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Best Restaurants Near The Auto Show

By Mark G. McLaughlin

The Chicago Auto Show is open 12 hours a day, from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., which means that most people who come to the show are going to want lunch or dinner or both. While there is fast food to be had without leaving the building, there are nearly 450 restaurants nearby that offer diverse and delectable alternatives. While the culinary choices are dizzying and range from places that serve traditional Chicago deep dish pizza to fresh oysters and everything in between, here are just five of the best restaurants near the Chicago Auto Show.

2019 Chicago Auto Show
McCormick Place
2301 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60616
(630) 495-2282

Cafe Bionda
1924 State St.
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 326-9800

About two-thirds of a mile from McCormick Place there is a restaurant that serves the most amazing lobster fettuccine and pork chop Calabrese imaginable. Cafe Bionda is cozy, cheerful and surprisingly affordable, especially for an inner city restaurant. Almost everything on the menu is under $30, and many entrees can be had for as low as $20. The cuisine is classic Italian, with dozens of pasta, meat and fish dishes.

Pizano's Pizza and Pasta
2106 S. Indiana Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 842-0777

Chicago is famous for its deep dish pizza, and one of the best restaurants to enjoy it is a mere third of a mile from McCormick Place. Pizano's Pizza and Pasta is a favorite not just of visitors, but also to those who work, shop and live in this part of the city. The thin crust pizza is also great – so great that it is Oprah's favorite! Still run by the family that opened the first restaurant in 1943, there is probably no better place in the Windy City for a traditional Chicago-style pizza, deep dish, thin crust or otherwise. Even better, the S. Indiana Avenue location near McCormick Place is open until 2 a.m.!

Tapas Valencia
1530 S. State St.
Chicago, IL
(312) 842-4444

For those show-goers who want to linger over light fare and a nice drink, or make a meal by sharing a variety of small plates, Tapas Valencia on South State Street is a great choice and is within a mile of McCormick Place. This place, however, serves more than just tapas and pitchers of sangria; it also has a signature "Taste of Spain" fixed price feast that is astounding. For $40 per person ($65 with wine pairings chosen by the staff), diners are treated to three courses of traditional Spanish cuisine, plus dessert.

Chicago Oyster House
1933 S. Indiana Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 225-8833

After a long day visiting the auto show, it is nice to sit somewhere that is calm, comfortable and classy to enjoy a meal. Although Chicago is rightly famed for its pizza and brats, there is at least one place in town that has made its reputation by serving fresh seafood. As the name indicates, the Chicago Oyster House is the place to go for oysters and other delights from the seas. Diners can work their way through a dizzying variety of types of oysters from around the world and can have them raw or cooked and prepared in many ways. The Chicago Oyster House has a lot more than oysters, as its lengthy and tempting seafood menu attests. It is less than half a mile away from the show, and well worth the stroll.

Weather Mark Tavern
1503 Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 588-0230

While the number of restaurant choices narrows after the Chicago Auto Show closes at 10 p.m., just over three-quarters of a mile away is the Weather Mark Tavern, a restaurant and bar that is open until 2 a.m. The Weather Mark menu is what anyone would expect from the name, but this place is about much more than pizza, burgers or similar pub grub. They do the basics well, but there are a number of unique signature choices to try, such as the chicken risotto soup, the Guinness meatball sandwich and the Italian beef, with home-made giardiniera.


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