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SuzMiCo's Profile

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Where to go for Italian on the Northside?

Orso's has beautiful outdoor seating, but the only food I've had there that I've enjoyed have been the pizzas.

Trattoria Roma is has a nice, relaxed atmosphere. The service is always friendly, but inconsistent in how quickly they take your order, etc. The food there is middle of the road Italian, good but not great. I'm a big fan of their mushroom ravioli, though. Oh, and they have valet parking.

Jul 20, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Outdoor dining for special occasions

Boka has a beautiful outdoor garden and is wonderful for a special occasion.

Also, I've never eaten there because it is sooo expensive, but Il Mulino has great outdoor space. I've heard good things about their food.

Jun 19, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Lunch at nicer restaurants

Some great restaurants open for lunch include:

- Naha - contemporary American with Mediterranean influences
- Coco Pazzo - Italian
- Blackbird
- Catch 35 - seafood
- Vermillion - Latin/Indian fusion

Jun 04, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

small plates & cozy atmosphere for a fri. solo diner?

Also, if you are dining at the bar, A Mano has great happy hour deals on food. I'm a big fan of the $5 pizzas at happy hour.

Jun 03, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Green City Market

I can't speak for Wednesdays, but on Saturdays you would definitely be able to get lunch. There are sandwiches, crepes, several bakeries (some of which offer items like slices of quiche), and, if you get there early enough, slices of pie (which is maybe not the healthiest lunch, but one of my favorite farmers' market lunches nonetheless).

May 29, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Help! Mission: Brunch

Thanks nsxtasy. We ended up getting breakfast/lunch (they don't officially serve brunch, but they told us we could order off the breakfast menu, even though they weren't officially serving it anymore at the Ritz Carleton.

I would not have picked the Ritz, but we had a lovely meal. The highlight was a smores dessert we all shared - fantastic. It was some form of chocolate mousse with graham cracker crust and lovely, perfectly browned marshmallow on top. What made this really special was the great, smoky chickory nut ice cream that came with it.

May 18, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Help! Mission: Brunch

Hi All,

I need to find a restaurant for a brunch tomorrow (Saturday) for a very difficult group of people that meets the following requirements:

- Takes reservations (no Orange, Bongo Room, etc.)
- Is located the Loop, River North, Gold Coast or Old Town. West Loop or South Loop might be OK.
- Is not a huge, fancy, all-you can eat affair (no NoMi)
- Is not ethnic (no Frontera or Salpicon)

We had reservations for Sola, but people decided that the location was inconvenient.

Please let me know if you have any ideas, I'm out.


May 16, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Best Bites in the City

FYI - Michael is about 20 miles north of downtown, so it wouldn't be conducive to inclusion in a walking tour.

May 14, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Thai Urban Kitchen in Ogilvie Center

I haven't been to Thai Urban Kitchen, but when I worked in the Ogilvie Center several years ago (before TUK) there was a decent Thai place in Presidential Towers that would fit your description.

Also, what about going to Lou Mitchell's a few blocks south.

If you are willing to go just west of the Kennedy, you have all of Greektown to choose from.

May 14, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Thai Urban Kitchen in Ogilvie Center

Thai Urban Kitchen is west of the river. Did you mean east?

May 14, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Best Bites in the City

Ooh, what a fun idea.

There are many wonderful places that are scattered far and wide in the city. There are a few different areas that have good concentrations of excellent food to try. I'm most familiar with the loop/river north areas, so I put in my two cents there. Unfortunately, that is not the best place for ethnic eats. I will leave it to others to cover wicker park/bucktown, andersonville, and other food-rich areas.

Loop/River North - starting south and moving North
- Baba Ghanouj at Oasis Cafe - pretty much everything is good at this Middle Eastern gem hidden in the Wabash Jewelery Mall, but the baba ghanouj is the best I've had.
- Frango ice cream at Macy's (7th floor at the Frango Cafe) - one of the few remnants of Marshall Fields (our former beloved department store) that Macy's hasn't screwed up.
- Risotto or Gnocchi at Coco Pazzo - all of the coco pazzo pastas are wonderful, but I love their Gnocchi and most of their risottos (they do a risotto of the day, usually wonderful, but I've had a couple bad ones). Their pastas are also offered in convenient appetizer-sized portions.
- anything at Naha - stop into Naha and get a wonderful appetizer (or split an entree). This is one of my favorite restaurants in the city, and worth stopping in.
- Chocolate chip cookie from Nordstrom Cafe - the best cookie in the city.
- Chicago-style hot dog from Portillo's - not the best Chicago-style dog in the city, but this is a good one in a good location for your trek.

Old Town - If you keep walking north about 2 miles, you will reach Old Town. There is a strip of fun restaurants on Wells. On this strip:
- Tabouli at Old Jerusalem - the tabouli here is great. The rest of their food good or very good.
- Guacamole and margarita at Adobo Grill
- Chocolate chip banana bread at Breadsmith - it's a chain, but the chocolate chip banana bread is awesome.

May 14, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Show some mercy to this Chicago visitor

I second the rec for Oasis (which has now returned to its original location in the Wabash Jewelry Mall).

Also, I love Spa Cafe. There are a lot of good options in the Macy's food court (the one on the seventh floor).

May 04, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Vegetarian and Carnivore in town - need rec

I went to Sushi Samba Rio with a vegetarian. He liked what he ordered, but there were not many options for him on their (very large) menu.

Apr 29, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Need Suggestions for Evanston Area

I would imagine that all the restaurants in Evanston will be packed during graduation weekend. If you want to leave Evanston, there are a couple of lovely small restaurants in Winnetka (about 20 minutes north of Evanston) that I think would meet your criteria:

- O'Neils - this has been a favorite of mine for years. The menu isn't particularly adventurous, but the food is really good. It is not overly noisy and they have room for a crowd of 8-10 people.
- Frank & Betsy's - across the street from O'Neils is very small, but I bet they could handle 8-10 people. French food, usually very good, but a little bit hit or miss. They are very friendly.

Apr 29, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Bakery Near Millennium Park/Art Museum

Within Macy's, on the ground floor, there is now a bakery called Sarah's Pastries. I have only had a cupcake of theirs, but it was really good. There is a Starbucks right there for the coffee.

Apr 28, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

New idea in River North?

How about Quartino? Italian small plates. It's really loud inside, but the food and drinks are good and relatively inexpensive.

A few other options:
- Mambo Grill - really good Latin American food, great drinks, casual fun atmosphere.
- A Mano - Italian owned by the same people as Bin 36. They have great happy hour deals on food at the bar (although I'm not sure that they have them on Saturday). The pizzas are good.
- South Water Kitchen
- Star of Siam - very casual, not particularly interesting, but quick and yummy Thai
- Rock Bottom - another chain, but it sounds like it fits the vibe you are going for (casual, relaxed, unpretentious)
- Ben Pao

Apr 25, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Salad Entree Place on the Northside

Nordstrom Cafe has great salads. It's in Nordstrom's (off of Mich Ave.) on the fourth floor.

Apr 24, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Visiting for 4th of July from DC

The City of Chicago fireworks are on July 3, so it sounds like you will miss them. If you are going to be in town by then, there may be some restarants with a limited view of the fireworks, but I can't think of any that would give a great view. However, the prime place to view the fireworks is Grant Park, the site of Taste of Chicago, a gigantic food festival held every year the week of July 4.

I'm shocked that no one has mentioned the Taste so far as a good option for trying some quintessential Chicago food. It is definitely over-crowded and has all the downsides of outdoor food festivals, but if you are looking to try a Chicago hot dog or deep dish pizza, many of the best places to get them have booths at the Taste (although personally, I can't stomach eating deep dish in the heat, it's too heavy). And it is walking distance from your hotel.

Apr 24, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

best italian or american for groups?

You can eat for $15 a person in Greektown. Plus, most of the restaurants in Greektown have free valet parking. We often used to pile into cars and head to Greektown from HP when I was in law school.

I know you said you wanted Italian or American, but I can't think of any Italian or American places that are better at accommodating a big group for that price.

Apr 16, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Trattoria No. 10 or Cafe Spiaggia??

Cafe Spiaggia is head and shoulders above Trattoria No. 10. Spiaggia itself is better (although fancier and stuffier) than the Cafe.

Another wonderful Italian restaurant at a similar price point to Cafe Spiaggia is Coco Pazzo.

Apr 11, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Need great Chicago eats - downscale and delicious

>>>4. Spanish/Tapas - perhaps Mercat a la Planxa for our one splurge?

I haven't been to Mercat a la Planxa (it's on my list of places to try), but there are several good, reasonably priced tapas places, so you might want to save your splurge for a genre you can't get otherwise.

Tapas places to consider:
Cafe Iberico - good food, but be prepared for long waits. Walking distance from where you are staying.
Cafe Ba Ba Reeba - also good food and they let you make a reservation (but there can still be a wait).

Apr 03, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Dinner Before the Blue Man Group?

There is a Flot Top Grill at Belmont and Southport. Flat Top is a local (I think) chain of build-your-own stir fry places. They are all you can eat for less than $15 pp (I believe). The food is good and it is a great option for vegetarians because they get to pick exactly what they want to put in. There is also a separate section of the grill for vegetarians and people with food allergies if the vegetarian does not want his or her food to be cooked on the same surface as the meat.

Mar 27, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Next Tuesday W/ Co-Workers

A Mano has great happy hour deals on food at their bar - including $5 pizzas the last couple times I went. Definitely not BYOB, but the food is good.

Mar 27, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

mexican with a perfect margarita

Adobo Grill (North and Wells) has great margaritas. I'm not a huge fan of their entrees, but the guac and most of the other appetizers are good.

Mar 25, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Southside Thai

There are lots of decent, cheap Thai places in Hyde Park. My favorite was Snail, but Thai Twee and Noodles, Etc. are good too. These are not in the same league as TAC Quick, etc., but they feed a Thai craving on the south side.

Mar 25, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Reasonable Chicago Birthday Dinner

Assuming that you meant east of Western (west of Western is significantly more limiting), some good options are:

- Osteria Via Stato - good Italian food, fun atmosphere, lots of big tables for groups. They have a $35/person option where they serve family style appetizers and pastas and then each person gets to choose an entree.
- Mambo Grill - Latin food, great drinks, fun (but loud) atmosphere. Entree prices are mostly in the teens, with some in the twenties.
- Greektown - there many restaurants in Greektown that would fit your budget and are group-friendly. My favorite is Parthenon.

Mar 24, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Good, Inexpensive food Merchandise Mart area

Another good option is Mambo Grill. Really good Latin food that isn't too expensive. The drinks are also really good.

Mar 06, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Food to survive on near Westin River North

Naha is wonderful, but it is participating in restaurant week this week and I think it will be hard to get in (that said, if you can get in, restaurant week means it is a fabulous deal, 3 courses for $32). Definitely call before trying to go there.

Feb 25, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

Food to survive on near Westin River North

Within 3 blocks of your hotel, all fine places to eat alone:

- Mambo Grill (Kinzie and Clark) - good latin food, great drinks. I love the plantain crusted halibut, but I haven't had anything there I haven't liked.
- Vong's Thai Kitchen (Hubbard and State) - upscale, not authentic, but yummy Thai food.
- Catch 35 (Wacker and State) - seafood
- McCormick & Schmick (Wacker and State) - it's a chain, but it is reliably good seafood. Also, they have great happy our appetizer specials in the bar area.
- A Mano (Dearborn and Kinzie) - Italian. They have a bar area with tables and great happy hour specials ($5 pizzas in Feb). You can get anything on the menu at the bar or the bar-area tables as well. I've really enjoyed their pizzas and desserts. I haven't sampled anything else yet.

If you decide you can't handle braving the weather, you can get deliver from:
- Star of Siam (State and Illinois) - decent Thai food. They are also good for dining in or take-out.
- Naniwa - good sushi.

There are tons more places if you want to walk a little farther or get in a cab.

Feb 25, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area

commando raid on chicago

Wow! That is chowhound dedication.

Feb 19, 2008
SuzMiCo in Chicago Area