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Jun 12, 2014 02:42 PM

Need A Quieter Restaurant For Large Family Dinner

Getting married next summer in Chicago and we're having a rehearsal dinner with just our immediate families, 12 adults in all. My fiancée and I are hoping to keep the bill under $1500 so reserving a private room is out (most minimums are $2000). Family will probably be in hotels in River North without cars. We're leaning toward Italian, Southern, Seafood or Steakhouse, cuisine wise but I'm open to new suggestions. Our first choice was Girl & The Goat, but their room fee and minimum is right outside our budget.

No speeches. No slide shows to contend with. We just want a place with excellent food where we can hear ourselves talk. Ideas?

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  1. I would try one of the small plates places in River North: Sable, GT Fish & Oyster, or Quartino. All have great food and are relatively inexpensive for the food (although alcohol can be a bigger variable in determining the cost, especially if you choose any sort of open bar or unlimited alcohol). Another option is Coco Pazzo Café, which tends to be a bit less expensive than some of the other Italian places. Of these four, Quartino can sometimes be rather loud, but the other three are not overly noisy. So I would try one of those.

    I also wouldn't rule out a private room, but would instead discuss the possibility with any venues you're considering. A private room should avoid any problems with the need for a quieter restaurant, since you'll have the room to yourself and the noise will be pretty much all your own. Regarding the cost issue, restaurants typically set their minimum based on the capacity of the room, not the size of your party, so you may be hearing about $2000 minimums because you're looking at private rooms that hold 20-25 people, so for example the restaurant may calculate a minimum based on $100 times 20-25 rather than $100 times 12. You can find the size of many of the private rooms on Opentable at So, for example, you might find that the minimum at Sable is within your budget for the "Abstract Boardroom" (seats 12) or the "Mosaic Suite" (seats 15). Give them a call. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Great suggestions! I'd been using open table to search for spots, but I was looking under the wrong tag. Banquets/Private dining is definitely more appropriate. Thanks!

    2. My daughter got married last August. I had about 20 guests at the dinner, which was held at the Little Market Brasserie, next to the Talbott Hotel (River North). Cost was $1420 in total, including booze, tax, tip. They have various packages, and I know I added a bunch of additional food to whatever the package options were.
      Very good food, excellent service, and easy folks to work with.
      I don't know if/how much the restaurant may have changed their group dining in terms of price, but here's the link:

      Did not have a private room, but no problem at all with the noise level. We had one long table with seating on both sides of the table. It was easy to get up and move about to chat.

      All in all, I thought it was a really successful dinner.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mrsdebdav

        I attended a rehearsal dinner at Reza's in River North last night and thought it was very well done. While this was a larger gathering, about eighty people upstairs in a private dining area, the restaurant is huge and on a beautiful Saturday in June it was not crowded or noisy. While the cuisine is Persian, the food we were served (especially chicken and steak kabobs, served off the skewers, and charbroiled salmon entrees) seemed to appeal to everyone, including the less-adventurous eaters. Based on the Family Style menus posted on their website, it would be well under your budget, so perhaps more casual than you want, or a nice way to save some money for other wedding expenses.

        Reza's Restaurant
        432 W Ontario St.

      2. Trattoria No 10 has private dining options that include alcoves with a single table, separated by a divider from the main dining room. There is no fee for the space, just a required minimum for food. Here is a link to their private dining webpage.

        Their food is very good. The main negative, in my mind is their basement location; it's accessible by elevator but windowless, which to me is more of an issue for daytime dining.

        1. Vivere has a balcony/mezzanine that overlooks the main dining room. I went to a Dining Out For Life meal there a couple years ago. It's open yet still private. I think there was 15-16 of us,, but there was room for more.