Bandera is one of those great restaurants that seems to be “hiding” in plain sight. It’s in the middle of downtown Chicago right on Michigan Avenue and it has a huge sign that you almost can’t miss and yet, until about 3 years ago, I’d never ventured in. It took someone from Ohio to tell me about it!
Since then Bandera has been one of my favorite restaurants in downtown Chicago for several reasons
1) great food that isn’t too fussy – but definitely interesting and always delicious
2) a place that I can recommend or take anyone to because of its diverse (although not large) menu – from delicious burgers and fries to Prime Rib (not to mention always interesting fish of the day and other specials)
3) casual but fabulous ambience (excellent for solo dining or for taking a colleague to lunch or dinner) with a jazz trio that starts at 6:00 every night and several tables pulled right up to large windows overlooking the hustle and bustle of Michigan Avenue below
4) moderate prices that won’t blow the expense account budget
I go to Bandera almost everytime I’m in Chicago for work. Sometimes I’ve gone more than once. It’s the coleslaw… I’m addicted!
Menu: Eclectic American
Faves: The coleslaw (wish I had some right now!!), burgers (Bandera chops their meat fresh everyday), the “fall off the bone” barbecue beef back ribs (comes with coleslaw :>)
Just an FYI: The jazz trio (piano, bass guitar, drum) sets up toward the front of the resaurant, where the windows are – If you’re with colleagues and you need to talk, ask for a table more toward the back (still great ambience and you’ll still be able to hear the music.)
Also, they don’t take reservations for parties larger than four.
535 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
(then click on Bandera)