Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Apr 18, 2009 07:46 AM

Private party for 60th bday in downtown

I do not live in Chicago, but am planning a 60th bday celebration for my mother to be held in downtown. i could really use your help figuring out which great restaurant we should choose for her special day! Here are the criteria-Mom is vegetarian, tends to prefer Asian cuisines though she's open, there will be a lot of grandkids there so should be child friendly, we would prefer a place that has a special room for private parties, we're looking for someplace special so no casual recs please! Thank you in advance!!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. By the way, though my mom does like Asian she also loves middleeastern and mexican cuisines as long as there are vegetarian options. Most guests do eat meet. there will probably be 25-30 of us. Thanks again!

    1. Frontera Grill is the famous Rick Bayless restaurant that has been a huge influence in bringing creative regional Mexican cooking to this country, and they continue to provide great Mexican food. It's located in the River North part of downtown Chicago, an easy walk from many of our nicer hotels. Their "Morales Room" is perfect for private parties of your size. See

      2 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        fantastic suggestion--we've been to frontera grill before. i would love a list of options so any other recs would be appreciated. i have heard that some restaurant called alahambra is good for groups-is this true? forgive me if it's not "chowish"! i just heard general info about it....

        1. re: Lotus7

          The Alhambra Palace, which I haven't been to, made a big splash when it opened a couple of years ago, primarily for its size - it's ENORMOUS (1000 seats) - rather than for having particularly good food. Since then, you rarely hear about it on the food forums or in the media. Its location is not particularly convenient to out-of-towners, either; it's in the West Loop, along the Randolph Street corridor, so people would need to take cabs from their hotels. Their website address is

      2. Le Lan is an upscale Viet Namese/ French fusion restaurant with a private room that might suit your needs:

        5 Replies
        1. re: masha

          thx for the suggestion--i checked out the menu and it looks really good. so i have to great restaurants on my list thus far! i really liked alahambra's menu, probably bc they have so many vegetarian options. but i def would like a convenient location (esp we'll have little children w us) and of course i'd like a place known for good food.

          1. re: Lotus7

            Le Lan is in River North, just a few blocks north on Clark Street from Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. It's an easy walk from the concentration of hotels in River North and around North Michigan Avenue's "Mag Mile". And it is known for excellent Asian food in an upscale setting. masha's recommendation is perfect for what you're looking for.

          2. re: masha

            Scratch Le Lan. Crain's Chicago Business Taking Names blog reports that Le Lan has closed.

            1. re: Eldon Kreider

              Yes, it was in last night's Tribune as well. It's unfortunate. This is the first big-name restaurant I've heard of closing in Chicago due to the economic recession. And unfortunately, I'm sure it won't be the last.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                thank you for the update--so disappointing. looked like a great spot

          3. I will chime in here and vote for Le Lan. The former executive chef (Bill Kim) left, but the new chef is holding up well. There hasn't been much drastic changes on the menu. The upstairs private dining room would be an excellent venue for such a milestone. I have never been there with children, so can't say what they offer in terms of kid's menu. But for a private event at a restaurant in their caliber, i'm sure they can accomodate.

            On the other hand, i vote strongly against Alhambra, especially for a family birthday celebration of mixed ages. The place is pure flash. The children might find it amusing when they see it, thinking it's Disneyland. Inside, it is geared towards girls-night-out groups, or guys thinking they will impress their female friend with something HUGE and flashy.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ms. chow

              Good info-i'm def staying away from Alhambra. I'm hoping toddlers wont scare Le Lan, and that they can accomodate the vegetarian guests. The menu looks wonderful. But if anyone has additional recs, please keep them coming. We have a few months yet before the party, and like i mentioned, I'd like a few options so that i can weigh price, location, vegetarian options, etc.

              1. re: Lotus7

                Small children shouldn't be an issue for ANY restaurant, all the more so since your group will have its own private room.

            2. Somewhat similar to Le Lan but more traditional is Le Colonial. They have an upstairs room that accommodates larger groups. More here: