Chicago Restaurants - Gold Coast; Rush and Division Area
"I think what sets us apart is there are three owners, and we're all here," Susan T. Gayford says, referring to co-owners John Pontarelli and chef William Farrah. A pianist performs in the evening in the first-level room. The 1,400 photos displayed throughout the restaurant feature musicians, meat purveyors, city fathers, gangsters and every Chicago mayor. (The mayors and the Mafia members are separated by a bar.) "We're a history book of Chicago," Gayford says. "We have all the mayors. Not even City Hall has pictures of all the mayors."
Hours: Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Dinner: 4-11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 4-11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4-11 p.m. Sunday.
Average dinner entrée $25 and up. Cigar bar, no children, private room available.
This two-story restaurant/lounge is comfortably clubby and upscale without being intimidating. Though you might expect a dress code, there isn't one, meaning blue-jeaned weekenders drink and dine next to the most expensive after-work suits. The lounge is downstairs, where a long bar, couches and easy chairs offer the chance to sit and enjoy a heady cocktail. The TVs throughout the bar are usually on just for local sports games, and the sound is kept off for conversation's sake. The restaurant upstairs has a race-track theme. There's enough cherrywood and leather to make folks feel like they're in the clubhouse at Churchill Downs. On the weekends, like many establishments in the area, Tavern on Rush gets jammed. Fortunately, it attracts an easy-going crowd of celebrants.
Hours: Lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., daily; Brunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday; Dinner: 3 p.m-12 a.m., daily Bar: 11 a.m.-2 a.m., daily
Average Entrée Prices $25 and up. No kids. Reservations suggested, no private rooms.
There are dozens of things to eat and drink here before you get down to the main business of your visit: consuming a slice of one of the 34 flavors of cheesecake. You can start with a grilled vegetable pizza and finish with white chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake. Or you can go from crusted filet of salmon to chocolate mousse cheesecake. Or have fettucini with sun-dried tomatoes as your entree and double chocolate upside-down Jack Daniels cheesecake for dessert.
Hours: 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11-12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Sunday.
Average Dinner Entrée price $15-$25. Casual and child friendly.
Hugo Ralli, Steve Lombardo and Larry Shane, the muscle behind Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse neighborhoody spot with Luxbar. Don't look for a neighborhood dive though; the interior of the two-story space features black marble and mahogany walls.
The menu is above the average bar fare; look for small plate choices like tuna tartare with fried wonton chips, a selection of sliders (like filet mignon and pulled pork), plus sandwiches, salads and desserts. Heartier fare includes buttermilk-fried chicken and pork chops.
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m.-3 a.m. Saturday; 9 a.m.-2 a.m. Sunday.
Average Dinner entrée price $15-$25. No Children, casual attire, out-door seating.
With its dark, sexy interior and downtempo music, Tsunami has attracted a crowd of sushi-loving Gold Coast clubgoers for years. This eclectic Japanese restaurant features spicy tuna and broiled freshwater eel at its sushi bar, but it also serves up more familiar fare, such as pan-roasted teriyaki chicken and beef tenderloin with sesame. You also have your choice of decor: On the flashy first level the look is bold and brassy, with bright lights, red walls and black leather booths trimmed in gold. The second-level Sake Lounge is lit by candlelight and a glowing fireplace, and the atmosphere is more romantic.
Hours: 5-10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5-11:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 5-10 p.m. Sunday.
Average dinner entrée $15-$25. No Children, party room and out-door seating available.
Cafe Spiaggia is the easygoing younger sibling of Spiaggia, the upscale Italian restaurant down the hall. In the Cafe, chef Tony Mantuano tones down the cost, but not the devotion to simple, seasonal food. There's no dress code, but the neighborhood regulars do radiate a certain ready refinement. The dining room glows with modern Italian furnishings, a marble floor and dramatic 15th Century frescoes reproduced from an Italian villa in Mantua, Italy. Hand-blown Venitian blue glass light fixtures complete the traditional yet modern vibe. Some tables also offer a dramatic lake view.
Hours: Dinner: 5:30-9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 5:30-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday
Average Entrée Price $15-$25, children’s menu, casual attire.
Leather booths, polished wood floors and marine-themed decor make this neighborhood institution, housed in a century-old building, cozy and inviting. Pete Tuzi, his brother and two sisters have owned this popular rib joint for more than 15 years. Twin Anchors is a favorite of neighborhood residents -- one can often wait over an hour to get a table. In addition to ribs, the menu offers steaks, seafood, burgers and salads. And if you get carried away by Frank Sinatra crooning on the jukebox, there is a house rule you should keep in mind: "Positively no dancing."
Hours: 5-11:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday; noon-12 a.m. Saturday; noon-10:30 p.m. Sunday
Average entrée price $15-$25, $8-$15
Named after the Gibson martini (garnished with an onion), this steakhouse celebrates all things big and brawny. Says owner John Colletti: "We're known for big martinis, big steaks and big desserts." Indeed, the restaurant's 24-ounce porterhouse speaks for itself. There are also walloping desserts, including fresh strawberry shortcake and the chocolate-nut-and-caramel "turtle" treat.
Hours: Restaurant: 11 a.m.-midnight, seven days; Bar: The bar menu is served until 1 a.m., bar closes at 2 a.m. seven days; Seasonal Outdoor Cafe: 11 a.m - 11 p.m., seven days
Average entrée price $15-$25
The atmosphere here will make you feel like one of the characters in "The Quiet American," Graham Greene's novel of Vietnam. Upstairs in the bar, ceiling fans churn the air, and the room is furnished with wicker chairs and potted ferns. Unlike the Vietnamese restaurants on Argyle Street, which are run by the generation that survived the Vietnam War and often have American-influenced menus, Le Colonial suggests the period of French colonialism that lasted until 1954. The photographs on the wall are all pre-Dien Bien Phu: rickshaw drivers hauling carts through the streets, peasants plowing paddies behind water buffalo. The dinner menu is all Vietnamese; French influences are evident on the wine list, which has selections from Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire valley, Alsace and Champagne.
Hours: Lunch: Noon-2:30 p.m. Monday-Sunday; Dinner: 5-11 p.m. Monday-Friday; 5 p.m.-midnight Saturday; 5-10 p.m.
Average Dinner Entrée $15-$25. Not family friendly, business casual attire.
Legend has it two cab drivers were frustrated with rush hour traffic, so they decided to ditch the taxis, partner up with a pal, and go into the pizza business. The original Gino's opened in 1966; the chain now has multiple locations in the city and suburbs. The draw here is the gut-busting deep-dish pizza; each pie is loaded with heady amounts of cheese and chunky tomato sauce and baked to order (plan ahead, the pies take 30-45 minutes).
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon-10 p.m. Sunday.
Average Dinner entrée price $8-$15. Casual and child-friendly.
Named after the famous Manhattan watering hole, this upscale bistro attracts a more mature clientele than most of its Rush and Division neighbors. The decor features carved oak, brass railings and chic black-and-white tiles. There's another restaurant upstairs for serious dining; it features American and Italian grilled meats. Music piped through the place starts with '60s rock and rolls back in time to include Frank Sinatra and other vintage crooners.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Friday; 11:30 .-3 a.m. Saturday; 10:00 a.m.-2 a.m. Sunday.
Average Dinner Entrée $8-$15, no children, cigar and microbrew bar. Private Rooms available.
It's all appetizers, all the time at this subterranean spot in the heart of the Gold Coast. It's a cute alternative to some of the pricier spots around this 'hood to grab a cocktail and a nibble. The menu goes for a global influence, with highlights that include a grilled tilapia with mango coulis and a grilled rib-eye with garlic-mashed potatoes. The small plates and appetizer are geared towards sharing, and everything is $11 or less.
Hours: opens at 4 p.m. daily,
Average entrée price $8-$15; no children’s menu.
A revamped menu brought down the prices here a bit, which is good because food is cooked fresh and the service is amiable. Also offers a touch of New Orleans with fresh beignets starting at 6 a.m. Carry-out is the norm, but the grilled char-dogs, chicken wings, burgers and fries can be eaten-in at the limited counter space.
Hours: 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 6 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday
Average Dinner Entrée under $8.