During our recent visit to Chicago, we tried these places:
Bongo Room (South Loop, breakfast/lunch only, closes at 2:30) was awesome! Both the savory dishes (my beef tenderloin salade "nicoise") and the sweet/brunchy dishes (my son's banana-chocolate pancakes with creme anglaise) were delicious.
Wildfire (dinner, River North): We wanted to try a steakhouse, but did not want to spend too much money. Wildfire was perfect. The salads, the steaks, one fish dish, the wine and the sides were all great. They even had a petit filet on the kids' menu, which my sons adored. Service was excellent, prices somewhat lower than the fancier steakhouses.
Topolobampo (dinner, River North) was fantastic. I guess I don't have to write much about it, you guys already know. Splurged on the $75 five-course tasting menu. Died and went to heaven.
Gioco (dinner, South Loop): We only had a small meal there, but the pasta was excellent. The entrees looked awfully pricey, though.
Just to give you a laugh, I'll admit that we went to Joe's Be-Bop cafe at Navy Pier. I knew the food wouldn't be great, but we were in that location and my kids were getting exhausted from all our schlepping around. Let me tell you, the food was comically awful. My pulled pork sandwich did not have any sauce on it: just chunks of bland pork and gloppy cole slaw plopped on top. My kids didn't even like the french fries, which is unprecedented. For future reference, does anyone know a decent restaurant near Navy Pier?