Chicago is a great restaurant town! Frontera Grill (Zagats 27) is surely one of the best Mexican restaurants in the country. Rick and I have made 5 trips to Chicago together and there are two must-do’s for us—a visit to Chicago’s Art Institute and to Frontera Grill. This time we went for brunch and it is rightly considered the best brunch in Chicago. Rick and I spent a leisurely morning sipping Oaxacan hot chocolate at Frontera Grill’s outdoor dining area. It was hard to force myself to go back to the conference.
Some other restaurant recommendations:Chez Moi No Zagat’s rating but voted one of the best new restaurants in Chicago. It’s the only French restaurant I’ve ever been to with large portions. The food was wonderful [and reasonably priced for Chicago] but the service was incredibly slow. We were with a group of old friends and didn’t mind hanging out and running up a bar bill, but I wouldn’t recommend Chez Moi for anyone who didn’t have the time for a long wait.
Riccardo Trattoria (Zagats 28). If you want reasonably good food at an affordable price as well as prompt service, I‘d recommend Riccardo Trattoria. I don’t agree with its Zagat’s rating--I’d give it about a 23 or24 tops , but then I live in a city of great Italian restaurants and my standards are high.
Shanghai Terrace Generally considered the best Chinese restaurants in Chicago, it also has one of the best locations—a roof top restaurant where you are surrounded by the towers of some of Chicago’s most spectacular skyscrapers. We were afraid it might be like the Philly area’s high-end Chinese restaurant, Susanna Foo, with its minuscule portions at sky-high prices. But this was Chicago, the city of large portions and we did not go hungry.
Arun (Zagat’s 27) This one is for lovers of Thai food. It requires a long trek to an outlying neighborhood and its fixed price menu is a lot more than we usually like to spend, but the food is fantastic—by far the best Thai food we’ve ever had or are likely to have. Rick and I were there 24 years ago and we both remember it as having exceptional food with presentations that were works of art. Our faulty memories in this case did not fail us. The food and the presentations were every bit as good as we remembered. I was about to bite into a carrot and Rick stopped me to say, “look at it before you eat it.” The carrot was sculpted into an extraordinarily beautiful representation of a butterfly. Food as a work of art may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for lovers of Thai food, it as an experience not to be missed!