Chicago!

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Well, the Cantakerous Cook and his wife are heading to the midwest in February. Nicko has given me some great restaurant suggestions! Just wondering if anybody has some "can't miss" place that is a must for a great dinner. The parameters:
1. It's our anniversary
2. We are willing to spend $$ but not spend $$$$$$
3. Prefer something Tuscan-ish, or the like
4. Central location, as we are at the mercy of a taxi
5. Tentatively, we have reservations at Spiaggia... your thoughts?

Thanks for your help!
 

pete

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I thought you said you didn't want to spend big money. Spiaggia is great (4 stars) but that kind of dinning doesn't come cheap!!! One of my favorite Italian places is Trattoria No. 10 down in the loop. Definately not on the same level as Spiaggia, but very solid food, and a more traditional type feel (being in a below ground level location). I find it to be a little cozier and romantic than Spiaggia.
Another "fun" spot, and surprisingly romantic is Gejas (pronounced gay-has). It is a Fondue restaurant, and is a lot of fun, while still maintaining a nice, quiet, candle-lit atmosphere.

Over, on the edge of where Cabrini Green used to be is Kiki's Bistro. A great Bistro that has been around for a number of years, and has sent many a chef onto bigger and better things (John Hogan used to chef there).

NOrth Pond Cafe has garnered many great reviews (Bruce Sherman was a F&W Top 10 chef), in Lincoln Park, in an older Prairie-style building.

Hope this helps.
 
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Seems to me that North Pond is doing Sunday Brunch also....that was information from a couple of years ago.
How long are you in for?
Jim Fiala of Crossing in St. Louis wroked at Spiaggia long ago, his pastas are so silky. He made the most phenominal dish I had eaten one year....a large ravioli with swiss chard and spinach nest that had mascarpone, parmesan and then in the middle an egg....it was napped with Alfredo sauce so that when you cut into the yolk melded with the alfredo and it was HEAVEN! So if his work belies Spiaggias current staff it should be memorable.
 
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We will only be in town over a weekend, most of which is tied up with a food-related summit. So, we really only have -1- shot at dinner. That said, we really do want romantic. I will give Trattoria No. 10 a call for reservations. As of last night, Spiaggia was going to set up a prixe fix menu for the night we wanted. However, they didn't have an idea what was going to be on it. And given that it is $$$, I would feel better to have some idea of what is on tap for the night.
Thanks for the input!
 
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Hi Jim,
I am a 15 year local, as well as serious cook/Executive Chef in Chicago. Give me the general location of your summit and hotel, and I will direct you accordingly to make the most of your time here, avoiding unnecessary cab travel.
Foodwise: Are you set on Tuscan?
Romantic Anniversary: Do you mean dimmed lights/footsies under the table, hushed atmosphere, or heart pounding feel-like-a-kid-again, culinary experience?
;)
 

kuan

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Hey wait... you can try the new Le Francais! Ooh...

As always, a safe bet is the Ritz Carlton dining room. "Safe" ;)

Take care, and happy anniversary!

Kuan
 
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Who is running the Ritz's kitchen these days? Sarah Stegnar was expecting a baby last year.....The meal Sarah prepared for me was trully exceptional!!!
 
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Just going to throw this one out there though it may not be what you're looking for, it's worth looking into...

Trio

:)
 
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Wow... too many options! We are not necessarily set on Tuscan, but my wife is a rather... how should I put this... fussy eater. Neither of us eat red meat but we don't like to settle for the one token chicken dish on the menu. That is theonly real parameter.

Nicko had suggested Tru, as well, but I am concerned that it may be too expensive for us. I don't mind spending, but it has to be within reason. I do like the idea of dimmed lights and footsies under the table kinda place... but at the same time, enjoyable without being too stuffy. Is there such a place?

Thanks for all the help thus far!
 

pete

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Though Trio is a great suggestion, it is way out in the 'burbs so the cab ride alone would get pretty expensive. Same with Le Francais.
 
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My wife and I had a wonderfeul meal at Tru last year when we were in Chicago, and it was nice not to need a cab to get there. You can also ask for a kitchen tour, and if it's a little later in the evening and things aren't slammed you can see just what a million dollars pay for in a kitchen. On a side note, they have a beautiful art collection as well.
 
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Kevin Erving is running the show at The Ritz, a 15 yr Four Seasons vet, from Seattle.
His favorite food? Anything Mexican!
His Mom
 

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