Hmmmmmm, if that question was posed to you, where would you dine in Chicago?
A Chowhound.com poster recently asked that question to fellow posters:
"Okay. I have a friend coming into town from Columbus, Ohio. We are going to dinner on March 14th and 16th. He told me last night - 'let's go somewhere very nice and money is not an object.' I told him to let me know what he liked and I would find a place knowing I would get good advice from the Chowhounds. He said he loves Italian and American foods. Something where it is relaxing, the atmosphere is great, as well as the food. He not been to Chicago in 10 years. He is staying at the W Hotel on Lakeshore for his conference. And is Spiaggia THE place for Italian?"
And here is just a taste of the interesting responses that came immediately flooding in:
"If someone told me, 'let's go somewhere very nice and money is not an object,' meaning that he is looking for something totally above and beyond anything else, the first three places I would try to get a reservation at are Alinea, Everest, and Avenues."
"Spiaggia would absolutely be the top high-end Italian. If money were no object I would do the Tour at Alinea with upgraded wine pairings. That will set you back about $400 per person without tax or tip. You're a bit too late for this, but the Foie Gras tasting menu at Avenues (pre-ban) was really outstanding. It was about $250 pp, not including wine, tax or tip. Tru would be another option, but the atmosphere might not be exactly what you're looking for (I love Tru, but it's a little like eating at an art gallery)."
"There is no question Spiaggia is the best Italian restaurant in the city. Other top restaurants are Everest and Les Nomades. I don't like Trotter's; Alinea is a diffrent game - small plates, unusual food; high quality."
"I had dinner tonight at Les Nomades . . . . It was a very, very good meal, and I would heartily reccommend it to anyone. The cost, with two bottles of wine and cocktails for a party of four was reasonable: $600 or so before tip. The food and the service were both outstanding."
"Of course it is all subjective, but I think Alinea is absolutely worth every penny. While Everest is good, Alinea provides a truly unique experience. I just don't think Everest stands out...it is very solid fine dining though."
And here's the one that had me cracking up to no end:
"Having read through this whole thread, I am wondering whether your friend realizes that Chicago isn't Columbus, Ohio. When your Country Mouse says 'money is no object,' does he know what he's getting into? Could you google and find out what 'somewhere very nice' means in Columbus? Because there is a whole world out there where a $600 dinner isn't in the picture—not anybody's picture."