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Oct 28, 2008 09:42 AM

North Pond seating options

We're planning our annual trip to Chicago for early December and, after several years of being foiled in my attempts, we're having dinner at North Pond this time around. I understand that there are two dining rooms -- one that overlooks the open kitchen, one that looks out to the park. My inclination is to ask for a park-view table, although it obviously will be dark outside when we're there. Any recommendations, either way? Thanks.

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  1. Both are very pleasant.

    Even though it will be dark outside, the park is well lit (there's a pedestrian walkway right past the restaurant) and the city skyline overlooking the pond has lights in the buildings and makes for a terrific view at night. So the outer dining room definitely has the outside view, even at night.

    However, the inner dining room is also quite nice. The last time I ate there I ate in the inner room, and I wasn't disappointed at all. I enjoyed the view of the open kitchen along one wall. And there was more of a sense of being in an unusual structure that had been renovated into a restaurant; the building was originally the warming shelter for ice skaters on the pond in winter, and you can see it in some of the architectural details like the tiled pillars.

    4 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Thanks, nsxtasy. I've made reservations through OpenTable and requested a seat in the outer room, but it sounds like we won't be disappointed either way.

      If we were to arrive early for our reservation, is there a bar area where we could enjoy a cocktail before we eat?

      1. re: megg333

        The area between the door and the host/hostess stand is where the bar is, and it is very small; I don't recall if there is any seating there (but if there is, it wouldn't be more than 2-3 seats, if that). It is not a huge area - given the history of the building, most of North Pond is not exactly spacious - but it's big enough that you could hang around there. Also, I don't think North Pond does a huge walk-in business, so there are not likely to be huge numbers of people waiting to be seated at any given time.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          There are approx. six seats at the bar and 2-3 small tables for two in the bar area.

          1. re: hoppy2468

            Thanks to both of you for your help. We just returned home from our Chicago trip, and North Pond was a highlight. Although I'd requested a table in the outer room when I made our reservation a month ago, they (with apologies) seated us in the inner room instead. And frankly, I'm glad -- we were there on Saturday night, when it was blustery and rainy and cold outside, and the inner room was wonderfully cozy. I wouldn't have traded our table. And the food. Wow. We had the walleye cheeks and the seared tuna salad for starters, then the pork chop and the skate, and ended with the chocolate/pine nut dessert. Everything was wonderful, but the skate was by far my favorite -- the combination of rich skate, even richer brown butter sabayon and tart pomegranate puree was remarkable. Overall, I was struck by the fact that while the food they're creating could easily be served in a formal dining room, the atmosphere of the restaurant is so welcoming and comfortable -- no attitude, just intelligent, tasty food.