Good food in Chicago?
July 16, 2008 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Where are your favorite places to dine in Chicago? Romance is preferred, good food is a must, and I'd like to spend less than $100 for my wife and I.

We'll be in the loop, so near downtown but don't worry about that too much.

There were good answers back in February, but many of those were above my price point.
posted by ztdavis to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Hate to chime in so early with more remote locations, but I figure others will take care of downtown better than I can.

Va Pensiero in Evanston remains the finest Italian food I've had. It's quite cozy, but not particularly loud. Tables are far enough away from each other that you don't feel like someone's going to knock over you wine. Amazing menu, impeccable service, and reasonable prices. (Less so with the wine, though there are plenty of good inexpensive bottles as well. I just find it tough to stay away from some of their nicer bottles.) Plenty of parking, including valet if you want it, or just a few blocks walk from the Davis Metra or CTA.

If you can fudge the 100 dollar tab, go with The Stained Glass, also in Evanston. Possible to stay under 100 dollars, but not if you take in the best part, the wine flights. Given that you're looking for cheaper, I'll not tempt you and leave you to your own devices if you want to find out more.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:56 AM on July 16, 2008

Rose Angelis - you can probably keep it under $100, especially if you go on 1/2 price wine Tuesdays.
posted by true at 10:05 AM on July 16, 2008

Lula Cafe has a range of menu choices and can easily and happily be enjoyed by two for less than $100. Also, it's got fantastic food.

Also, "price point" is a horrible turn of phrase. The English language is too beautiful to be marred by the argot of the stockroom.
posted by felix betachat at 10:17 AM on July 16, 2008

Best answer: Not super cheap (but much cheaper than the equivalents) is Rosebud Steakhouse. Just north of the Hancock, a quick walk or cab from the Loop. My wife and I were there last weekend and had a fantastic meal. Vegetarians need not apply.
posted by gregchttm at 10:24 AM on July 16, 2008

Try this forum

it has fantastic places to try and is read by many people in Chicago.
posted by irie1972 at 10:26 AM on July 16, 2008

I Second Lula Cafe even though it was in your first post. If you can go on a Monday they have a prix-fixe dinner that is a very reasonable 28.00 per person, dinner should still be affordable any other night though.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 10:36 AM on July 16, 2008

Twin Anchors?
posted by Roach at 10:46 AM on July 16, 2008

Twin Anchors?

Only if your vision of "romance" includes bibs.
posted by felix betachat at 10:49 AM on July 16, 2008

I absolutely third Lula, but keep in mind that they're a small establishment that doesn't take reservations. After they got "outed" by news reports and 'Check Please!' they became considerably more crowded. That being said, for two people the wait shouldn't be too bad, and they have a nice bar where you can booze it up for a bit if you like.

Lula's not near downtown, but an easy jaunt on the O'Hare Blue Line to the Logan Square stop, and you can practically see the restaurant from the exit.

If you want someplace nearer downtown, Bistro 110 has good, reliable French food, a nice atmosphere, but can be a bit touristy.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 11:37 AM on July 16, 2008

Also, ask your concierge. For romance, I like Rosebud too. Quartino and Osteria Via Stato are beautiful, both on the near north side. You may also want to check out almost any of the myriad Lettuce Entertain You places.

I am on my palm so I can't link right but if you google you will find them.
posted by MeetMegan at 11:41 AM on July 16, 2008

Romantic near downtown: Vermilion, Aigre Doux.
posted by me3dia at 12:36 PM on July 16, 2008

One of my favorite places in town is Brasserie Jo. It's fabulous, but un-stuffy French food. I will say that between wine, starter, main and dessert I think it usually comes in around $60/person, which is slightly above what you asked.

If you like Mexican - by which I mean real authentic Mexican cuisine, not just Tex-Mex tacos - one of Chicago's most famous chefs is Rick Bayless who has two restaurants -Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. They're right next to each other. Frontera Grill is slightly less fancy than the other. But I loved it there.
posted by dnash at 12:37 PM on July 16, 2008

Lula is great (and worth the wait). You might try the Fireside Inn on Ravenswood. It's also a bar, but it's got cozy and romantic out-of-the-way rooms and decent (if unexciting) food. A big plus is that it's really a neighborhood place, completely free of foodies and poseurs (I guess the foodies don't come out for the unexciting food, go figure). I've always thought the bar half would be a great place for a meet-up for us northsiders.
posted by nax at 1:39 PM on July 16, 2008

oops. sorry, not near downtown. my bad.
posted by nax at 1:40 PM on July 16, 2008

trattoria caterina was a small place where i met my wife for our first date. i think it meets your needs exactly.
posted by lester at 1:46 PM on July 16, 2008

I dont' go to nice restaurants, but I've heards tons of people talk about Le Colonial, a Vietnamese/French restaurant in the Gold Coast. Entrees are in the mid to low 20s.
posted by sandmanwv at 2:06 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: And speaking of Trattoria, try Trattoria No. 10. And here are links to the ones I mentioned in my earlier answer.
Osteria Via Stato
Lettuce Entertain You
posted by MeetMegan at 2:28 PM on July 16, 2008

Bistro Campagne is our favorite romantic place. It's in Lincoln Square, about 20 minutes from downtown via cab (except at rush hour - don't even try it then). My fiance declared it the best lamb he'd ever had; I've heard their signature chicken dish is fabulous; and I love the french onion soup.
posted by slmorri at 2:59 PM on July 16, 2008

Frontera and Topolambopo (whatever your opinion of the food) will not be romantic. They're very crowded, always, and you will get hustled to the bar if you linger over coffee and dessert. They're polite about it, but they have to turn those tables because of the crowds.

I don't know what defines romance for you, but I'm fond of the Atwood Cafe at the Hotel Burnham (they do a lovely sazerac at the bar). You'll need a reservation. I also rather like the The Tasting Room west of the loop, which has a really nice view of the skyline, and I think is romantic. I've snacked there, but never had any of the entrees.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:37 PM on July 16, 2008

Best answer: Oh man, listen to crush-onastick. The Atwood Cafe is great. Paired with a visit to the symphony or at a show downtown, it makes for a near-perfect night. Even without those, its art deco interior is really splendid. You'll get better french food at Brasserie Jo, but the Atwood has a feeling that BJ can't match.
posted by felix betachat at 5:18 PM on July 16, 2008

Cyrano's Bistrot is cozy and very French. The food was yummy. I was with my sister, but we agreed that with other company, it would be very romantic. We made it out under $60 with no wine, so I think it meets the price requirement. We made reservations through OpenTable.

+1 for Quartino for good food and atmosphere, but I wouldn't call it strictly romantic. It felt just like a European bistro, so I guess that in itself is romantic for most, but it was kind of noisy and family-oriented for my tastes. Again, I was with little sis, so I can't judge. The price was very reasonable.
posted by parkerjackson at 6:53 PM on July 16, 2008

Sweets and Savories, winner of a Great Neighborhood Restaurant award a couple years in a row, is excellent. Romantic, small, cozy, with exposed brick walls. Location is west Lincoln Park. They have great food (and great desserts), great wine, and have one of the best deals in the city: Their $60 tasting menu, which you could pay twice the amount for at another restaurant in the city of comparable quality. Pictures of the food can be found here (warning: these will make you extremely hungry).
posted by AceRock at 6:28 AM on July 17, 2008

Shanghai Terrace inside the Penninsula hotel is probably my favorite place to eat downtown.
posted by garlic at 9:25 AM on July 29, 2008

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