Where does Peter dine in Chicago?
By Jeri Barry
For the second in a series of posts highlighting some of Peter’s favorite dining spots outside the Fox Valley I recently asked him about Chicago. As the weather warms up and many local residents find themselves packing the car and heading out for road trips, Chicago is a popular destination. With an abundance of great dining choices to be had there, the decision about where to eat can be very daunting, which led me to think that Peter’s insight into some of his favorites might be useful. I myself will be in Chicago this weekend and definitely plan to check out at least one of Peter’s picks! Here are four that stand out for him:
52 W. Illinois St. Chicago, IL 60654
Here’s what Peter had to say: RPM is always crowded and has an exciting vibe. The service here is knowledgeable and very friendly. The atmosphere is sophisticated and the dress is business casual. Reservations are a must and can be hard to come by, so plan ahead if you know you are going to be in Chicago. The bar is great and is an option for dinner if you find yourself without a reservation. The menu has a lot of variety, I would think there would be something there for everyone. They have small bites, pastas, pizzas, entrees, specialty cheeses and daily specials.
Favorite menu items: Having been there many times in the past few years I have had the opportunity to try almost everything they offer. My “not to miss” favorites include: the shredded Brussels sprouts salad, the lobster caprese salad and the sweet pea risotto. Find the complete menu here.
Longman and Eagle
2657 N. Kedzie Ave. Chicago IL 60647
What Peter had to say: This is a casual and very hip neighborhood modern day saloon and bar with a few hotel rooms for rent upstairs. The atmosphere is very casual and pub-like which directs all the attention to the great food. There is a wall full of bourbon and other whiskey served straight up like the old West. They don’t take reservations so you may have to wait for a table but if you want an atmosphere of locals as opposed to tourists this is the place! The menu changes often depending on local ingredients available.
Favorite menu items: The roasted marrow bones with bacon shallot jam were amazing! I also enjoyed the pork belly, BBQ shrimp and grits with shishito peppers and collard greens as well as the halibut with ramps and morel mushrooms. See the dinner and brunch menus here.
663 N. State St. Chicago IL 60647
What Peter had to say: I have been going to Bijan’s for late night dining since 1986 when I was a young chef just getting my start. This has always been a popular spot for chefs to eat after they are done cooking for everyone else. Because Bijan’s is open 365 days a year until 4:00 AM it is the perfect spot for anyone who works during normal meal times or is looking for late night dining. I like the comfortable yet hip atmosphere here and the fact that they have a nice street patio is great in the summer.
Favorite menu items: The American cuisine here is all delicious. Items that I have had recently and really enjoyed are the French onion soup, pate plate and the burgers. The menu is extensive and there is definitely something here for everyone. Find their lunch, dinner, late-night dining and brunch menus here.
43 East Ohio St. Chicago IL 60647
What Peter had to say: Eataly opened in December of 2013 and can be described as an Italian mega market. It is comprised of two stories jam packed with all things Italian and has been referred to by Chicago Magazine as being “a glorious, infuriating and very tasty circus.” Consisting of 8 restaurants, a cheese counter, wine shop, gelateria, 2 coffee bars, a brewery, bakery and bookstore there is definitely something here for everyone. The decor is functional industrial with exposed ducts, hanging lights and a giant wheel telling you what is in season. See the complete review by Chicago Magazine here. If you go be prepared for crowds, especially on the weekends.
Favorite menu items: Peter ate at the pizza and pasta restaurant predictably named: La Pizza La Pasta. He found the pizza to be Neapolitan style baked in a wood burning oven with quality ingredients such as buffalo mozzarella and peeled San Marzano tomatoes. The pastas were also delicious and all made from scratch. See the Eataly website here.