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Restaurant For My Birthday Dinner

kwe730 May 16, 2008 06:42 AM

I have a birthday late this summer and the husband is hosting a dinner party for myself and 3 other couples downtown. All I have to do is pick the place. Great food is the main priority. However, we want a relatively upbeat (as opposed to quite/subdued) sort of atmosphere so that other patrons are not offended when the 8 of us start laughing and talking to each other across the table. On the other hand, we don't want the din to be so loud that we're screaming at each and our eardrums hurt by the time we leave. Price really isn't of concern. Any suggestions?

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  1. g
    gordeaux RE: kwe730 May 16, 2008 09:41 AM

    howdy -

    What type of food do (and your guests) prefer?

    1. c
      CorinneM1 RE: kwe730 May 16, 2008 10:28 AM

      We are going to have a birthday party at Mercat a la Planxa in a couple of weeks. Its upbeat, great food, fun atmosphere...more loud/friendly than subdued/upright with a great view. It is in the Blackstone Hotel on South Michigan Ave. We went with a large party about a month ago and it was very conversation friendly.

      If you have meat eaters in your party and all can/will eat roast pig, you can request one 48 hrs in advance. Figure approx $50 a head with one glass of sangria.

      1. nsxtasy RE: kwe730 May 16, 2008 07:20 PM

        Any of the Latin fusion places ought to fit the bill:

        Carnivale - www.carnivalechicago.com
        DeLaCosta - www.delacostachicago.com
        Cuatro - www.cuatro-chicago.com
        Nacional 27 - www.nacional27.net

        1. m
          masha RE: kwe730 May 17, 2008 11:04 AM

          We recently ate at Copperblue and had an excellent time, opting for the tasting menu. There was a large group (8-10 people) at another table -- somewhat boisterous, but not overwhelmingly loud. If you enjoy southern French (Provencale) food, I would definitely consider Copperblue.

          1. t
            teen_foodie RE: kwe730 May 23, 2008 07:30 PM

            If you don't mind coming out to the 'burbs, Maya del Sol in Oak Park is a gem, serving delicious Latin American cuisine (and the most tender, perfectly seasoned Carne Asada you'll ever meet)

            6 Replies
            1. re: teen_foodie
              masha RE: teen_foodie May 24, 2008 07:21 AM

              I confess that I have not yet eaten at Maya del Sol even though I live in OP. But, if I was looking to celebrate a special birthday, where "great food" was the priority and price was not an issue -- as the original poster said -- it is inconceivable that I'd go there. From reviews I've read, Maya del Sol is a moderately priced, neighborhood restaurant -- fine for what it is, but not a destination for a special occasion.

              1. re: masha
                kwe730 RE: masha May 24, 2008 08:20 AM

                While I appreciate the recommendation of Maya del Sol, OP is not an option for that evening. I live in the burbs and part of the idea behind my request for something "downtown" is that we are spending the weekend in the city. Our friends that will be joining us that night will be driving in to meet us.

                Based on looking at menus, reading reviews and some terrific recs I've received, I think it's down to either one sixtyblue or North Pond although Mercat a la Planxa sounds VERY interiguing.

                1. re: kwe730
                  wak RE: kwe730 May 24, 2008 09:32 AM

                  Three great choices, but of the three I think Mercat would be most conducive to a large loud group. There are a few big tables in the middle for groups of 8-10 that would be perfect. I think of North Pond as better for a quiet dinner for two and 160 Blue as more subdued as well.

                  Mercat is also nice for a group becuase of the small plates menu that are convenient for passing around and sharing. If you are in the mood, you could also order the suckling pig which they roast for you whole and carve at the table. You need to tell them in advance if you want that.

                  1. re: wak
                    kwe730 RE: wak May 24, 2008 01:12 PM

                    Thanks for your thoughts! The more I read about Mercat, the more I'm leaning in that direction.

                    1. re: kwe730
                      CorinneM1 RE: kwe730 May 27, 2008 09:27 AM

                      On the lthforum.com board under the Mercat heading, there are a lot of pictures of the roasted pig option as well as other tapas dishes.

                      1. re: kwe730
                        jlklp RE: kwe730 May 27, 2008 04:57 PM

                        I was at Mercat recently and had the roast pig. It's a lot of fun and is a great idea for a big group. The other items off the menu that we tried (short rib flatbread, roast lamb chops) I also liked very much.

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