I will be visiting Chicago again at the end of this month. Food, of course, is my main concern. I have done my research and filtered through enormous amounts of information on this board to compile a Chicago Tip Sheet, which I will print out and take with me on my trip. I'll need to stick to restaurants that I can reach via public transportatiion or a short cab ride. So, here is my ultimate tip sheet. Thanks to all of you who posted these great tips!
Have I left anything out in gross error?
Chicago Tip Sheet
1. Breakfast- Lou Mitchell's (the branch at Jefferson and Jackson)
2. Hot dogs - Byron's (under the el on Irving Park)
3. Bergdorf: (have to go there again re. atmosphere) try the house bourbon (aged 15 years)
4. Italian- Tufano's Vernon Park Tap . From Tom Armitage -Tufano's Vernon Park Tap for grilled pork chops and peppers or lemon chicken (stick with meat and chicken; I've had some dreadful experiences with the pasta there) the grilled pork chops and peppers were glorious. Follow by a side visit to Al's for Italian beef (suggestion of Pepper)
5. Polish- the Orbit
6. Mexican: Topolobampo or Frontera Grill
7. Best kept secret- From Seth Ditchik- Try the Savoy Truffle (1466 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago;(773)772-7530). A real chowhound find--$26 6-course prix fixe. No menu; Chef Wendy Gilbert tells you what she's cooking, and you eat it (she'll accomodate vegetarians if asked). And you'll be glad you did. The place is only open Wed.-Sat., and tiny, so reservations are essential. BYOB. Friends took me here last time I was in town on business, and I'm definitely going back next time I'm in Chicago. Remember- NO credit cards.
8. Greek- From Steve Drucker - Santorini's in Greek town. Upscale Greek. moderate price. most everything is good (they do overcook the grilled squid). An absolutely incredible value is the high end cabernet from Greece at about $28--this is an extraordinary steal. Portions are huge. share stuff. And they take reservations. Great soups change daily.
9. Fusion- From Steve Drucker- Blackbird, outer loop. (see elsewhere on this board). Not fusion, not French, maybe new American-although the skill of preparation and ingredient combinations are far more than any other place that calls itself New American. But skip dessert (pricey, small portion, although tasty). I haven't eaten anything so fresh or well prepared since Paris and Barcelona last year. moderate portion sizes, expensive, good value.