Need a restaurant gift certificate for sister's wedding
August 17, 2010 3:00 PM   Subscribe

My sister is getting married, and I'd like to get her a gift certificate to a great, hip Chicago restaurant. My budget's about $200-250 and I'd love to be able to include enough for a bottle of wine.

She is a city girl, adventurous eater, and they love to get dressed up and go out. Tru and Everest are great, especially because they have prix fixe menus, but I wonder about other options that maybe cost a little less. They live in Wrigleyville and can travel. Thanks!
posted by hamster to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Topolobampo? We ate at Frontera Grill, which is in the same space and was really great, and the Topolo stuff looked truly special.
posted by thirteenkiller at 3:11 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've always heard that Alinea is amazing. It seems their prix fixe is $185—perhaps another relative could join in on the gift?
posted by ocherdraco at 3:15 PM on August 17, 2010

Or Schwa! It's BYOB, too! I had one of the most amazing meals of my life there, and the 9-course meal was about $100pp w/out tip. Getting a reservation is notoriously tricky, however -- but if you're flexible with dates, it's less of a problem.
posted by pfafflin at 3:20 PM on August 17, 2010

It's been a couple years since I've been there, but mk is awesome.
posted by phunniemee at 3:24 PM on August 17, 2010

I'll second mk -- it's easily my favorite restaurant in Chicago (and I've been to Tru and Blackbird and I think mk outshines them both for warmth and consistency). I really love mk -- every time I've been, they've really endeavored to make the occasion special. They have a prix fixe, and you can always ask them to supplement the prix fixe with additional items if you want (I've even "created" my own prix fixe of tasting portions when the regular prix fixe had several items I was allergic to -- they are very flexible). They also have a great sommelier who always manages to have some excellent bottle of something at a ridiculously good price that goes perfectly with what you're eating.

Oh, and I first went to mk on a gift certificate from a grateful employer. :)
posted by devinemissk at 3:34 PM on August 17, 2010

'Hip' most emphatically does not require the kind of expenditure you're contemplating if you want to thrill your sister.

If I may embark on a short rant (and I may, since I'm writing this) I went to Tru once. Never again. From the too precious brocade-upholstered footstools for ladies' purses; to the funereal hush over the place; to the hordes of servers descending on our table of six, with the ranking automaton interrupting conversation to describe, straight from the menu, which we'd already seen, what was on each person's plate... I have never been so put off by outstanding food.

There, I feel better.

Now. If you want hip, you want The Purple Pig. Outstanding wine list. Wonderfully different and delicious tapas-style dishes that are fun to share. Friendly, informed service. And the place is packed with mostly interesting people from 5pm on.

But don't take my word for it. Here is food and wine writer Steve Dolinski's write up from January when the place opened.

Oh, and $150 will more than cover the bill, regardless of what your sister orders.

(I have no interest in or connection to the restaurant. I just like great food, reasonable prices and a fun atmosphere.)
posted by Short Attention Sp at 3:41 PM on August 17, 2010

I'll third mk as being a generally outstanding dining experience. I stopped going there after a service failure during a dinner for important clients, but I won't go into that, since it might make me appear cranky.

Schwa looks great. It's on my list!
posted by Short Attention Sp at 3:47 PM on August 17, 2010

Okay, one more, then I'll stop. Promise.

Not only is blackbird hip, popular and outstanding, it has a little extra claim to fame.

When Barak and Michelle Obama dined there in 2008, after he declared his candidacy for the presidency, they asked their server for a wine recommendation. He/she suggested Graham Beck M├ęthode Cap Classique Brut NV, because Nelson Mandela had served it at his inaugural. They liked it so much that night that, according to lore, anyhow, they celebrated his election with it.

The GB Brut NV is, not incidentally, a great pour and a great value. If you can find it, it retails for only about $17.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 4:13 PM on August 17, 2010

One of the best in Chicago is Les Nomades so that is worth thinking about. Sprout, which just opened last November, seems both foodie and quite hip. One more thought, if very, very upscale Thai is of interest, is Arun's.
posted by bearwife at 5:08 PM on August 17, 2010

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