Whether you like pizza and pinot or steak and sushi, you’ll find it in Chicago
With the 2013 AAOS Annual Meeting being held in the Academy’s hometown of Chicago, AAOS Now turned to some local fellows to get their recommendations on the best the city has to offer—from restaurants to relaxing hot spots. Wellington Hsu, MD, a member of the AAOS Now editorial board, and Craig Della Valle, MD, a member of the Annual Meeting Committee, put together the following list of palate-pleasing dining options.
59 W. Grand Ave, 312-329-0400
“A modern American take on an ancient Italian concept and the best Neapolitan-type pizza in Chicago,” says Dr. Hsu. Named for an Italian cabinet traditionally used to knead dough and store bread, La Madia is an urban restaurant that upholds Italian tradition, with pizza dough and pasta made from scratch daily.
1321 W. Grand Ave
“It isn’t Chicago-style but it is one of the best pizzas you can find—thin crust with fantastic toppings (the meat pizza is particularly good) along with friendly staff and a great beer list,” counters Dr. Della Valle. “They don’t take reservations, but tables are usually available.” For best results with the thin crust, Coalfire recommends ordering pizzas with just two or three toppings.
Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
60 E. Grand Ave, 312-379-5637
Although known more for seafood, this place topped both lists as a personal favorite for the best steaks in town, particularly the bone-in steaks. “Fantastic service, great sides, and the best dessert in the city (Havana dream pie),” says Dr. Hsu. “Reservations are tough to get, so choose a nontraditional time (lunch or early dinner) to eat,” advises Dr. Della Valle.
980 N. Michigan Ave
Another restaurant that made both lists as “best Italian.” “Tremendous service, beautiful dining room, one-star Michelin rating,” notes Dr. Hsu. “It’s more formal dining with an outstanding wine list,” agrees Dr. Della Valle. “Try the cafe for a less expensive option.” Spiaggia means beach in Italian, and the restaurant overlooks Chicago’s Oak Street Beach on the shores of Lake Michigan.
1359 W. Taylor St, 312-226-5550
“Fantastic, authentic Italian on Taylor Street,” says Dr. Della Valle. “The salads are phenomenal (particularly anything with farro) and the Ligurian-style focaccia with fresh soft cow cheese and honey is a winner.” The restaurant accepts reservations, so he advises planning ahead. The 10-seat bar is made of 180-year-old refurbished barn wood and has two frozen taps—one for local beer and one for chilled house-infused vodka.
2239 N. Clybourn Ave
Located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, Macku Sushi is “arguably the best sushi in town,” says Dr. Hsu. He points out, though, that the dining room is small, so advance planning is necessary to secure a table.
600 W. Chicago Ave
“Great sushi and Japanese food in a slick and fun restaurant setting,” says Dr. Della Valle. It’s immediately recognizable, with its copper-wrapped revolving door and red sheet awning overhead.
3819 N. Broadway, 773-244-9866
Although a bit north of the Loop, in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, Hearty has “the best brunch in town,” says Dr. Hsu, who recommends the lavender French toast. The restaurant claims to “honor the foods that have become a part of our American culture while contemporizing them for the modern palate.”
8 E. Superior St, 312-573-6744
Located in the Peninsula Hotel—“one of the prettiest hotels in the city,” according to Dr. Della Valle—Shanghai Terrace has a 1930s supper club decor and promises guests a memorable meal. “Stop in for a drink in the lobby,” says Dr. Della Valle, “and then move on to authentic Chinese at the Shanghai Terrace.”
401 N. Wabash Ave
According to Dr. Hsu, an “elegant dining room, tremendous service, and great views of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan” are hallmarks of this restaurant, located on the 16th floor of the Trump International Hotel and Tower. It’s “the ultimate in fine dining.”
953 W. Fulton Market
“It’s the hottest restaurant in town with four seasonal menus,” says Dr. Hsu. “But you’ll need to purchase a ticket for a particular day of dining, so planning ahead is key.”
1723 N. Halsted St, 312-867-0110
“It’s the city’s only 3-star Michelin restaurant,” says Dr. Hsu. Currently ranked as No. 7 on a list of the world’s 50 best restaurants, Alinea offers a prix fixe menu; reservations are only taken at certain times during the day.
955 W. Fulton Market,
“You probably won’t be able to get into Alinea or Next, but it is possible to score a table for fantastic, creative drinks and appetizers at their bar outpost,” says Dr. Della Valle. A limited number of reservations are accepted daily.
At the Annual Meeting
A complimentary restaurant reservation service, along with dining and menu information, will be available at McCormick Place, in Academy Hall B. Provided by Choose Chicago, the service gives you access to the city’s finest dining and culinary venues. View the options at www.choosechicago.com