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Private Room - steakhouse?

I need to pick a steakhouse downtown (loop, river north, west loop) for a private event - about 50 for a sit down dinner. Room ambiance should allow for mingling and be separated from other patrons - more for their protection than ours, as our group will be loud. Highly preferable to have series of round tables seating 8-10 each vs a long rectangular setup. I've been to all the usual suspects for dinner and all are decent (its a steakhouse) but I haven't seen their private rooms and I'm trying to cut down my research visits.

Any suggestions?

Sep 06, 2013
deaddog in Chicago Area

Report on Rome over Christmas Week

Here is a quick rundown on the places in Rome we ate/drank at during Christmas week. If I could give just one piece of advice, it would be: get Katie Parla’s app and read her blog. Her write-ups were uniformly spot-on. Our only truly bad meals were at places she did not list.

So, in no particular order, with stream of consciousness notes:

FOOD

Antico Arco- dinner on Christmas. Initially stuck at a table in alcove. Asked to move and they were incredibly gracious, moving us to a central table in main room which was very cool space. Food was very good to excellent (cacio e pepe overly cheesy; fish bland; pigeon and veal wonderful), wine selection was excellent, and service was friendly and technically superb. Highly recommended

Nonna Betta- dinner on Christmas Eve. Super (touristy) friendly service. Food was very good. Lentil soup, cacio e pepe, tuna, and beef were all excellent.

La Taverna del Ghetto- lunch. Meh. Room depressing, service kind of surly, food edible, but just. NOT recommended

Roscioli – dinner, multiple cheese, meat and wine purchases from deli, multiple purchases from Forno. A must-go restaurant. Food was superb – pastas and fish particularly notable. Service was not “friendly” but nonetheless excellent and respectful. Forno was just around the corner from our apartment so we there daily for excellent bread – and the pizza rosso was fantastic. Can’t say enough good things about Roscioli and Roscioli Forno. Highly recommended.

Ai Marmi—dinner. Excellent pizza in the traditional style (crispy around the edges, softer in the middle). Sausage was superb. Very drinkable table wine, great atmosphere, tons of locals on a Sunday night.

Pallatium – lunch at wine bar/restaurant in touristy area by Spanish Steps. Surprisingly nice – great, airy modern room upstairs; good service (but no English); very good food and great wine by the glass with generous pour.

Trattoria Der Pallaro – “dinner” at the worst restaurant ever – seriously. This tourist trap was unbelievably bad – food inedible, room depressing, populated entirely by tourists – and the only wine I was served in Italy that was literally undrinkable. We were with a group of eight and the feeling was unanimous – laughably bad. NOT recommended.

313 Cavour – lunch at wine bar in Monti, very short walk from Colosseum. Recommended by our Colosseum guide so I was wary – but it was charming with very good food and superb wine by the glass. Turns out it is listed in Parla’s app – but we didn’t know that until afterwards.

Antica Enoteca- dinner. Food was barely edible, good wine selection, a tourist trap by the Spanish Steps (albeit a somewhat charming room).

Pizzarium – fantastic pizza by the slice at mobbed takeout. Quite different pizza than Ai Marmi – a bit thicker and more uniform with unusual toppings. All were excellent but, surprisingly, the plainest (margherita with extra spices?) was the best. No English spoken but hipster servers were nice and incredibly patient. Highly recommended.

De Teo – dinner at “locals” tratorria in south end of Trastevere. It was mobbed but we appeared to be only non-Italian speakers in the place for dinner Very friendly and helpful service, food was good to very good, wine list was excellent and reasonable – including ½ bottles which I thought was unusual but appreciated. Very enjoyable.

L'Asino d'OroMonti – lunch on a side street in Monti. Without regard to the price, one of the best meals we had in Rome. Charming, modern room, incredibly friendly waiter, superb food. Consider the price – 12 euros for three courses, an amuse, glass of wine and water – and it could be the best deal in Rome. Note that, for whatever reason, while we were there mid-afternoon they turned away a few Americans while letting in Italians – but they were super nice to us and nobody is mistaking us for Italians. Highly recommended.

DRINK

While we drank wine at every restaurant, we went to these places for drinks only, no food.

Open Baladin – beer bar. Dozens of beers on tap and probably 100 by the bottle. Went solo in the afternoon a couple of times and sat at the bar. Bartenders were very friendly and knew their beer. Went at night with a big group and place was mobbed - we had to wait to get in. Party atmosphere, younger hipster crowd, appeared to be mainly locals but very comfortable for our group of middle aged Americans. All beers were 5 euros, which is a good deal if you are getting a craft ale and probably not so good if you’re getting a Peroni or the like. Note that the burgers looked excellent (although we didn’t eat there). Highly recommended.

Cul de Sac – wine bar. Went solo in the afternoon. Sat outside. Great people watching on small piazza off of Navone, Great wine by the glass with a generous pour, service was bordering on surly but acceptable.

L’Angolo Divino – wine bar. Went solo in the afternoon. Wanted to like this place because the room was nice and the location was quiet yet super close to Campo. But the bartender/proprietor was super-surly, the by the glass selection was small and mediocre, and the pour was short. Not recommended (although I think it’s a Parla choice) .

GELATO

Gelateria del Teatro – not the one on Via di San Simone but the one south of Ponte Sisto on lungotevere dei tebaldi. Went there twice – fantastic gelato with nice people behind the counter.

Fior de Luna – In Travestere. Excellent.

Il Gelato di San Crispino – by the Trevi. Mediocre at best.
+++++++++++++++++++++
Happy to answer any questions about any of these places –just let me know.

Jan 05, 2013
deaddog in Italy

Christmas Eve dinner?

Thanks all. Anybody ever try Sheva in the ghetto?

Dec 21, 2012
deaddog in Italy

Christmas Eve dinner?

Great suggestion - just reserved Nonna Betta - thanks. Would you consider that the best/most consistent food and experience in the J. Ghetto? Any other place there likely to be bettter? And, understanding the irony, we prefer a place that is least touristy, with good food

thanks

Dec 19, 2012
deaddog in Italy

Christmas Eve dinner?

Thanks Elizabeth but, unfortunately, they are closed Christmas Eve (per the email they just sent me). Also, I was hoping for something a bit less expensive than 90Euros a head

Any other suggestions?

Dec 19, 2012
deaddog in Italy

Christmas Eve dinner?

Looking for a reasonably priced place for dinner christmas eve in Rome. Doing antico arco christmas day - looking for less expensive option for christmas eve.

Any suggestions? - need not be (and preferably not) fancy - just decent food. Unfortunately, most of the lists I've found of places open on the 24th are either extremely upscale/expensive joints or the extreme tourist traps.

thanks

Dec 18, 2012
deaddog in Italy

San Juan/Condado Area

I need recommendations for two dinners. Solo diner. Highest quality food (both ingredients and prep), the more "local" the better, fancy decor/service/attitude is a negative but I'd put up with it for food quality, walking distance from La Concha Hotel in Condado area. No real price limits.

And, at least one of the two places should have awesome mofungo!

BTW, I've searched around and haven't found anything too recent and/or on-point. Any help appreciated

thanks

Oct 07, 2010
deaddog in Latin America & Caribbean

Amsterdam for the single diner

I'm going to be in Amsterdam for two nights on my own. Looking for good to excellent food, and money is not a big deal. Nothing fancy though, and no dress code, as will be in jeans and t-shirt type attire. Sitting at the bar is a fine and preferred option. Indonesian, Thai, and local dutch focus but am open to suggestions. Jordaan area or close favored. Appreciate any suggestions?
Thanks

Jun 08, 2008
deaddog in International Archive

Pebble Beach area - 4 guys, not fancy

4 guys are golfing for a few days in PB. Looking for high quality food, nothing fancy (either food or decor) and reasonably priced (as we're spending all our money on greens' fees). Typical basic American fare (steaks, chicken, fish), probably not Mexican. We're thinking bar food at Jack London's in Carmel one night - any experiences there? Any other suggestions of high quality, reasonably priced basic food?
Thanks

Oct 24, 2007
deaddog in California

Yountville Help using Chicago as template

We have two nights in Yountville and are assuming we won't get into FL (pretty safe assumption since its within 60 days). Everything else is pretty wide open. We're staying in town and want to walk (to avoid the designated driver thing). So - Redd, Bouchon, Brix, Domaine, Mustards, Hurleys??? We're not too into frou-frou French or overly pretentious palaces of epicurean delight. To give you an idea of what we like at home in Chicago when we go upscale -- Spring is probably our favorite food/atmosphere and we also like Blackbird, Kevin and Vie. Not huge fans of Schwa, Les Nomades or Everest Room (despite the undeniable high quality of the food at all of them).

Anybody care to give recommendations, maybe even rankings, with commentary?

Thanks

(P.S. I'll probably be posting similar messages for SF proper and Mendocino shortly but I figured Yountiville will be the tougher reservations.)

May 28, 2007
deaddog in San Francisco Bay Area