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Apr 3, 2014 09:38 AM

Friday Night Dinner with elderly Couple

Need a nice moderately priced spot for a dinner 7-10 guests, ages from 60s to 90. Need a quieter room. Most are staying at the Hotel Monaco, Wabash just north of Randolph and a short cab distance is preferred. While I don't normally favor hotel restaurants, if the South Water Kitchen is good it would make my life simpler. Oh, and there may be a vegetarian/kosher person or two in the crowd. Any thoughts?

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  1. South Water Kitchen is okay - not outstanding (and not dreadful), and the added logistical convenience may make it a good choice, especially considering the age of the diners.

    Otherwise, I'd recommend Atwood, in the Hotel Burnham at State and Washington, three blocks from the Monaco. It is luxurious, with well-spaced thickly-padded seating, and fairly quiet, very conversation-friendly. It is slightly below street level (you can look out the window at passersby) and there is also an elevator. The cuisine is contemporary American with a variety of choices (including impressive vegetarian dishes) that will please those with dietary restrictions. Check out the menu at

    1. Trattoria No. 10 is only a few blocks away from the Monaco on Dearborn between Madison & Washington (10 N. Dearborn - hence the name). The room is quiet and tables are spaced fairly far apart (if there are hearing impairments, this is helpful). It is located one level down from the street but there is an elevator, as well as stairs.

      It features Italian cuisine, with an emphasis on local/farm sourcing. Plenty of fish choices and veggie pastas from the kosher/veggie diners.

      1. Since I will agree that South Water Kitchen is really not that good -- it serves the purpose if there's 2 feet of snow on the ground or it's raining cats and dogs, but to make your life easier, install Uber on your PDA. I would suggest you also have two others install the app and register. You can order a Lincoln Town Car (a "black car") or an SUV and for about $20 go anywhere within a couple mile radius. The app charges your credit card directly including tips and fees so there's no thinking -- easy. You can fit four people in a Black Car and therefore anywhere you want to choose in River North, Streeterville, Mag Mile, Loop, West Loop will be about $20 per car each way.

        If you expand your search here's a couple choices that would fit your criteria:

        Piccolo Sogno Due - fish heavy med-style italian with great bread. I really like the place and, though its old news now, the Obamas had dinner there after it opened a couple years ago.

        Wildfire - you can request to be seated in the wine room next to the bar (maybe the front dining room) but they have nice round tables in the main dining room and its not that loud. Its a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant -- very good quality and consistency and they always work to accommodate your group.

        Now I will rely on nsxtasy's recent posts (on other discussions than this one) to let you choose to stay close or venture out a bit.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jbontario

          How is the noise level at Piccolo Sogno Due? The menu looks good but perhaps Trattoria 10 would be quieter?

          Thanks for the Uber reminder. Our son has it and we used it a lot on our last visit.

          1. re: sammyo

            The noise level at Piccolo Sogno Due is lively but manageable. The tables are spaced fairly far apart, which helps. If that's a major concern, I would stick with Atwood instead; it's not as loud as Piccolo Sogno Due. It's been a while since I dined at Trattoria No. 10; I was not terribly impressed with it at the time, but as I note, that was a while ago, and I don't remember anything about the noise level. If you want great Italian, I would consider Piccolo Sogno Due or Tesori, which are both excellent. Another great Italian place is Vivere, in the Italian Village complex. It empties out after around 7:00 pm because it does a big pre-theater business, so go around 7:30 and it will be *very* quiet. PSD, Tesori, and Vivere are all roughly 4-8 blocks from the Monaco.

            Another not-terribly-loud choice is Café des Architectes, in the Sofitel. But it's about a mile north, so you would definitely need to grab a cab.

            Incidentally, Wildfire is pretty much a steakhouse; they have seafood too, but the menu might be too restrictive for the vegetarians.

            1. re: nsxtasy

              If fish is okay then Wildfire won't be a problem. They also have a number of great salad options and probably a few appetizers that would work.

            2. re: sammyo

              The vibe at PSD is definitely more energetic, and the tables closer together than Tratt #10. As between Tratt #10 and Atwood, I'd also prefer the former, both because the food is better in my opinion at Tratt #10, and tables spaced more generously. At Atwood, some of the tables are quite close. If you decide to go there, you should definitely contact them in advance and request a table with some privacy.

              I eat at Tratt #10 a fair amount and have rarely been disappointed by the food. The homemade pasta is particularly good.

              1. re: masha

                >> The vibe at PSD is definitely more energetic, and the tables closer together than Tratt #10.

                I'm pretty sure that the tables at PSD are spaced at least as far apart as at Trattoria #10. In fact, when I first ate there, I was surprised they were spaced as spaciously as they are (and that it's not noisier than it is), considering its River North location. I think they're also spaced further apart than the original Piccolo Sogno in River West (which is another reason I was surprised at the spaciousness and moderate noise level). And yes, I've been there with a full house.

                >> If you decide to go there, you should definitely contact them in advance and request a table with some privacy.

                I think this is an excellent idea for *anywhere* you go. Mention your desire for a quieter table location when making your reservation.

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  PSD sounds like it will be fine. Good suggestion re a quiet table. Thanks to all for your help.

          2. Are you looking for recommendations for "a couple" or are you looking for recommendations for "7-10 guests"?

            1 Reply
            1. re: chowyadoin99

              7-10 guests that will include an elderly couple or two is how I read it