Offering escape from the NPE bustle, Chicago's restaurants also provide a better taste of the city.
Most restaurants have a dress code of casual business attire, and reservations are generally a good idea, especially during the frenzy of NPE. The majority of Chicago's restaurants are within easy reach of McCormick Place or the Loop.
Several Web sites can help make lunch or dinner less of a hassle for NPE visitors. For restaurant ideas and information, check out: www.chicago.il.org, www.zagats.com, www.fodors.com, www.cuisinenet.com, www.foodweb.com and www.intheloop.net.
Meanwhile, here's a short reference list that groups some restaurants according to their cuisine.
* Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Relive the film Forrest Gump at Bubba Gump's, located at 700 E. Grand Ave. Tel. (312) 595-5000.
* ESPN Zone. Designed in the motif of ESPN's studio with interactive activities, it's a sports-lover's fantasy. It is located at 43 E. Ohio St. Tel. (312) 644-3776.
* Rainforest Cafe. At 605 N. Clark St., the place is designed to create a rainforest atmosphere featuring live tropical parrots, saltwater fish and animated wildlife. Tel. (312) 787-1501.
* Berghoff Restaurant. Berghoff's, at 17 W. Adams St., serves traditional German fare as well as contemporary American. Tel. (312) 427-3170.
* Chicago Chophouse. For the best chops in town — the restaurant was voted best independent steakhouse — visit 60 W. Ontario St. Tel. (312) 787-7100.
* Sullivan's Steakhouse. This famous 1940s steakhouse is located at 415 N. Dearborn. Tel. (312) 527-3510.
* Three Happiness Restaurant. At 209 W. Cermak, the restaurant serves seafood and its famous Dim Sum. Tel. (312) 842-1964.
* Hong Min Restaurant. In the heart of Chinatown at 221 W. Cermak Rd., perhaps one of Hong Min's best features is its two-hour free parking. Tel. (312) 842-5026.
* Como Inn. The restaurant serves traditional, classic food and offers free parking and valet services at 546 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tel. (312) 421-5222.
* Bice Ristorante. Northern Italian food is Bice's forte, but it comes at a pretty price. The restaurant is located at 158 E. Ontario St. Tel. (312) 664-1474.
* Bella Vista. Renovated from the old Belmont Bank on 1001 W. Belmont Ave., the Bella features open kitchens and wood-burning ovens. Tel. (773) 404-0111.
* Bukara. The fare features beef and chicken dishes as well as a vegetarian menu. It is located at 2 E. Ontario St. Tel. (312) 943-0188.
* The Indian Garden Restaurant. Located at 247 E. Ontario St., the spot calls for casual dress. Tel. (312) 280-4910.
* Salvador's Barro Mexican Cuisine. The Mexican meals come with complimentary chips and salsa, at 73 E. Lake St. Tel. (312) 346-8457.
* Los Dos Laredos. Serving authentic Mexican food since 1967, this restaurant is at 3120 W. 26th. Tel. (773) 376-3218.
* Bluepoint Oyster Bar. Although it is a little on the expensive side, this restaurant takes full advantage of its format with an art-deco fish house and raw bar. It is located at 741 W. Randolph St. Tel. (312) 207-1222.
* Riva. Also pricey, this restaurant sits on Navy Pier and has a panoramic view of the lake front and skyline. It has been host to several events for politicians and celebrities, and is located at 700 E. Grand Ave. Tel. (312) 644-7482.