Chicago is a foodie lover’s dream, validated by none other than Bon Appétit when it named Chicago its 2017 Restaurant City of the Year. Chicago is home to some of the finest cuisine and most cutting-edge chefs in the world. And fortunately, many of them offer private dining in equally impressive spaces. Take a look at some of the best private dining rooms in Chicago geared to both big and small groups.
Private dining for large groups
Aster Hall, the chic food hall inside 900 North Michigan Shops, can accommodate up to 400 guests. The upstairs Bar & Study perfectly lends itself for private events — you’ll find fun retro interior details, pops of plush colorful furnishings, and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the lake and Michigan Avenue. The private event packages feature food and drink options ranging from Chicago classics such as the Small Cheval burger or Green Street Smoked Meats barbecue to new concepts like Boardwalk Seafood Co. and Lost Lily’s Stir Fry and Dumplings.
This lively, global Latin-fusion restaurant was recently named one of OpenTable’s Top 100 Hot Spots in America. Bold splashes of color, dynamic artwork, and festive Latin music are the perfect backdrop for the cuisine that culls the flavors of Central and South America, Cuba, Spain, and the Caribbean. Standouts include Peruvian chicken and salmon in a Mexican achiote marinade with black pearl rice. Meals can be served plated, family-style, or as a buffet. Carnivale has seven private dining rooms, with fun names like the Lambada Lounge and Samba Room, that can accommodate groups of various sizes, ranging from 40 to 500. Or do a buyout of the entire restaurant and entertain up to 1,000 guests.
Tortoise Supper Club
This swanky spot in bustling River North is known for prime rib, steaks, and fresh seafood served in an upscale jazz-club ambiance. Treat your guests to made-from-scratch cuisine and white tablecloth service surrounded by thoughtful touches like original mahogany accents, a 1919 concert piano from the owner’s grandmother, a roaring fireplace, and homages to old-school Chicago history. Tortoise Supper Club is able to host groups from five to 300 in their private and semi-private spaces.
This acclaimed eatery in the Thompson Chicago boutique hotel brings fine Italian food to the Gold Coast neighborhood. Brick walls, rich leathers and plush velvets create a sumptuous setting overlooking the city. Specialty pastas include the stuffed pappardelle with milk-braised pork and black truffles. The second-floor event space is comprised of three private dining rooms with floating walls that can be combined to accommodate up to 100 guests for a seated dinner or 150 reception-style. The stunning gallery-style Reserve Bar overlooks Salone Nico and its living green wall, and can host up to 50 guests for a reception with parlor seating.
At Harry Caray’s, you’ll find private rooms that combine sophistication, charm, and sports history, serving up award-winning food. Options include six restaurant locations in and around Chicago, as well as the Chicago Sports Museum, located above the Magnificent Mile. The Museum features 23,000-square-feet of event space, combining interactive entertainment, state-of-the-art audio/visual capabilities and upscale design. The entire venue can be rented for receptions of up to 1200 guests or for seated events of up to 300 guests. Smaller spaces are also available for private events. Harry Caray’s River North location can accommodate events of up to 250 guests, with smaller spaces for up to 100 guests.
Private dining for small groups
This River North hot spot pairs New Asian fare with craft cocktails in chic environs accented with red travertine marble and black bamboo. Family-style dining takes advantage of Sunda’s dishes that are perfect for group sharing, such as dim sum (like oxtail pot stickers) and signature sushi, with three- or four-course options offered. A variety of both semi-private and private dining spaces are available, along with non-private communal tables in the main dining room for groups of 14-40. And don’t forget cocktails — Sunda features an extensive selection of sake, with flights available for tasting.
Prime & Provisions
This two-story steakhouse at the corner of La Salle Street and Wacker Drive in the Loop captures the essence of a 1920s supper club. Of course, steaks are the specialty here (notable is the dry-aged New York strip steak), but the Chicken Vesuvio Circa 1930 also gets rave reviews. Groups of 20 – 30 can get cozy in the semi-private Prime Nook, featuring bolstered leather banquette seating, chandeliers and full bar access. In warm-weather months, book the Outdoor Terrace overlooking the Chicago River for a sunset cocktail party or private dinner accommodating 50 – 75 guests. The second-floor Private Dining Room boasts skyline views, with flexible floor plans and seating for 75+.
Inspired by classic red sauce joints of the 1950s, Formento’s is a nod to the owner’s Italian grandmother, Nonna Formento. Located on Restaurant Row in the hot West Loop district, Formento’s dishes up traditional family recipes (like Nonna’s meatballs), in addition to modern takes on classics, such as the ravioli stuffed with ricotta, summer squash, and dried orange. The restaurant features two private dining rooms in its upstairs brick-walled loft space overlooking bustling Randolph Street below, accommodating groups as small as 20. Each room has its own private bar and sound system. Consider adding selections from Formento’s impressive 600-label wine list, named Best Medium-Size Wine List in the World by the internationally acclaimed British publication, The World of Fine Wine.
Mercat a la Planxa
Mercat a la Planxa can accommodate intimate gatherings for as little as 10 guests. The Spanish spot on Michigan Avenue features three different private diningrooms and three semi-private event spaces that can accommodate group of all sizes.