Chicago Restaurant for Anniversary

Nov 5th, 2003, 05:25 PM
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Chicago Restaurant for Anniversary


My husband and I will be staying on Michigan Avenue in Chicago for the weekend before Christmas to celebrate out anniversary. Can anyone recommend a really nice restaurant downtown somewhere that is pretty and not loud? It can be on the somewhat pricey side. We like good food, but are not into the real high end stuff where you get a chef's dinner that is already chosen for you.
I was considering the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton. It sounds really nice. Or is it on the "stuffy" side? We are both 50 and enjoy nice atmosphere and good wine, but don't like real stuffy places or loud places.

Also, does anyone know if Season's at the Four Season's is any good? That is where we are staying.

Thanks for your help!

gopack is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 05:54 PM
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We ate at Seasons at the Four Seasons for our 10th anniversary several yrs ago. It was good, but I like a bit more atmosphere personally (and there was some &^%$# talking LOUDLY on his cell phone at the next table for a half hour during our dinner, ignoring his female guest (!) as well as the big sign posted saying "No cell phone conversations allowed in dining room).

The RC dining room has a bit more atmosphere, and is very well executed.

Personally, I'd choose a non-hotel-owned venue like Everest, MK, Spiaggia, Tru, etc.
travleis is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 05:57 PM
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4-5 yrs ago my male boss and I (I'm female) had an excellent dinner at the Cape Cod Room (in the Drake Hotel, I think). Had we been inclined toward mischief, the restaurant atmosphere, attentive service, libations, and food would have sealed the deal.
But alas, we weren't, so it didn't!
formerfreqflyer is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 06:07 PM
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My two picks would be Everest or Charlie Trotters.
Nov 5th, 2003, 08:17 PM
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Hi again,

Thanks for the replies so far. I have been doing some reading about restaurants in Can you please tell me a little more about MK, Les Nomades and Ambria??

Tru and Trio sound a little too "fancy". Can you tell me more about Charlie Trotters? I got the impression that it would be close $200 or more per person. Is that true? Is that with wine or before wine?

And what is Everest like?

Thanks again.

P.S. What is Smith and Wollensky's like - the atmosphere?? More loud than romantic??

gopack is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 05:44 AM
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With the possible exception of Charlie Trotter's and Tru, none of the restaurants you describe can really be called "stuffy." Those could also wind up be significantly more expensive than the others, even just based mostly on food costs, ie, $200-250 per person versus $100-150 (depending on your wine selection, could go a little lower or much much higher).

I like the food a little better at the Ritz Carlton Dining Room than at Seasons, and the service is more reliable, but both are nice. Seasons has window tables, and there can be a nice view.

Everest is romantic, with stunning views west out into the city from the 40th floor. Service is very nice, and the room is pretty quiet.

Les Nomades started as a private dining club 20+ years ago. It is located in a townhouse and has 3-4 cozily intimate rooms. The menu is prix fixe but there are lots of choices. This is like "the little restaurant around the corner" if that place had really good food.

Ambria has a very clubby, intimate feel: wood floors, Oriental rugs, located in a vintage highrise apartment hotel on Lincoln Park near the zoo. The food is good if not cutting edge, and the service is very nice.

I am not familiar with MK, but some of those sleek modern places get very loud when crowded.

If it were my anniversary, my preferences would be, in order, Ambria, Les Nomades, Seasons, Ritc Carlton, Everest. Tru and Charlie Trotter wouldn't be on my list.
marilynl is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 05:46 AM
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95th at the Hancock building, Spiaggia on Michigan Ave, Riva on Navy Pier. Smith and Wollensky will be loud - may have office parties that time of year.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 06:09 AM
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NoMi is a great 'celebration' restaurant in the Park Hyatt (8th floor I believe) right behind the Water Tower with fabulous views of Michigan Ave. It is great at Christmas time since you can see all the decorations up & down Mich Ave. The food is wonderful, the atmoshere is very sophistacated and sleek, and the lounge area is very popular. You want to request a window seat to get the best views.

MK is another great choice. Very cool building, amazing food, great vibe. My favorite place to sit is upstairs on the railing so you can see all the action downstairs! (you will need to take a short cab ride, not a big deal at all.)

You have been given great suggestions by above posters--any would be wonderful. However, I would take Smith & Wollensky off your list. Not even in the same ballpark as any of the others.

Check out or to find reviews and more suggestions. November's issue of Chicago Magazine is the 2003 dining awards.

Congrats on your anniversary and please let us know what you decide and how it was!
Kristy is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 07:30 AM
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A restaurant I really like which is very close to your hotel and not as expensive as the others listed is Pane Caldo. It is across the street from Four Seasons and is probably around $150 for a couple. They have a table for two that is set in the window which you would have to reserve. The food is very good. I don't know if you were planning to do tea during your visit but I go to tea every year at the Four Seasons and it is very nice. Congratulations on your anniversary.
Cerlaurie is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 07:41 AM
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Spiaggia is great for Italian-great location and atmosphere. Smith & Wolensky is a great steakhouse but not exactly intimate. If you want to do something different, Geja's is fondue--4 courses (salad, cheese, main & chocolate) with a great atmosphere in Lincoln Park on Armitage and Clark- about a 10 minute cab ride. It has a great wine list too.
swalter518 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 08:10 AM
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Thank-you soooo much for all your suggestions and info on the restaurants! I really do appreciate it. I will take your suggestions and figure out which place to choose. I will repost my decision and then will let you all know how it turned out. By the way, I meant to say we would be in Chicago the weekend before Thanksgiving, not Christmas. No big deal, I guess.

The posters here are so nice and helpful. Thanks again.

gopack is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 08:18 AM
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I would suggest making a reservation (at least as a fall back) right away. I recently made reservations for my husband's birthday, which is the weekend before Thanksgiving, and there were a number of places that were already booked or had limited space left. NoMi for example had very limited availability. When I booked for my husband'd birthday for Tru last year, I made the reservation 2 months in advance. You can always cancel if you change your mind.

I have said it before on this forum but I will definitely repeat myself, if you are going to venture away from the Mag Mile, I would highly recommend Spring. I've been to Tru, Trotters, Everest, etc... and Spring is without a doubt my favorite. It is also less than half the price - our bill at Spring with wine was less than $200. Tru was $600. But, I would make a reservation now - it gets booked up.
alex is offline  
Nov 30th, 2003, 12:11 PM
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Just wanted to report back on our weekend in Chicago - the weekend before Thanksgiving. Except for the weather we ran into, everything was really nice.

We stayed at the Four Seasons and because our room was not ready for over an hour, they upgraded us to a corner junior suite! It was gorgeous - huge room with king bed, sofa, chair, dining table with large crystal chandelier. A second bedroom and second bathroom. What luck!

We ended up eating at the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton. We had a wonderful time. The room is beautiful even though there are no windows. But the chandeliers reflect off of the several large mirrors so the room looks like it keeps on going in several directions. Really enjoyed the pianist. The service was excellent and very friendly and helpful.

Our dinner was very good - actually my tenderloins roast was excellent! It melted in my mouth and the flavor was wonderful. Probably the best piece of beef I have ever tasted. Our desserts were great. I loved the carmel chocolate cake with the carmel ice cream. My husband had the poached apples with the rum ice cream. It was out of this world with flavor. Would definitely recommend this restaurant. It was not stuffy at all, but also, it was fairly conservative. I would not describe the food as "on the edge".

Thanks to all of you who made dinner suggestions to me. It is so nice to get help from this message board. I really do appreciate it.


gopack is offline  
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