The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

The 8 Best Restaurants In Chicago To Take Your Parents

By Staff in Food on Nov 13, 2013 9:55PM

When we were kids we used to be particular about where we ate with our parents. As we got older we discover it is our parents who are set in their ways and won't branch out from their favorite restaurants and we find ourselves saying, "Try it. You'll like it."

Whether you're a college student looking for your parents to provide a respite from your cafeteria and Top Ramen diet, or you're well past college and want to treat Mom and Dad to dinner without having to put on a suit and tie and take out a personal loan, we've picked eight places we feel confident the parents will enjoy for a nice family night out.

Twin Anchors. (Photo credit: Mike Murray)

Twin Anchors
My mom loves Frank Sinatra and Sinatra loved Twin Anchors so next time I take mom out to eat in the big city, that’s where we’re going. Their ribs are drip-off-the-bone amazing and the meals are solidly old fashioned and will leave you waddling out the door with a greasy smile plastered across your puss. Don’t worry, if your mom is more a steak gal, they’ve got a nice, thick filet mignon she can sink her teeth into. Try and get a seat in one of the front booths if you can. The back dining area is fine but has more of a diner feel, while the front room is dark and you’ll find yourself ensconced in a warm wood surrounding. The noise from the bar is a little louder there, but the vibe is far more classic Chicago. Your mom will think she’s dining with Ol’ Blue Eyes. — Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

Twin Anchors is located at 1655 N. Sedgwick St.

Owen & Engine
I may be a little biased since I used to work there, but I’ve always loved the food at Owen & Engine. Lucky for me, my mom and stepdad also loved it when I took them in a few months back. The menu has plenty of adventurous options if you’re up for them, but the roasted half chicken preparation is always great, the steaks are top notch and the burger is one of the best in town. If your parents are the adventurous type I’d recommend the charcuterie plate as a starter. It constantly changes, they make everything in house and the food to price ratio is very much in your favor if you compare it to other charcuterie offerings around town. The biggest challenge is saving room for dessert, which is totally worth it. - Jason Baldacci

Owen & Engine is located at 2700 N. Western Ave.

The Bongo Room
Moms love brunch. My mom is still talking about the pancakes she had at The Bongo Room last year. Yes, there’s usually a significant wait for a table (they do not take reservations) but this is one place that the parents don’t mind waiting, because they know the food is worth the wait. Plus it makes them feel hip and in-the-know about the hot spot in town for brunch—parents like to feel cool, or at least think their kids are. The Bongo Room has three locations in Chicago but I recommend the Wicker Park location for a taste of neighborhood flavor that gets them out of the Loop and onto the El, another thing moms love. - Michelle Meywes

The Bongo Room has three locations: South Loop 1152 S. Wabash Ave, Wicker Park 1470 N. Milwaukee Ave, Andersonville 5022 N. Clark St.

Chilam Balam / Chilipan
Chicago has developed a deserved reputation for excellent Mexican food, in part due to celebrity chef Rick Bayless. But good luck getting into Frontera Grill most nights! And while we may frequent the city's many divey taquerias and margarita joints that is not where we take mom and dad when they're picking up the tab. For interesting, seasonal Mexican food with a more upscale twist, Lakeview's Chilam Balam and Logan Square's Chilapan are excellent choices. Both offer dishes unlike what is found in the Tex-Mex joints of suburbia or middle America, without offering anything that is too challenging or too blow your head off spicy. Both are also BYOB and vegetarian-friendly.

At Chilapan dishes like shrimp with pistachio mole or their number of variations on Mexican steak dishes are sure to please. The Volcano, which is your choice of meat served in a searing hot molecajete with cheese and veggies, is both a show stopper and well prepared -- not the gimmick similar dishes are elsewhere.

Started by former Top Chef contestant Chuy Valencia, Chilam Balam transports you from the streets of Lakeview into another place as you step down into the cute and cozy basement location. The menu is centered around small plates, which give you a chance to sample a wide range of dishes, like the ceviches, grilled pork ribs with honey-pasilla sauce and roasted duck breast with mole poblano. - Benjy Lipsman

Chilapan is located at 2459 W Armitage Ave. Chilam Balam is located at 3023 N. Broadway Ave.

Rick Nielsen's guitar in the rafters of Piece. (Photo credit: Matt North)

It’s a pizzeria and a brewery, two things that dads love. They also love rock and roll, so if the fact that Nirvana dines there doesn’t get him jazzed, Dad will probably think it’s pretty cool that Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen co-owns the place. He can even gander at Nielsen’s five-necked guitar on the wall. Their award winning beers don’t hurt either. Get him a growler (or two) to show off to his buddies back home. - Michelle Meywes

Piece is located at 1927 W. North Ave.

Henri isn't a place for every family; if you're not into velvet walls, linen napkins and fancy silver, best to avoid this tiny jewel box of a restaurant on Michigan Ave. On the other hand, if they love high-end food but don't want to deal with the noise of a Bristol or the pretension of a Sixteen, Henri is the place for you. The food is traditional and delicious (but not particularly challenging), the drinks are strong, the wine list is long and, best of all, the restaurant is incredibly quiet and decorous. No one will jostle your arms and the servers know their business perfectly; you'd never guess that you were next door to the crazy, bustling Gage or that your food came out of the same kitchen. Best of all, both because it's in the loop and because it's a little bit on the pricy side, you can almost always get a reservation. - Anthony Todd

Henri is located at 18 S. Michigan Ave.

Big Jones
My mother's side of the family has roots in southeastern Virginia and my stepfather's side of the family calls the area where Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama meet home so I grew up on Southern cooking. At Big Jones Paul Fehribach is equal parts master chef and anthropologist, curating a menu from across the southeast incorporating elements of the Carolina Lowcountry, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and Appalachia. I've raved about Big Jones' fried chicken before. Fehribach follows the late Edna Lewis' recipe to the letter. You can also get your fill from damn near anything on the menu, from the pickle sampler to the crawfish etouffee a la Breaux Bridge circa 1940, to the sweet potato hash and a boozy bourbon raisin bread pudding. Fehribach deftly walks a fine line between the past and present in his cooking, retaining the letter of the recipes that inspire him while adding personal touches making them all his own. As someone who learned her recipes by ear from kinfolk and in-laws, Mom would be proud to dine here. - Chuck Sudo

Big Jones is located at 5347 N. Clark St.