My husband and I are Top Chef fans, so on a recent trip to Chicago, we had to try Girl & The Goat restaurant, co-owned by Stephanie Izard, season 4 winner. She's also the executive chef at Girl & The Goat. We sat outside, elbow to elbow with perfect strangers - and this turned out to be a wonderful experience. Our fellow diners were friendly, fun, and passed on tips regarding the food. And the food? FABULOUS. They serve it family style and refer to it as a tasting menu: you get enough to taste and enjoy, but not so much that you're too full to try something else. They recommend you order 4 or 5 separate dishes (for 2 people). My favorite: the chickpea fritters and the roasted pig face (here's where having friendly diners nearby comes in handy: the "pig face" name really threw me, but I was assured that a cute little pig face/nose would not be served and that I would love the dish - they were right!).
Remember to save room for dessert!