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SAVOR Filini Bar & Restaurant
DISH: Weekly Dining Guide in Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-01-20

This article shared 4863 times since Wed Jan 20, 2016
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Believe it or not, there was a time when people generally avoided hotel restaurants in big cities—with people getting gussied up to go out for a night on the town. At the most, people would treat hotel eateries like greasy-spoon diners, grabbing a quick meal.

However, hotels—eager to hold onto their guests as well as attract other customers—have stepped it up in recent years. The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel's bilevel Filini Bar & Restaurant ( FiliniChicago.com; 221 N. Columbus Dr. ) is a prime example of how those establishments have become places where people go to see and be seen—as well as to enjoy some tasty fare.

Upon seeing the restaurant ( which is accessible through a separate, street-level entrance from the hotel ), the first word that popped into my mind was "sleek," thanks to a combination of steel and glass that's artfully used. The second floor ( more formal ) is also a study in silver—although there's substantially more there, including angled tiles in the ceiling as well as some booths that conjure a feeling of royalty ( tall, purple seats ).

A recent lunchtime stop at Filini revealed a bustling atmosphere ( courtesy of nearby company employees as well as hotel guests ). It also unveiled a menu full of menu items that, while not life-changing, are certainly more than satisfying—as well as the fact that this restaurant has expanded far beyond its Italian roots.

My dining companions and I started with a chopped salad that consisted of a tantalizing mix of chopped Romaine, ditalini pasta, chicken, bacon, tomatoes, gorgonzola, green onions and sweet mustard dressing. We also tried the solid fritto misto—calamari, shrimp, monkfish, peppers and garlic aioli.

I continued with the Lakeshore East Cheeseburger ( with cheddar, mushroom and tomato ), one of the better sandwiches of that genre that I've had lately. My dining partners seemed similarly satisfied with their selections: the pasta dishes garganelli ( with creamy cheese sauce, prosciutto, radicchio and white truffle oil ) and gnocchi ( with homemade potato dumplings and braised pork cheeks ).

However, that's just the tip of the iceberg regarding the lunchtime menu—and the dinner one is even more extensive. ( Among some of the other lunch offerings are chicken wings, various pizzas, loaded fries ( with braised short rib, white cheddar, avocado crema and scallions ) and desserts such as chocolate lava cake and cannoli, not to mention various cocktails. )

Filini definitely warrants a visit—and a return.

By the way: Filini will be offering a four-course Valentine's Day special ( $75; $90 with wine ); some of the items will include a seafood platter, linguine, filet, lamb and panna cotta. In addition, Filini will be one of the many places taking part in Chicago Restaurant Week, which takes place Jan. 22-Feb. 4 ( three-course lunch for $22; three-course dinner for $33 each, sans tax or gratuity ).


This article shared 4863 times since Wed Jan 20, 2016
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