Amy Dordek Dolinsky's TOP Restaurant Ideas for Chicagoland Learning Leaders

Last Updated Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Learning leaders collaborate in a variety of venues and frequently we want a nearby restaurant to have a networking dining experience or meeting. Is the food or service good? Is it interesting? Will the conversation  & peer-networking with my colleague be comfortable and fruitful?

Amy Dordek Dolinsky, President at Uptick Associates, frequently provides updates to what's hot in Chicagoland restaurants. Each summer with her husband Steve Dolinsky, ABC7 Chicago Food Reporter (alias Hungry Hound), Amy throws an annual pig roast in Bucktown, a back-alley affair with celeb chefs. Since Amy frequents all of the new & hot  restaurants in Chicagoland, we have reached out to Amy to share some recommendations for us!

We encourage you to dine with learning & talent development leaders at one of Amy's Top 25 recommendations – and let's VOTE on the top restaurant at the 2012 annual Learning Leaders Conference!

For your convenience, here is a link to this webpage which you can cut-n-paste for sharing: Amy Dordek Dolinsky's 2012 TOP 25 Restaurant Ideas for Chicagoland Learning Leaders

CHICAGO DOWNTOWN - Near North Side/River North

Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf (2013 New Entry)

Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf – steaks, shellfish platters & hearty pastas; dark room
Neighborhood: Near North Side, River North 218 W. Kinzie St. Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 624-8154
Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf

The Boarding House (2013 New Entry)

The Boarding House – wine list; vaguely Quebecois-influenced; French/American.
Neighborhood: Near North Side, River North 720 N Wells St Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 280-0720
The Boarding House

Frontera Grill, Topolobampo & XOCO

Frontera Grill/Topolobampo & Xoco – best authentic Mexican
Neighborhood: River North 445 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60610 312-661-1434
Frontera Grill/Topolobampo & Xoco

Slurping Turtle

Slurping Turtle – Small-plate Japanese fare; best new restaurant in Chicago hands down
Neighborhood: Near North Side 116 W Hubbard St Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 464-0466
Slurping Turtle

GT Fish & Oyster

GT Fish & Oyster – Great fish and fun place – it’s amazing!
Neighborhood: River North 531 N Wells St Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 929-3501

Roka Akor

Roka Akor – new sushi and robata grill place – good cooked options and plenty for anyone who isn’t a sushi lover
Neighborhood: River North 456 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 477-7652
Roka Akor

The Paris Club

The Paris Club – new hot Lettuce Entertain You French restaurant
Neighborhood: River North 59 W. Hubbard St. Chicago, IL 60654 312-595-0800
The Paris Club

CHICAGO DOWNTOWN - Near West Side, West Loop

La Sirena Clandestina (2013 New Entry)

La Sirena Clandestina – Brazilian-influenced, great cocktails
Neighborhood: Fulton Market, West Loop 954 W Fulton Market Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 226-5300
La Sirena Clandestina

Embeya (2013 New Entry)

Embeya – modern, progressive Asian ... everyone I sent there absolutely loves it! It’s kiddie corner from Blackbird in River West.
Neighborhood: Near West Side 564 W Randolph St Chicago, IL 60661 (312) 612-5640

Maude’s Liquor Bar

Maude’s Liquor Bar – My husband, Steve, loves romantic French places
Neighborhood: West Loop 840 W Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 243-9712
Maudes Liquor Bar

The Publican

The Publican – coolest gastropub
Neighborhood: West Town 837 W. Fulton Market Chicago, IL 60607 312-733-9555
The Publican

Piccolo Sogno

Piccolo Sogno – Great Italian
Neighborhood: Warehouse District 464 N. Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60622-7687 312-421-0077

For our June 16, 2011 RMHC fundraising auction, Piccolo Sogno generously donated a certificate for food and wine pairing for two people.

Piccolo Sogno

Girl and the Goat

Girl and the Goat – hottest new restaurant
Neighborhood: West Loop 809 W. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60607 312-492-6262
Girl and the Goat



Nana – wonderful neighborhood café with a Latin twist
Neighborhood: Bridgeport/Sox 3267 S. Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60608 312-929-2486 Price range: $$ ($9-$15)

Triple Crown

Triple Crown – great Chinatown restaurant for Dim Sum or Dinner
Neighborhood: Chinatown 2217 S. Wentworth Ave. Chicago, IL 60616 312-842-0088
Triple Crown

CHICAGO - North Side (Wicker Park, Logan Square)


Arami – great sushi restaurant
Neighborhood: West Town 1829 W. Chicago Ave. Chicago , IL 60622 312-243-1535

Lula Café

Lula Café – great farm to table food
Neighborhood: Logan Square 2537 N. Kedzie Blvd. Chicago, IL 60647 773-489-9554
Lula Café

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate – great brunch spot
Neighborhood: Bucktown/Wicker Park 1747 N. Damen Ave. Chicago, IL 60647 773-489-1747
Hot Chocolate

Belly Shack

Belly Shack – cool funky fusion –Korean/Puerto Rican
Neighborhood: Logan Square 1912 N. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60647 773-252-1414
Belly Shack

Smoque BBQ

Smoque –amazing BBQ place
Neighborhood: Irving Park/Avondale 3800 N. Pulaski Rd. Chicago, IL 60641 773-545-7427

CHICAGOLAND - Northern Suburbs

Guildhall Restaurant & Bar (2013 New Entry)

Guildhall Restaurant & Bar 694 Vernon Ave Glencoe, IL 60022 (847) 835-8100
Guildhall Restaurant & Bar

Prairie Grass Café

Prairie Grass Café –great casual food by amazing chefs
601 Skokie Blvd. Northbrook, IL 60062 847-205-4433
Prairie Grass Café

Taboun Grill - Kosher Grill

Taboun Grill - Kosher Grill – best chicken shwarma and kebobs
8808 Gross Point Road, Skokie, IL, 60077 Phone (847) 965-1818
Taboun Grill - Kosher Grill

CHICAGOLAND - Northwest Suburbs

Mitsuwa Marketplace

Mitsuwa Marketplace – the best food court ever – all Asian
100 East Algonquin Road Arlington Heights, IL 60005-4618 (847) 956-6699
Mitsuwa Marketplace

CHICAGOLAND - Western Suburbs


Vie – the best restaurant in the Western suburbs and a great chef
4471 Lawn Ave. Western Springs, IL 60558 708-246-2082 Price range: $$$ ($16-$25)

Johnnies Beef

Johnnies Beef – Best Italian Beef
7500 W. North Ave. Elmwood Park, IL 60707-4140 708-452-6000
Johnnies Beef

You can follow Amy on twitter @adordek or click here to view Amy's Personal Online Profile to connect with his or her network of learning professionals. Amy also is featured in Steve Dolinsky's blog with additional fun Chicago food facts.