservations, the Purple Pig is amazing and worh the effort. Try it for lunch if you don't want the sinner crowd. Mercadito has really great margaritas, tacos and salsas.

As for pizza, the two best are Giordanos for deep dish and Lou Malnati's for regular, in my opinion of course.

Don't forget to try the popcorn at Garrett's. You won't be disappointed!
em-i-lis May 23, 2012
Hi! Sounds like you're on a great track for a fabulous eating vacation!! If you find yourself up in Evanston, check out the Blind Faith Cafe. It's a vegan spot and is fabulous. I'm not vegan and love eating there! Also in Evanston is Walker Brothers Pancake House- the 49ers are to die for. It's near the Purple Line (I think that's right) if you take the El. Actually, Blind Faith is right off the El too!
Also, you must try deep-dish Chicago style pizza. It is heavy and fattening and not particularly high brow or anything, but the stuffed spinach pie at Giordano's is really out of this world.
futurechefHotline May 22, 2012
Idiot. Go to Alinea. Get on your phone at 8 amJune first and get your ass in there. It's a once in a life time opportunity. At least try for the aviary when you are there (no reservations). Rick bay less. Girl in the goat. Saveur had some guy with his pizza on the cover about a year and a half ago from a Chicago suburb. It's sort of a hole in the wall from what I remember but so... Worth it. Rick bayless places. Moto. Charlie trotter.
MTMitchell May 22, 2012
The pizza guy is in Andersonville. Great Lakes Pizza or something. It's ok if you're willing to wait. Trotter's might be tough to get given the timing of its closing but it's definitely worth a try.
pierino May 23, 2012
Alinea is great (and expensive) if you are not already totally over immersed in molecular gastronomy. Chicago is still hog butcher to the nation. You can find really good pork. Which takes us back to Purple Pig...
pierino May 22, 2012
Chicago is just about my favorite city in N. America. Purple Pig on N. Michigan Avenue is very, very good. Reservations? Well you might have to arm wrestle with someone for a seat at the communal table. It's worth it.

I have to mention Hot Doug's on Chicago's north side. Okay it's a hot dog place, but with serious charcuterie going on. They describe it as an "emporium of encased meats". Seriously good eats but you have to wait in line like everyone else.

The Rick Bayless restaurants are great and they do take reservations (sometimes).

I also like Shaw's Crabhouse on Hubbard too. They honor reservations when they feel like it.
cthewrld May 22, 2012
I highly recommend the following for dinners:

Roka Akor
C House
Sable Kitchen and Bar
David Burke Primehouse
Cafe Ba Ba Reeba

All different, and all great. You will love Publican.

For lunch - The Purple Pig
Wine Bar - disotto enoteca

Way too many choices in Chicago.

Summer O. May 22, 2012
MK Kitchen.
MTMitchell May 22, 2012
Bistro 110 closed. My friends and I went to Girl and the Goat and it was fantastic. We had an early reservation and it worked out fine (great service too). West Town Tavern on Chicago is always good -- very laid back, great food, great service. Mercat a la Planxa is really good too, as are Frontera Grill and Topolobampo (Rick Bayless' places). I've always had great meals at Naha. Everyone has been raving about Next but I'm not sure what the getting-tickets situation is like.
pierino May 22, 2012
Mercat a la Planxa in the Blackstone Hotel is quite good. Al Capone used to get his hair cut in the building.
Aightball May 22, 2012
Look into Bistro 110 (it's been a few years, mind)...they're food was great! I don't know if they take reservations (we just dropped in). Also, if you're okay with a 'last minute', unreserved idea, check into UNO (I think it was called). It's a pizza joint and it's amazing. I wish I could think of the other places I've eaten there, as one was truly fantastic (also dealt fine with food allergies). If I describe it, maybe someone can supply a name: it was up a long flight of stairs, very bright inside, walls were 'gold' colored. Very relaxed atmosphere, offers "vegetables as a meal" for one option. I know that's not much, but if I think of the name, I'll get back to you.
allans May 22, 2012
My latest favorite is Owen & Engine in Logan Square. English Pub food at its best, a phenomenal beer selection, fantastic fish & chips and a great burger. Ask Ryan to be your server and tell him I sent you.
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