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Old 03-08-2008, 11:07 PM   #1
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IL - Chicago .. Top downtown restaurants?

Charlie Trotter's and Alinea are both reputed to be among the 'top 50' in the world. True? If one can go to only one, which, and why?

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Old 03-09-2008, 07:16 AM   #2
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I would go to Alinea in a heartbeat, but this may help others decide:



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Old 03-09-2008, 07:35 AM   #3
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between the two, I would choose Alinea. I have been to Charlie Trotter's and was underwhelmed.

but I would probably pick Tru over either of them.
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Old 03-09-2008, 12:10 PM   #4
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Nick's Fish Market (the one downtown) has some of the best seafood I have ever eaten. It's bloddy expensive. Dinner for the two of us with a bottle of wine as almost $400.00 with a tip.

I also love Harry Caray's downtown location. The Signature Room on top of the John Hancock building is a bit over rated. There's also Trader Vic's for Polynesian food. Gibsons is a great steak joint as well as the Webber Grill. Fogo de Chao is a great Brazillian steak house. The best Tappas bar in Chicago is cafe' Iberico. All these restaurunts are downtown and within walking distance from Michigan Avenue and the river.

There are also a lot of little known smaller restaurants in the Bucktown area, Old Town, and Wrigleyville. Those will probably require a short cab ride though.
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Old 03-09-2008, 12:28 PM   #5
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Nicks's looks interesting, and leaning towards Alinea. We'll be right downtown, flying into O'hare, taking a shuttle downtown, then cabbing to our destinations while in town (5 days.). Staying at the Allerton. Wasn't able to really get a firm 'good or bad' on the Allerton, but it's done now:)), booked through Travelocity. I went to Trotter's about 10 years ago when he was still fairly new. It was amazing. Wine costs won't be a factor; we don't drink alcohol and are looking for great food to tie into the destinations that we are planning to take in.
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:05 PM   #6
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The Allerton is a fine hotel. It's not the Ritz but I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Since The Allerton is located right on Michigan Avenue on the north end of the river you should be able to walk just about everywhere. Wifey works at 900 N. Michigan Avenue in the Bloomingdale's building.

If you do decide to go to Alinea, let me know. I'd like to hear the review!!!
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:15 PM   #7
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between the two, I would choose Alinea. I have been to Charlie Trotter's and was underwhelmed.

but I would probably pick Tru over either of them.
Tru is really, really good, especially if you like desserts. Our tasting menu had I think four dessert courses.
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Old 03-09-2008, 03:22 PM   #8
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a buddy of mine staged (worked for free to get some knowledge, might have spelled it wrong) at Tru and said its one of the few places he would pay to eat at (he's a **** fine chef and has eaten at some of the top restaurants in the US, including the french laundry) Im hoping to go there with my girlfriend next time we make it back to Chi-town
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:05 PM   #9
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If you want to get the best service you can get with some of the best food in the world, def. check out alinea or tru, or trotter's. All will be good. It is my opinion though, that there aren't very many bad places to eat in the city, no matter what your budget looks like.
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:10 PM   #10
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Don't forget The Gordon or The Absinthe, both excellent restaurants as well. The Gordon was around $100 per person plus drinks while the Absinthe was about $160 for the two of us drinks included. Then again The Gordon had a 5 course meal while The Absinthe had a three course meal.
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:13 PM   #11
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sorry Buddy, Gordon has closed. and I have never heard of Absinthe. Is it a new place?

My FAVorite place in Chicago is Red Light. Its Pan Asian (not fusion) and wow is the food ever delicious!
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:59 PM   #12
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Charlie Trotter's and Alinea are both reputed to be among the 'top 50' in the world. True? If one can go to only one, which, and why?

I saw that list and I have been to some of those places, including Charlie Trotters. I have no clue how it made its way on there.

BTW, I'd choose Tru also, though admittedly I have never been to Alinea.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:49 PM   #13
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sorry Buddy, Gordon has closed. and I have never heard of Absinthe. Is it a new place?

My FAVorite place in Chicago is Red Light. Its Pan Asian (not fusion) and wow is the food ever delicious!
Sorry to hear about The Gordon, but the last time I was there was about 8 years ago so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
The Absinthe has been around for at least 5 years, not sure exactly how long but less than 10. It is at Damen Ave. and North Ave., and there is an exclusive invite only club above that has the same owner.
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Old 03-13-2008, 06:42 AM   #14
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I'll take the Custom House. 1/2 the price of Trotters and the food is great. they are "meat heavy"... but I like meat.

If you want a real treat.. Forget the expensive stuff.. head over to Dragonfly Mandarin, you won't be disappointed and your wallet won't hurt..
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:44 PM   #15
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I'll take the Custom House. 1/2 the price of Trotters and the food is great. they are "meat heavy"... but I like meat.
then you need to go to the Chop House. It's on the near North Side - where exactly I forget, maybe Superior and ??.

I agree w/an earlier poster, though. Chicago is a great food town, and even the neighborhood joints can blow your mind with great ethnic food.

for example, there's Greektown.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:02 AM   #16
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Alinea would definitely be my first choice.....possibly of any restaurant in the United States, let alone just Chicago. I've never been there and I'm absolutely dying to go.
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Old 04-11-2008, 04:18 AM   #17
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I prefer Charlie Trotter's because of its beautiful ambiance & very good service.
Wildfire on 159 W Erie St is also one of my favorite.
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:12 AM   #18
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my favorite places in Chicago right now are (not considering budget) Red Light (w. Randolph at Halsted), Bin 36 (in Marina City) Tru, Arun's (on North Kedzie -- fantastic, high end Thai), and Spiaggia (right on the corner opposite Oak Street Beach -- Spiaggia means beach in Italian!)
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:05 PM   #19
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I just saw this thread - funny enough I used work in the same building as the 'Tru' - all the windows were blacked out (so you couldn' see in) and the waiters dressed like unemployed actors.

We went to Arun's once year's ago - only to discover they didn't open until 5 PM. Bummer, still meaning to try it. Good alternative, is the PS Bangkok on Clark and Belmont - it's the real "authentic" Thai not the trendy (although still good) stuff but without the super steep prices of Arun's.
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Old 05-07-2008, 07:01 AM   #20
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I have not been to many of the places talked about, but for my money, I really enjoyed the Tenderloin Tips at "Heaven on Seven"

I think that's what it's called.
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