GT Fish & Oyster, a tasty pairing of Pottery Barn and Nautica

Lifestyle and LeisureCookingRestaurantsArts and CultureDining and DrinkingNauticaPottery Barn

GT Fish & Oyster,

531 N. Wells St.

Who eats: The River North restaurant caters to businesspeople, couples and hard-core foodies.

Why eat: Since it opened in the spring, it has created quite a buzz, making seats scarce at dinner time. The relatively new lunch service, which started in June, is more accommodating. On a recent Friday, some tables were available without a reservation.

Ambience: The restaurant is divided into two rooms with slightly different feels. The front room includes a bar, tile floor and slightly louder music. The back has a more homey feel, with hardwood floor, black wooden tables (padded underneath) and white walls adorned with nautical ropes. Two large tables in the middle of the room accommodate larger groups. The overall effect is Pottery Barn meets Nautica.

Dress code: Men and women in business suits seem at home, as do tourists in casual clothing. Probably best to ditch the T-shirt and cutoffs.

Noise factor: The louder music by the bar does not drown out conversation. But tables along the north wall of the back room are packed together, so those looking to have a private conversation might want to request a table near the south wall.

Overheard: "He's a big golfer? What does he do?"

Service: Efficient and knowledgeable. Our server gave honest opinions about her favorites and serving sizes and offered to upgrade our nonalcoholic lemonades from "PG" to "R."

Cellphone reception/Wi-Fi: Full cell reception in the dining area, but no Wi-Fi.

Reservations: Accepted over the phone or at opentable.com.

Menu: Seafood, with a few other dishes sprinkled in (pork belly sliders, chicken sandwich and salads).

Reliable options: The clam chowder ($8) was fantastic, brimming with full clams, a bit of bacon and a hint of spice. The Caesar salad ($9, $15 with chicken) was tasty and artistic, and the fish tacos ($13) were light and perfectly seasoned. Some items were a tad small for a full entree (the $16 crab cake would probably leave my 5-year-old daughter hungry), so it's best to ask your server about portion sizes before ordering.

Expect to pay: $40-$60 for two.

Contacts: 312-929-3501 or gtfishandoyster.wordpress.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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