fun or funky restaurants in Chicago?

Apr 12th, 2007, 01:30 PM
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I'll agree with those who say Alinea for a truly over-the-top experience. Expensive, but worth it. I also second Avec, and I'll add Schwa on Ashland in Wicker Park-- although I don't know if you can get reservations at this late date. Mirai in Wicker Park has fantastic sushi, and for pizza, try Piece on North Ave also in WP-- it's New Haven style, and so good.
Jen is offline  
Apr 12th, 2007, 05:52 PM
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I've taken a lot of people to Cafe Iberico and everyone has loved it. Cafe Ba Ba Reeba I've found to be hit and miss, sometimes I really enjoy it, sometimes I don't. I'd recommend it for lunch though, weekends nights are packed but you can usually get right in for lunch.

For breakfast/brunch I love Bongo Room (Wabash or Milwaukee) but once again if it's a weekend, expect a crowd. I've heard good things about Yolk on S. Michigan and Orange on Harrison is good.

Fun places-A la Turka and Carnivale, both of which were mentioned above, make sure you go for the belly dancing show at A la Turka.

Lou Malnati's is great for pizza and far enough off Michigan Avenue where you don't get the ridiculous waits for Pizzeria Uno/Due.

A couple of Italian spots in River North that are interesting are Quartino which is small plates and Osteria Via Stato which is a prix fixe deal, the restaurant picks out everything but the entree and the portions get smaller as the meal progresses.

If you want ethnic, hop on public transport and go to Chinatown for dim sum or Greektown or Devon Avenue (Indian food).
Kristi is offline  
Apr 13th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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Last time we wer at Trattoria #10, we were a little disappointed, and I usually love it. However, I have made reservations for next month at Aria in the Fairmount Hotel, as I think it was the best meal I've ever had. Honestly.
LLindaC is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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You've gotten lots of great recommendations! For lunch I'd recommend RL (Ralph Lauren) or Bistro 110 if you are going to be on Michigan Avenue. I would also recommend Merlo on Maple for italian. It's in a really cute rowhouse and very good. For high end NOMI (ask for a window table) and Spiaggia are our faves. Also, Avenues in the Peninsula was outstanding when I ate there. Sunday brunch, believe it or not, we like Butch McGuires...a Rush Street staple. But it's fun. If you're expecting, maybe not so much fun! We did have a great brunch at North Pond.
KristyW is offline  
Apr 15th, 2007, 02:16 AM
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Loved Frontera Grill!
travelgirl2 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 06:16 PM
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Cafe Iberico is the BEST Tapas in the city, dare I say the country!! I love it! Atmosphere is awesome too. Frontera Grill is fantastic for some authentic mexican upscale and Margaritas to die for. Italina? No doubt go check out Scoozi.
mikieguns is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:17 AM
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We just tried Carnivale this weekend... incredible atmosphere, terrific Nuevo Latino food, sort of a "beautiful people" clientele and gets pretty busy, but there's a great bar area including an outdoor deck/patio. It's in the Fulton Market area. I'd definitely go back... great energy. Reservations would be a plus.
strass is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:33 AM
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What about Ed Debevic's? I thoght it was pretty crazy.
logandog is online now  
Apr 24th, 2007, 05:59 AM
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The OP did mention wanting to avoid touristy places, and I think Ed Debevic's falls into that category...
strass is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 06:57 AM
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I like cafe atwood in the historis hotel burnham
Marche is funky on randolph

blackbird is excellent on randolph

frontera grill

menji for sushi on randolph

pjsparlor is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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Also, the 'food' at Ed Debevic's is practically inedible. I've had a better hamburger at Wendy's.
Vittrad is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 08:09 AM
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Agree with Vittrad, and don't know how that place has stayed open.

Avoid eating at Navy Pier, except for possibably Riva, all the rest can be topped by nearly any dive anywhere else downtown.
JJ5 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 01:46 PM
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exiledprincess is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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its been awhile for me but is Heaven on Seven (in the Garland building) still worth recommending?
POlson is offline  
Apr 30th, 2007, 11:17 AM
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hi all - thanks for all your help. just back from the fabulous chicago weekend we had. a few thoughts on meals. lunch at blackies, good, casual, fun atmosphere, great service and yummy burgers. just a fun old school chicago joint.

mid afternoon snack of wine and cheese flight at BIN 36. great service, great food, great wine. neat atmosphere. good place before/after theater.

japonais - OVERRATED! i would not go back. food was VERY average. sushi was just OK. service was constant. thhey never left you alone for a minute - literally a MINUTE. constantly filling your water, asking if you were done with your plate. they need some lessons from disney corp. for sure. i would not got back here. i just wanted a nice alone dinner with my husband. we had someone hounding us at our table asking if everything was ok, etc. every minute. we just wanted good service and food. totally in your face constantly. very trendy, hip, chic, young crowd. good for a bar, not for food.

trattoria no. 10 was hands down one of the best meals, atmosphere and service we have ever had. seriously, this place was almost as good as umbria or the tuscan countryside. we ordered all small plates and no entrees. wanted to try as much as possible. FABULOUS! can't wait to go back! excellent meal. truly superb.

saw wicked. very good. didn't love it, but liked it very much. good story. well done.

gospel brunch at house of blues is a must do once in your life. fantastic food and setting. great music./ the vocals were great. a very fun, unique experience.

cocktails at the peninsula on the patio - day or night. so lovely. the skyline at night was so pretty and it was romantic, too. we will stay there next time.

hot fudge sundae mid day at ghiradelli was very good as a shopping break.


thanks to all for your help!
zacky is offline  
Apr 30th, 2007, 11:57 AM
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Many thanks to everyone responding!

We'll be in Chicago next month and picked up some terrific ideas.

Any thoughts on the Gospel Brunch at House of Blues versus the Jazz Brunch at Bistro 110?
djkbooks is offline  
Apr 30th, 2007, 01:34 PM
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I loved the Bistro French onion soup ever...bust just remember that you can't have alcohol (great Bloody Mary) until after 12. You can also book at
LLindaC is offline  
May 2nd, 2007, 04:16 PM
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Do you like great ribs? Twin Anchors is a neighborhood kind of place. Great food, not fancy.Located on Sedgwick <> The restaurants in Greektown are very good, not expensive. We like Russian Tea Time on Adams not far from the Art Institute. Have a grand time or am I too late with this post?
valise is offline  

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