My Chicago Trip Part 3: The Restaurants
Chicago is world renown for their restaurants so Beth and I tried to keep our dinning choices very diverse. We have two rules when we go to a new city and are looking to eat: 1) We try not to eat at any chain restaurants that we have back home (ie: McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Chili's, TGI Friday's etc.) and 2) We try not to eat at any over priced bad food novelty places (ie: Hard Rock, Rain Forest cafe, Nascar cafe etc.)So here is my list of some of the better places we ate. They are not in order of which was best because they were all very good in their own way.
- The Village (Italian)
Chicago's oldest Italian restaurant. It has been family owned and operated for 3 generations. It is a 2 story building with 2 very different dinning experiences. The 2nd floor is where we ate and it featured a traditional northern Italy menu at affordable prices. The staff was great and the atmosphere made Beth and I feel as though we were back in Florence, Italy. The bottom floor was a bit more upscale and offered fine dinning at a bit higher price. We never ate down there.
- Oysy (Sushi)
I had never eaten sushi before and in fact and made fun of Beth many times for eating it. But since we were on vacation I thought I'd give in and let her have some food of her choice. I was expecting to be able to order something other than sushi but once we got seated, we found that was all they served. So I was trapped. I could either eat or starve. I chose to give in and have some. I will go on record and say I was totally wrong about it. It was very good. I started off with some soup then worked my way into a "Miami roll". It had eel, salmon, and cream cheese. Beth had a "rainbow roll" and they fixed it to look like a dragon. Very cool. This was probably one of my most enjoyable meals. Great food, atmosphere and prices.
- Uno (Pizzeria)
I know we said we'd stay away from chains, but this was the original Uno's, the one that started it all. They only serve Chicago Style deep dish and you have to give them your order before you are seated because it takes so long to cook. Their deep dish is truly deep dish. The entire pizza is at least 2-3 inches deep. You have to eat it with a fork. Surprisingly it was not all crust. Out of 3 inches of pizza, 2 1/2 of it was toppings. Very good and worth the wait!! I don't know if I will every be able to enjoy NC pizza again.
- The Corner Bakery (Cafe)
This place was on the street level of our hotel so it was the first place we saw we could get breakfast on Tuesday morning. It was also the last place we went for breakfast. It was that good. It appeared to possibly be a chain in the mold of "Panera" or "Atlanta Bread" be we had never heard of it. The food was good and the atmosphere was nice. It helped being so close too. If we had one in our town, I'd frequent it a lot.
- The Big Bowl (Thai)
Beth had heard this place was really good from a friend so we walked down the famous "Magnificent Mile" to check it out one night. The atmosphere seemed a little more fancy then what I'm use to but once we got and and seated, the place was very comfortable. The appetizer, meal and dessert was delicious. I had chicken curry. I fix it at home sometimes so I wanted to see how mine stacked up to the real thing. I'm humble enough to say theirs was better. I know I said I wasn't going to rank the food places, but if I did, this place would be at the top.
- The Redfish (Cajun)
We stumbled upon this restaurant one night walking around "The Magnificent Mile". It was right near "Harry Carry's" place which we had also thought about eating at. This was one of the few places we went to eat without any suggestions as to how it would be. We had no idea if it would be great food or make us sick. Luckily for us it was really good food. I had a gumbo/pasta dish that was great, grilled crab cakes as an appetizer and bread pudding for dessert. The service was a little suspect but the meal was top notch.
- Pizzono's (Italian)
Several folks suggested this famous local Italian place so we stooped in for lunch one day. This was probably the most average place we ate. The food and service wasn't anything to get excited about. I can see this as a place that has a nostalgic kind of history around downtown but not really a place you'd go if you wanted a great dinning experience.