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Chicago Dining

Windy City Favorites

Gene and Georgetti's

Gene & Georgetti's is Chicago's most famous steakhouse. Some of the best meat and potatoes in town are to be found within its dark, classic setting, which explains why on the Tuesday night when we dropped by for dinner, the wait for a table was more than an hour. To meet the demand, the new owner, Tony Dupretti, just added more seats so that he can now accommodate 300 patrons. Even though the restaurant is known for steak, those who do not eat red meat will not be disappointed, as the menu includes an extensive selection of Italian specialties, seafood and pasta. We started with excellent fried ravioli that were made from scratch in-house. For entrees, we ordered filet mignon, one of the best we've ever tasted, and lobster tail de jonghe, which was beautifully prepared and very garlicly. Their tiramisu also hit the spot. Although Gene & Georgetti's is not inexpensive, the food was delicious and the portions were generous, making it an excellent value.

Gene & Georgetti's, 300 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610. Tel. 312-527-3718. Open Monday to Saturday, lunch and dinner.

The Cape Cod Room

The Cape Cod Room, as would be expected from its name, specializes in seafood. Just off of the lobby in the elegant Drake Hotel, it opened originally for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair and remains one of the best places in the Windy City to eat fish and shell fish. Its interior is modeled after a ship's and its walls are lined with nautical paraphernalia and fish caught and mounted by patrons. We began our meal with red snapper soup, laced with sherry, and followed with blackened swordfish and lobster thermidor. The thermidor sauce was delicate, creamy and brought out the natural flavor of the catch. The coating on the swordfish was properly crisp and spicy. The desserts, which are made in the restaurant's bakery, included a raisin-studded, delightfully sweet bread pudding.

Cape Cod Room, Drake Hotel, 140 E. Walton Place, Chicago, IL 60611. Tel. 312-787-2200. Open daily, lunch and dinner. Expensive.


Spiaggia, an award-winning Italian restaurant, is located on the second level of the One Magnificent Mile Building. The dining room is elegant and because of the floor-to-ceiling windows, almost every seat looks out onto a beautiful view of Lake Michigan. We were fortunate enough to enjoy Chef Paul Bartolotta's tasting menu of seven courses. Among the dishes were rabbit, duck, octopus, pasta, snapper, salad and a dessert of marscarpone torte. The sommelier chose three bottles of wine, a Gewürztraminer, a Chardonay and a Teroldego Rotaliano and wrote the significant information about the vintages on a card for us to take home. Both the food and wine were extraordinary. For those who want to sample the same ambrosial fare, albeit in less formal surroundings, Cafe Spiaggia is next to the main dining area.

Spiaggia, One Magnificient Mile Building, 980 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. Tel. 312-280-2750. Open Monday to Saturday, lunch; daily for dinner. Expensive.

--Bruce Fancher