For Chicago, The Aviary in the West Loop is the special occasion cocktail bar. It’s from the same owners as Alinea, and you’ll find elaborate, Alinea-esque drinks on the menu here. Cocktails start around $28, and vary in the amount they look like science experiments. For example, The Jungle Bird has little clear tapioca-like balls filled with rum that pop in your mouth, and the Old Fashioned goes even further - it comes in a ball of ice you need to snap with a rubber band. You can make reservations, but you can also walk in (there might be a wait, but that will give you some time to quickly reread your eighth grade science textbook).
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Ramen Takeya is a reliable and safe bet of a ramen joint in Fulton Market. The hip space has a few tables and plenty of room at the counter bar.
The Garage, where you'll get awesome tacos and a different food truck every day of the week. This is one of the cooler lunch spots in town.
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Monteverde is an Italian restaurant in the West Loop. It sounds boring on paper, but there’s so much more to it than that. Excellent food all around.
Somerset is a restaurant in the Gold Coast serving excellent American food that you should be eating immediately.
Beatnik is a restaurant and cocktail lounge in West Town serving average food in a beautiful environment.
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