by Kimberly Peiffer - 51 Reviews - 84 List
As Citysearch editor for Chicago, it's my duty to make my way through the Chicago restaurant, nightlife, spa and shopping scene to bring you the latest and greatest our city has to offer. Tough job, I know. Here are some of my all-time favorites in Chicago; some old, some new, all fabulous.
Updated: April 28, 2010
The wood-burning ovens at La Madia churn out thin-crust pizzas so authentic, I feel like I?m at a restaurant on the Italian coastline. Bonus for its extensive wine list, great salads and pastas; the cured olives are an appetizer must. This is where I go when I want a relaxing, unpretentious dinner.
This Old Town spot is fantastic in so many ways. There's the atmosphere--a little upscale, a little trendy--and the phenomenal people watching, and then there's the food. Start with bread and wine; follow it with my favorite dish in the city, the Chilean sea bass. It is melt-in-your-mouth irresistible and perfectly cooked. Finish with a slice of heaven, the red velvet cake.
I've visited many Chicago spas in my years as a beauty writer, but the Grecian-themed spa at the Elysian Hotel takes relaxation and pampering to a new level. Complete with water walls and mosaics, the spa is the perfect five-star vacation from reality. The lava shell massage or the age defying facial are divine.
Yes, it's full of boutiques that I can rarely afford to shop in, but I love to stroll down Oak Street in the Gold Coast and check out all the ritzy stores (and ritzy people). Whether it's dressed-to-the-nines women popping into David Yurman or brides-to-be searching for their dream wedding dress, it's a people-watching paradise.
During the summer, everyone who's anyone comes down to North Avenue Beach to soak up some well-deserved sunshine. Runners, bikers, sun-worshipers and afternoon boozers all flock to this sandy stretch of beach. Not only is it great to get some beach-time, but the people watching is out of this world.
When I'm in need of a cocktail, I go to Market, especially on a warm night. The atmosphere is trendy but sporty (there are TVs everywhere) and the rooftop terrace is the perfect spot to mingle, sip a cocktail (try the bubble-tini!) and take in the gorgeous city views.