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Orchestra Hall - casual

h
HomeChef Mar 29, 2007 07:06 PM

Looking for something nice and casual, for a party of 6 to 8 within walking distance of Orchestra Hall. Any suggestions?

  1. d
    dnaj Apr 12, 2007 08:27 PM

    We go to the kids' concert series at Orchestra Hall and our two favorite finds are 1) the restaurant in the lower level of the Art Institute (slightly pricier than $12, but really beautiful, looking out to the courtyard) and 2) drive to Chinatown. You can check the Art Inst. menu on line (it changes seasonally). When we've been there, service is quite good, even with larger groups, although you should definitely make a reservation there. We also liked the Big Downtown in the Palmer House, but that menu is a little pricey (but not too bad) for what it is.

    1. h
      HomeChef Apr 10, 2007 12:59 PM

      Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions!
      ...and no, our daughter is not Hilary Hahn ! LOL. However she does play in a phenomenal program - The Betty Haag Academy and they are performing there in May. www.bettyhaag.com
      We will have a party of 8. 2 people hate sushi so Opsy is out. We have 2 seniors who still believe that entrées should be $12.00 and include soup, salad, coffee and desert so Rhapsody and Park Grill are out. The safe, middle ground will be Exchequer or The Elephant & Castle. I'll have to try Rhapsody or Park Grill on my own
      Thanks again for all your help!

      1. w
        wak Mar 30, 2007 08:30 AM

        If you like Sushi, Oysy is quite good and on 888 S. Michigan

        http://www.oysysushi.com/

        2 Replies
        1. re: wak
          nsxtasy Mar 30, 2007 11:40 AM

          It's worth noting that Oysy is seven blocks away, whereas the four previous recommendations are all within a block or two of Orchestra Hall.

          1. re: nsxtasy
            b
            Bullit Mar 31, 2007 06:15 AM

            Opsy is the best option for sushi in that area, and is certainly within walking distance of Orchestra Hall. The initial post only indicated within walking distance, not necessarily within a couple of blocks.

        2. h
          HomeChef Mar 30, 2007 08:21 AM

          Great recommendations. Thank you!
          Since our daughter is performing at Orchestra Hall, the day is quite hectic. Deciding at the last minute where to go afterwards is not the best idea. We've gone to the Berghoff and Millers Pub the previous two years, both nice experiences.

          3 Replies
          1. re: HomeChef
            j
            jbw Mar 30, 2007 08:55 AM

            You couldn't get more convenient than Rhapsody, a part of the Symphony Center complex. It's not exactly casual, but I wouldn't call it high-end either, and it certainly delivers a respectable product. Anyway, decide for yourself:

            http://www.rhapsodychicago.com/

            1. re: HomeChef
              c
              chris Mar 30, 2007 06:38 PM

              Your daugther's not Hilary Hahn, is she?

              Rhapsody is excellent - not casual, but neither is the Symphony Center. Russian Tea Time is more relaxed to be sure, but if you're going for very casual I know many people like Cosi - a chain, with a location right down the block. I find the food to be alright, but service ranges from indifferent to hostile.

              Last time I was there I was told they don't serve wine....yet they have a wine list and plenty of bottles on display and several other tables were drinking wine....I still can't figure that one out. I wish I could figure out why my friends love it so much.

              1. re: HomeChef
                c
                Chicago Mike Apr 1, 2007 02:31 AM

                If you're looking for something in a similar vein to Berghoff or Millers, then try the Exchequer, on Wabash near Jackson.

                Along the same lines is the Elephant and Castle, perhaps a block further away. But it tends to get loud and is more cramped than the Exchequer.

              2. nsxtasy Mar 29, 2007 08:50 PM

                I agree with the recommendation for the Park Grill Chicago, which is located a block or so north of Orchestra Hall at the entrance to Millennium Park. The food and service are good, and the location is great (right behind, and looking out on, the skating rink). Outdoor dining is available in the warmer times of year. www.parkgrillchicago.com No worries about crowds; just make advance reservations at www.opentable.com

                See this topic for additional recommendations:
                www.chowhound.com/topics/370730
                Any place that is walking distance from Orchestra Hall (what you're asking about), is walking distance from the Palmer House (what that topic discusses), since they're only a block or two away from each other.

                4 Replies
                1. re: nsxtasy
                  l
                  lbs Mar 30, 2007 12:54 PM

                  I thought the Park Grill was overpriced for what it offered. It has a nice location which probably draws the crowds but the food was so-so and I have never ever had the urge to go back.

                  1. re: lbs
                    nsxtasy Mar 30, 2007 01:16 PM

                    Regarding the price, Park Grill is a bit more than you would pay out in the neighborhoods, but that's generally true of anyplace in a prime downtown location, especially one offering relatively upscale food choices. If this is a concern, they post prices on the menu on their website, so anyone who is considering going there can check them out beforehand.

                    Because of its location at the entrance to Millennium Park, I wasn't expecting the food to be very good, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was quite good indeed, as was the service. My experience was quite the opposite of yours; it could mean inconsistency on their part, or merely a difference of opinion between us.

                    1. re: nsxtasy
                      l
                      lbs Mar 30, 2007 01:23 PM

                      I know what prices are downtown and I thought everything was still 2-3 dollars more than it should be. Kudos for you liking it. I didn't. There are plenty of better restaurants in the area.

                    2. re: lbs
                      sundevilpeg Mar 31, 2007 10:09 PM

                      I agree completely. I've been there three times, and there was nothing memorable about any of the visits, other than 1), my annoyance at the squandered opportunity to do something really special here, and 2), how overpriced everything was, even though I wasn't picking up the tab. In fact, I begged off another trip (I work at the Prudential Building, ergo the repeated trips), even though it was on the Firm tab. That's pretty damning, I think.

                      Better that the OP and company go to Pizano's, on Madison and Wabash, and have a good pizza.

                  2. g
                    gymp Mar 29, 2007 08:13 PM

                    Russian Tea Time, 77 E Adams just around the corner from Orchestra Hall. Nice bustling atmosphere, good Russian food.

                    1. d
                      ddfry3 Mar 29, 2007 07:38 PM

                      Miller's Pub, on Wabash, might fit the bill. Park Grill at Millenium Park, too, but can be crowded.

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