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Small grad party - 15 people - Goldcoast/River North

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Hi all,
I'm graduating from law school next month and am looking for ideas of places in the River North/Gold Coast area to have a small dinner party for 15 people. We don't need a private room, just a restaurant where we can hear each other talk. I've lived in Chicago for 3 years and have a good idea about the top-end and more-foodie restaurants, but am clueless when it comes to choosing a place for a big group.

My parents are footing the bill for this dinner - so I want it to be somewhat affordable (30pp w/o alcohol max) but not run-of-the-mill or national-chain food. I would appreciate any and all suggestions! I've been thinking about Wildfire or Francesca's but am not sold on either yet.

Thanks in advance!!

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  1. I wouldn't rule out a private room, if it can meet the needs of your budget (affordable) and they don't hit you with a big room charge or a big minimum.

    One good thing about Wildfire - it's part of the Lettuce Entertain You group, which provides one point of contact for arranging a private group at any of their many restaurants. And they're really good at working with you. You can find contact info on their private party website at www.lettuceparties.com

    Another option in River North is Sable. I've loved dining there, and I've noticed that they have a couple of small private rooms that would comfortably seat a group your size. Plus it's very affordable. www.sablechicago.com

    1. Bin 36 on State/Wabash has solid contemporary American food and can handle groups. Also consider Nacional 27. Both in River North.

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      Nacional 27
      325 W. Huron, Chicago, IL 60610

      1 Reply
      1. re: jayh

        Nacional 27 has Latin fusion cuisine in a festive atmosphere. Since Nacional 27 is part of Lettuce Entertain You, there again, one contact to Lettuce's private party group will be able to advise you about that as well as Wildfire and their other forty or so restaurants.

      2. It's not in River North or the Gold Coast, but you might consider La Sardine, in River West. The food is well-prepared and within your budget, especially if you select the 3-course "petit menu Parisian."
        http://www.lasardine.com/menu.htm

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        La Sardine
        111 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607