Chicago

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Dining' started by sfo1, Sep 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    Will be in Chicago for a few days and am looking for an unpretentious, hole in the wall type Italian Restaurant. Don't want to dress up etc, just want really good Italian food. Suggestions are appreciated
     
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  2. Jett Rink
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    Paging Gargoyle, Sweet Willie...
     
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  3. Remky
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    I haven't been there, but I've heard excellent things about Dinotto and apparently the owners are very nice. It's a nice looking place but it's perfectly fine for casual diners. It's in Old Town across the street from The Second City theater.
     
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  4. NYBanker
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    Just a gentle suggestion to readers to try to make titles a little more descriptive. "Chicago" as a thread title could be covering a myriad of Chicago-related topics. "Great casual Italian in Chicago" would probably drive more traffic...and certainly more applicable traffic.
     
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  5. adexpert
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    Does it need to be near where you're staying or ...?
     
  6. Sweet Willie
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    ha ha, sorry for delay.

    Tufano's
    1073 W Vernon Park Place
    Chicago IL60607
    make sure you peruse the chalkboard for specials of the day. Tufanos serves the best eggplant in the city IMO. Friday don't miss the bacalao

    I haven't been yet but hear good things about Salatinos
    626 South Racine Avenue
    Chicago, IL
    I have a client who's opinion I trust (as he eats Italian in Chicago VERY frequently) and he says the peppers & pork chops are out of this world.
     
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  7. sfo1
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    Sorry about the title, I would have thought that since it was under the Dining forum most would have known it had to do with dining, eating etc. will be more specific next time.
     
  8. NYBanker
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    NP. If you were asking for "best restaurant in Chicago," I'd have a view.

    I have learned something from reading this post!
     
  9. sfo1
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    So give me the "best" :)
     
  10. Sweet Willie
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    define what you mean by 'best' as this would vary among lots of folks, especially when it comes to dining.
     
  11. sfo1
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    Well to be honest what I would like to find is a really good "old fashioned diner" and a really good barbque restaurant, have gotten some suggestions on Italian.
     
  12. Sweet Willie
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    I don't really have any diner recs as it is generally not a restaurant I seek out. Chicago is blessed with a plethora of Greek owned restaurants, I do not mean Greek cuisine, but independent Greek owned restaurants that have a multi page diner inspired menu (that covers breakfast, lunch, dinner) where most everything is done well. These are the diners I seek out (mostly for breakfast & lunch), the cooking is not haught cuisine just good cheap food prepared well.
    To stick to what I am assuming is your definition of old fashioned diner or cafeteria, could be the following:
    Mannys: www.mannysdeli.com

    BBQ: for Chicago BBQ, we generally don't do brisket or pork shoulder/pulled pork well. What Chicago does well is ribs and personally I'm a rib tip guy, with my favorite being Lems on 75th St or Barbara Ann's (but most folks won't enjoy the atmosphere with bullet proof glass). That said, thankfully some up & coming BBQ places do prepare other types of meat well.
    Examples:
    Smoque BBQ www.smoquebbq.com
    Honey 1 BBQ www.honey1bbq.com

    I'd urge you to steer clear of Twin Anchors, Carsons, Gale Street Inn or The Fire Place Inn, which are horribly overdone mushy rib type places that are NOT cooking with a pit.

    Edited to add: I just had BBQ lamb ribs at Barn & Co, a near northside BBQ joint, putting out some darn good BBQ. Brisket is some of the best w/in 500 miles (note TX is further than 500 miles from Chicago;)) www.barnandcompany.com
     
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  13. UADomer08
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    Small and intimate italian: Angelina's in Wrigley - 3561 N Broadway
    BBQ - Lillie's Q in Wicker Park - 1856 W North Avenue

    Both are off the path, small locations with great food.
     
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  14. sfo1
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    Your right about the Fire Place Inn went there once maybe 20 years ago and did not enjoy it. Will take a look at the other suggestions you have mentioned.
     
  15. sfo1
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    Thanks for the suggestions, will take a look at both.
     
  16. Gargoyle
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    Sorry, this OP was right as I was heading to the airport so I missed it.
    For unpretentious Italian, I like Bruna's and the others around 24th and Oakley. It's Americanized Italian, of course, but still very nice and homey. There are also a couple others right near there. Not the easiest place to get to, however.
    http://www.brunasristorante.com/

    Per Willies suggestion of Manny's Deli, that's a great people watching spot, especially in the morning. (while they are open for dinner, they are really a breakfast/lunch spot). Breakfast and lunch, its jammed with politicians, taxi drivers, people from the Univ. of Illinois, and pretty much anyone else.
     
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  17. UADomer08
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    I'm with Gargoyle and Willie on this one. As far as delis go, Manny's is a jewel in Chicago. The corned beef and pastrami are second to none and the potato pancakes are worth the trip. Grab some mazza-ball soup, some spicy mustard and a bowl of horseradish to make any dish on their menu 5 star. Also a good place to chat with Chicago's finest before they head out on duty.
     
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  18. sfo1
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    Just looked at the menu for Manny's Deli, it is definately on the list, I even printed out a coupon for a free bowl of their soup, mmm good!
     
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  19. Sweet Willie
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    I'd add "in Chicago" to this statement.

    Katzs in NYC or Langers & Canters in LA will put Mannys to shame in my opinion. That said Mannys is certainly a delicious sandwich.
    Thanks for this suggestion, I keep meaning to get to this place and last night would have been perfect. Instead I did a tour of some of Chicago's fish houses, Hagen's www.hagensfishmarket.com being one of the stops, their FRESH fried oysters were terrific, smoked shrimp were so sweet & delicious.

    Our group was not impressed with the fried shrimp at Hagens so a bud suggested trying RedHot Ranch (2072 N. Western Avenue, Chicago 60647) for their fried shrimp. Who would have guessed, excellent, made on presmises, fried shrimp at a hot dog stand (who by the way serves a great hot dog & fries also). I also learned a new type of Chicago dog name, a Depression Dog. A Depression Dog features a regular-sized (eight per pound) natural casing all-beef frank instead of the jumbo (six per pound) dogs that often come on a standard Chicago dog. Steamed and served on a plain hot dog bun--no poppy seeds here--garnished with yellow mustard, onions, hot sport peppers, maybe some relish and always served with a giant mound of fresh cut, skin-on fries, either wrapped up with the hot dog or simply piled on top. Absolutely no pickles, giant slices of tomato, cucumber, lettuce, celery seed or ketchup.
     
  20. bjdriscoll

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    As has been said above, you can not go wrong with Manny's. The pastrami is amazing! There are so many great places to eat in Chicago, if you can narrow it down to a specific area of town or near where you're going to be, it would really help in providing recommendations.

    But, whenever someone asks me where to eat in Chicago, always near the top of my list is Byron's on Irving Park, just west of Sheridan in Lakeview, about 3 blocks north of Wrigley. Absolutely incredible Chicago hot dogs.
     
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  21. foady

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    My favorite Italian restaurant in Chicago is Sapori Trattoria. 2701 N Halsted.
     
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  22. bjdriscoll

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    Sitting in the C club at ORD right now enjoying a Honkers wishing there was a Malnati's deep dish to go with it!
     
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  23. Sweet Willie
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    with advanced notice, these things can happen. I've brought deep dish or Italian Beefs to ORD before to enjoy w/FTers, friends, family when they've layed over before. The looks & questions from fellow pax as we are chowing down (on the seats in the ticketing area) are quite comical "where did you get that/those ??!!??" :D
     
  24. bjdriscoll

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    That is an amazing idea! What are you doing Sunday for dinner?? ;) I truly think one of the things I miss the most about living in Chicago is the food. Culinary delights can be found all over town. Plus, great people.

    Thanks for the idea, Willie!
     
  25. Sweet Willie
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    a couple Sundays (posted in MP Meetups Forum) ago we had a ~18 person MP & FT dim sum lunch in Chinatown at Ming Hin www.minghinchicago.com/dimsum.html Phoenix is probably the most well known dim sum restaurant in Chinatown so I was pleased to try a different dim sum place. Ming Hin was delicious.

    Back to Chicago food, the iconic Chicago Style Hot Dog.
    In my opinion a good dog must be in a casing so that it snaps when one bites into it. Spicing is also important.
    So I hadn't had a good hot dog in awhile & was in S Des Plaines, so I continued south on River Road to Gene & Jude's
    Gene Judes.jpg
    located at 2720 River Road in River Grove IL. Sorry I only have a pic of their sign as once I was served the delicous dog & fries (fries are freshly cut on premise just before frying), I couldn't resist starting to eat & realized only after I was done I should have taken a pic of my meal :D Gene & Jude's serves what is called a depression style dog, only mustard, relish, onions, sport peppers & the fries are then wrapped along with the dog. Some folks eat the dog with fries on it but I'm a purist & pluck my fries off of my dog. Because Gene & Jude's is so anti-ketchup on their dogs, they don't serve any at all, I normally would like some with my fries but they are delicious enough being so fresh that they really don't need ketchup.
     

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