For those of you coming to Chicago this weekend, here is Elie Tamer’s Chicago restaurant map . Elie is your kind of foodie: very good taste, unswayed by hype. And he has been to every restaurant in the greater Chicago area, so he knows what’s good. The center of mass is slightly North of the conference cetner but there are many options close by. I asked him for some recent recommendations and he wrote to me:
all good places, but less my style:in that area there. recently been to: Ria and balsan (in the elysian hotel… really nice and $$$), girl and the goat, publican, purple pig… all good but very flashy….for out of towners, mexican here is amazing and they can try xoco(lunch sandwich)/frontera/topo there next to the AEA on clark and salpicon in old town,and mercat a la planxa (spanish inspired on south michigan) also if people are interested in steak, there are a ton there (gibsons on rush (you might run into the kardashians here it is so hip) and gene and georgettis on franklin are two examples) and of course avec is always good -really good.
I would echo his Mexican recommendations. They mostly tilt toward the high end, but you can’t go wrong. Another addition is Big Star Tacos, which Emir Kamenica recently turned me on to. Topolobampo is the best of course but good luck getting a reservation. There is the bar/cafe attached called Frontera Grill which does not take reservations but my urgent insider advice is not to go there. Especially not Saturday night around 8.
Update: Xoco/Frontera/Topo all closed through Jan 9.