Chicago is known as one of the best cities in the world during the summer, and no one can deny that. However, sometimes you just need a little escape from the American city life. There are little ways to do this throughout the city, but there is no area like Gold Coast for an international and extravagant escape. Below you will find how to dive into Italian, French, and Asian culture on Rush and Oak Street in the Gold Coast.
Escape to Italy
Chicago is home to many fine Italian dining experiences, but the restaurant, Café Spiaggia is in a league of its own. According to Zagat, Café Spiaggia doesn’t skimp on taste, sends out luscious, often creative fare set down by informed servers, and has unbeatable city views. The founder, Tony Mantuano, is a culinary mastermind, James Beard award winner, author of multiple cookbooks, Top Chef Master contestant, and the favorite chef of the President of the United States.
Before showing up to your fine dining experience at Café Spiaggia, we suggest stopping by the renowned Italian fashion house, Prada. Founded in 1913, the brand specializes in ready-to-wear leather and fashion accessories, shoes, luggage, perfumes, and watches. This European style brings slim fits and beautiful patterns to all who are willing to try on this famous brand.
Escape to France
French colonialism in Vietnam created beautiful people, beautiful culture, and beautiful food. This being said, it is quite difficult to find a restaurant that combines the two well anywhere in the world. There is only one place in Chicago that does it so well.
According to Frommers, the Gold Coast’s Le Colonial has one of the loveliest dining rooms in the city and the second-floor lounge is a sultry, seductive destination for cocktails. An escapist’s paradise, the restaurant is a cleverly crafted re-creation of 1920s Saigon, with bamboo shutters, rattan chairs, potted palms and banana trees, and ceiling fans.
To continue soaking up the French experience, stop by a few of our sophisticated boutiques to pick up pieces designed by famed French designers. Lanvin, Hermes, and Christian Louboutin, for example, all have their own stores on Oak Street, where you can find the most recent collections. Here you will find chic classic French looks perfect for an extravagant night here at home or abroad.
Jellyfish takes a route away from the classic Gold Coast dining experience by targeting a slightly younger demographic, and offering a quieter dining room experience. Bluish lights, amazing views of Rush Street, sushi rolls, seafood skewers, and a Miami ambiance make Jellyfish a welcomed addition to Oak Street’s dining choices.
Asian fashion often offers means a change in style. Yohji Yamamoto, high fashion and sportswear designer creates artistic new looks perfect for dining at a place like Jellyfish and a night out downtown. His newest collection is available at Barney’s.
Yamomoto takes huge (and we mean huge) risks when it comes to design patterns. These pieces are generally in the color black and incorporate both European and Asian style, which results in an almost neo-rocker style, the likes of which isn’t seen by any other contemporary designer.
The bottom line is there is a way out of Chicago, and it isn’t always the highway or O’Hare airport. With the right setting you can feel like you’re on an exotic vacation abroad without ever packing your bags. The Italian, French, and Asian cultures are just a few that are authentically represented on Oak Street. Even if you’re too busy for travel this summer, you can always find time for a little local travel.