photo credit: Veda Kilaru

Cavernous dining room with rows of red tables and high ceilings and a giant multi-armed bodhisattva statue at one end

Tao Chicago


River North

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCorporate CardsDancingWasting Your Time and Money
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You might eat at this sprawling, multi-level Asian-themed clubstaurant in River North for a few reasons. Perhaps you’re there to celebrate a teammate’s birthday with bottle service and sparklers on a Wednesday at 7pm. Maybe you’re a tourist with two cranky kids and chose Tao because it was the first option on OpenTable with every reservation time available. Or maybe you thought dinner would help you skip the line to get into the club (it won’t). Whatever the reason, the expensive food (ranging from dim sum to sushi to short ribs) isn’t the draw. The overly sweet orange chicken and pepper steak in an oily, oddly viscous sauce are worse than what you’d get at a chain. The fruity, watery cocktails aren’t much better, and you’ll probably have to wait awhile for a refill as the staff scurries around a dining room that could double as a stadium. Despite these issues, a night at Tao can be fun, assuming you show up on a weekend and are only here for the club part of the clubstaurant.

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