Chicago >Food & Dining > The Bristol
2152 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6064741.921077 -87.677851
Neighborhoods: Bucktown, North Side
With lovely cocktails and one of the best chicken dishes in the city (a roasted half chicken with spaetzle), I would happily eat dinner at The Bristol any night of the week.
I have two words for you. Monkey Bread. Best I've ever had. And definitely taste a sip or four from their stellar cocktail list.
One of my go-to restaurants whenever someone asks me for recommendations. If you're very lucky, their snail pasta will be on the menu - it's a nice change from the traditional escargot.
rushed and all about the fake-o upsell... – we tried The Bristol for the first time as a birthday dinner for our friend. the restaurant was not busy (it was a Tuesday night) and our party of six was seated immediately.
amazing menu, small and thoughtfully constructed, and also a great drink menu. our waitress thought she was working at the Cheesecake Factory in the burbs though, and felt the need to basically read the menu to us, and then explain how the dishes were meant to be shared (I can only presume, tapas-style)...so we took her advice and ordered four of the "smaller plates" and six of the "larger plates".
the smaller plates were appetizers, plain and simple. we shared them, they were very tasty. the larger plates were entrees and very modestly sized--which was fine, they just were NOT for sharing. the pushy selling tactics read as desperation, "just order a whole bunch of stuff and share it at the table!" er, how do you share a tiny little cheeseburger and about twelve french fries?
throughout our meal, we were pestered by our waitress, who told us to order everything at once so the timing would be perfect as "everything is handmade fresh to order." what happened was small plates arrived all at once, with a five minute break before our entrees arrived. people hadn't even finished half a beer yet, and staff was asking, "what drinks can i start for you while you eat?" um, how about we finish what we have first and leave since you won't shut the hell up and let us eat and talk and celebrate a birthday in peace?
total time in restaurant was just shy of an hour for appetizers, drinks and entrees. usually when we go out, we stay, drink, talk, order coffees and dessert--make an event of it. especially when the restaurant is not busy. the acoustics in the restaurant were so bad that we could hardly hear over the music and street noise, not to mention the continually "just checking in on you!" phony staff.
in short, great food, rather pricey for what you get, NOT FOR SHARING (don't be duped), more staff than customers bustling about you non-stop. not relaxing or inviting, acoustics make conversation difficult. feels like they wanted to jump on the Bucktown bandwagon and take the Lincoln Park overflow for all they're worth.
we won't be back or recommend it.
Great Restaurant with an OUTSTANDING brunch. – Our dinners here have been great. Cool atmosphere, excellent cocktails, cozy spot. Just opened for brunch yesterday and it was OUTSTANDING. Both my husband and I loved our food, Bloody Mary breakfast, egg sandwich with pork belly and braised pork chilaquiles. This will be the top brunch spot in Bucktown, probably one of the best in Chicago. Both of us agreed it was the best brunch we have had in a very long time. I am almost hesitant to review it; we hope we don't have to fight masses to get in next time.
Unbelievable tastes and combination flavors – Great dishes. Exciting and savory tastes. Try the flatbread or duck fat fries for an appetizer, you won't be dissapointed. Parmesan crusted sausage was delicious and the prawns were great (a little overpriced 4 for 16..
Highly recommended but a little pricey for the portions.
The quieter end of Damen becomes a destination for locals craving Midwestern- and Mediterranean-inspired gastropub eats. – In Short
The restaurant shares the name of an English port city, but "bristol" also hints to the place where friends and neighbors gather. Indeed, that is the aim of this Bucktown restaurant, which zeroes in on bar "snacks" like duck-fat fries with housemade ketchup and garlic aioli and crispy flatbread with bacon and melted onions. Second courses embrace rustic, seasonal flavors, from a roasted organic half chicken and stone-fruit panzanella to grilled salmon drizzled with garlic-almond sauce and plated with green grapes. A chalkboard scribbled with daily specials hangs on an exposed brick wall, which also boast local art.
Photo by Jasmin Shah
AMERICAN CUISINE AT ITS FINEST – this is my new favorite restaurant....i am a mite biased, as i have previously worked with about 75% of the kitchen staff, but the food is the definition of artisan. my girlfriend and i came in a few days after the chef had brought in a whole pig and we got to try a variety of different cuts from it. also, the sous chef brought us out a special dish of lamb tongue, simply prepared with a salsa verde and garlic oil.....just amazing, crucial flavors. YOU MUST EAT HERE!
Old-style Italian spot serves up big portions of old favorites to hungry Wicker Park regulars. – In Short
The compact dining room oozes Italian charm, with brick walls, vintage posters, and a display of Italian food products. Italian specialties come at reasonable prices here: Popular starter plates include generously topped thin-crust pizzas and light calamari with marinara. Veal Babaluci is a signature entree: three slices coated in sauce, with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and proscuitto. Satisfying seafood risotto combines mild marinara with savory mussels, clams, scallops and shrimp. For dessert? Homemade cannoli, of course.
The Best in Chicago – I have to say, this is my wife and mine's favorite place in the city. The chefs makes some of the best meals I've ever had, consistently too! You are in for a real treat with the Tilapia and other seafood dishes, my wife swares by the pasta, and the wine selection is excellent.
Be sure to top it off with some flourless chocolate cake!
Terrible service – My experience at Babaluci was one of those classic experiences where the food's decent, the surroundings are nice and yet it was a terrible experience because the server was completely rude. We went to Babaluci on a coupon and the server made a couple comments referencing us being cheap. She kept trying to sell us appetizers even though we said no a couple times already. She seemed to have it in her head that because we used a coupon, we wouldn't tip well. On the contrary, we can tip quite well because we have some extra money for the meal. I guess I should mention the food. I had a pesto tortellini dish that was above average. Nothing stunning, but good. My wife had a basic marinara pasta that was also good. However, the food didn't taste good with the rotten service. Too many other good places to go.
Great local joint... – Food is always good. Great place for some local take out.
Service is always good and interesting wait staff keeps things light.
The veal is nice, and pastas are all good.
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