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1st time in Chicago

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1st time in Chicago

Scrunchions | Feb 11, 2012 01:27 AM

Two of us are planning to fly into Chicago Thursday evening (Feb 16) and leave Sunday night. Just realized that we will be in Chicago right in the middle of Chicago Restaurant Week; that makes me worried that it would be difficult for us to get into any good restaurants without having made reservations way ahead of time. 

We will be staying at the Fairmont and will probably not be renting a car. Saw No Reservations episode of Bourdain visiting Chicago in which he was driving all over to get to interesting places: Burt's Place, Calumet Fisheries, Silver Palm Restaurant, L2O Restaurant, Fat Johnnies Famous Red Hots, Blackbird Restaurant, Moto Restaurant, Hot Doug's, and Avec Restaurant. Is it worth our while to rent a car?

Wondering what real people in Chicago would recommend if we would like a real Chicago experience. I am very adventurous about ethnic cuisine being from Toronto, Canada, but not trying to find the best of the cuisine of any particular part of the world that Chicago has to offer; I was on a coach tour of Europe operated by Chinese people once and instead of sampling the local flavors, ended up in a Chinese restaurant in Rome, Venice, Paris, etc. However, I would be interested in ethnic restaurants that are representative of the culture of a city, e.g. Japanese food is very important in Vancouver.

I am more interested in simple food cooked well and not that interested in molecular gastronomy, foam, plating, the hipness and decor of the restaurant, or any other fancy frills. It is probably impossible to get into Charlie Trotter's restaurant, but do people think that it is worth it? I am not against fine dining, but am not focused on the fancy, ultra-expensive places which are just about hype.

Sorry for the long post with so many specific details. This forum has been very helpful. Any further help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks guys!

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