Macy's (formerly Marshall Field's) on State Street has been a shopping haven and architectural landmark for nearly 100 years. Recently renovated to its original grandeur, the traffic-stopping window displays, the classic Corinthian columns, the timeless Tiffany ceilings and the 800,000-square-foot retail space chock full of the wares of the most well-known designers, is what the building is renowned for around the world. Throngs of fashionistas and travelers alike make this a must-stop, must-shop, must-see destination, especially during the bustling cold winter season. And if that weren't enough, the Walnut Room, located on Macy's seventh floor, is a legendary dining delight.
Seating 450 dining aficionados under crystal chandeliers and imported dark Russian wood paneling, the menu at the Walnut Room trumps what most of us ingest mid-shopping spree. Offering classics like chicken potpie, served with peas and carrots hidden just below a thick puff pastry, you'll also find Peach Nest Tuna, with tuna salad and mixed fruit and bread, and coconut shrimp, skewered to a chunk of pineapple and dipped into sesame-mango and chipotle-cream sauces. New favorites include duck confit and rosemary grilled petite filet mignon, and entrees average $8-$15. For dessert, finish off with another Chicago classic: the Frango mint chocolate ice cream pie. Need we say more?
All through the holiday season, dine under the 45-foot-tall Christmas tree decorated with 1,000 handmade ornaments. But don't expect to get a seat straight away. It's not out of the norm to wait more than an hour for a table. Reservations are not accepted during the holiday season, so arrive early or bring a good book. And despite the black-tie service and exceptional food, the ambiance isn't stuffy or uncomfortable. Trust us when we say you won't leave disappointed. If it isn't already, the Walnut Room will soon be tradition for you, too.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Janis Mabalay