Chicago >Food & Dining > Bandera Chicago
535 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061141.891881 -87.624122
Neighborhoods: Near North Side, Central
My wife and I ended up stopping in here for dinner last Saturday night. Although the restaurant was a little crowded and had a fairly long wait, we were able to get a seat at the bar. My wife had the salmon and I had the prime rib, both of which were very good. The restaurant has a cozy atmosphere and is a great place to catch a casual dinner when in the city.
The artichoke is divine and can devour two of them and a glass of wine which is a perfect dinner. The atmosphere is relaxing especially if you enjoy great live music. The macho salad is also great but go for the champagne dressing and ask for it to be done the old way with the roasted chicken warm.
The best French Dip sandwich ever! – Stopped for lunch, and the menu said "Our Famous french Dip sandwich". I asked the waiter why it was famous, and she said just because it was so darn good, so I ordered it.
It came out on a warm flaky light bread roll, with hot shaved medium prime rib, with this awesome horseradish mayonnaise. The Au Ju was rich and thick, and very tasty...not like the watered down broth you get at other places.
I strongly recommend this Chicago landmark.
AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME! – As if the wonderful enviornment isn't enough. It's great here!! I was introduced to Bandera on a date a few years back and now i'm here on a regular basis! There macho salad is delicious! The rotisserie chicken, as you'll noticed cooking just right when you walk in, is so tender! perfect for salads! excellent wine choice! the best part is the piano player on a nice romantic relaxed evening! i would recommend checking out bandera in the winter months. fresh snow .. sitting by the window over looking michigan ave and the lights.. beautiful! no complaints!
Great, hidden place – I am embarrassed to admit this: as someone born and raised in Chicago who has been up and down the Magnificent Mile many, many times, I never knew Bandera was a restaurant! I always thought it was some high-end clothing store.
I was visiting my hometown for a conference in March 2010, and was looking for somewhere to eat that wasn't crowded with hundreds of conference attendees. After checking an app on my iPod Touch (Urban Spoon), I went to Bandera (which was directly across the street from my hotel).
This is a great place if you are dining alone, on a date, or with a group. I thought the atmosphere was very calm and relaxing, especially overlooking the hustle and bustle of Michigan Avenue from the window. There was live jazz music and the service was great. I found the staff to be very friendly and knowledgable of the menu. My server recommended blackened and grilled Hawaiian Amberjack...I haven't stopped thinking about it since that night.
The menu items are a bit pricey, but I think it's reasonable considering the portion sizes. I will definitely be back the next time I am in town.
Great Food – This is one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago simply for the Center-Cut Filet with Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Spinach. It's delicious. ( And when I'm feeling really gluttonous, the House-Made Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches for dessert. Heavenly. )
They have live jazz musicians playing on the weekend and I enjoy the candle lit tables. It is on the pricey side - but it's worth it. It's conveniently located across the street from the 600 N. Michigan movie theater so my friends and I often make it a part of our "Dinner and Movie" plans.
Consistently good food. – For the first time in Bandera’s history, we were served by someone whose opening remark was not “Have you dined with us before?” It could have been all downhill from there.
Many ghosts-of-business-past haunt Bandera’s space and we were certain Bandera would soon be just another apparition. Had we known they had Hillstone Restaurant Group’s money behind it we would not have been so cavalier with the predictions. But financial security has a price and as any seasoned diner will attest, chains like HRG, Grand Lux and McCormick and Schmick have a rigid, corporate feel that removes the distinction from even the wait staff’s appearance and personality. Having worked a block away and eaten at Bandera over 50 times I find it uncanny that I have never had the same server more than once and yet never has the experience deviated in so much as a single variable right down to the opening question. Except today.
Naturally, we wondered what else would be different. The menu was the same. The “soup” was still chicken chili which was not as spicy as we remembered but still delicious. The Veggie Burger was still the same outstanding mish-mash of guilt-free garden gunk that happens to be the best such mess in the city. Even the half-chicken which is the best item on the menu is still there having increased only $1 in 6 years to a budget-bursting $16. I figure that’s an inflation-adjusted 10 bucks. Even ordering it with all white-meat does not incur additional cost (as it does at sister restaurant Houston’s). However, they will get this wrong almost 25% of the time through either waiter omission or kitchen illiteracy. So how does Bandera remain so inexpensive?
We’ve already established that the restaurant must turn-over all of its staff every month or so. Bad even by food-service standards. HRG must really squeeze the hell out of its employees. And today, unlike most work lunches, we ordered drinks. A Bloody Mary costs $9 and contains little more than 2 shots of liquid. The Mimosa contains ice and mostly orange juice but was served in a huge wine glass. Ice with Champagne? Who’s idea was that? Just serve it in a normal flute and skip the fillers.
In all, Bandera is a fine restaurant with a great view of the avenue below it. The food is far better than it needs to be for the price and unless you’re trying to get drunk the meal won’t cost you much. Just be careful asking the staff robots to deviate from script because such curveballs will almost always guarantee a wait.
BANDERA, CHICAGO – Their cole slaw with peanuts was AMAZING. not pulpy, not vinigarey, tasted like a touch of Thai. The fish sandwich was unbelievable. Automatic favorite restaurant if they can make a 16 year old like fish
Might as well be Cheesecake Factory! – It's a chain, people! WHY would you go here when there are thousands of better independent restaurants in the city?? I truly find this place to not only be a tourist trap, but horrifically overpriced and underwhelming as far as food quality is concerned. Plus, I don't enjoy being duped by their marketing strategy. It has a different "local" name in every city...Do yourself a favor and patronize a locally owned and operated, authentically Chicago restaurant!
Everything here is excellent!! Food / Service / Location – Title says it all... Everything here is great! Excellent appetizers, wine, steak, sides... AMAZING! Plenty of seating room (and comfy seating). Great service. Been here numerous times and I love it.
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