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GROUP ETHNIC DINING IN CHICAGO

An evening of adventurous eating is the perfect ice breaker for groups.

 

If you’re looking for a private group dining experience that will encourage attendees to mingle, consider booking a dinner at an ethnic Chicago restaurant. You’ll find everything from Thai to Indian-Latin fusion and Spanish tapas. Plus, many ethnic restaurants serve their dishes family style, so everyone in the group gets to try a number of different delicacies. Here are six to check out.

 

ARUN’S

arun's thai

World-renowned Chef Arun Sampanthavivat has renovated and reopened his pioneering fine dining Thai restaurant in Albany Park, adding a new upstairs private dining room. The elegant ambiance is accented with patterned mahogany panels, Thai silks and exquisite paintings. Family-style dishes include Mussaman curry with slow-braised beef (a customer favorite) and Bangkok-style sweet chili lobster. There is also a new emphasis on food as art, evidenced by the beautifully presented dishes, along with a craft cocktail program.

 

CAFE BA-BA-REEBA!

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!

Get an authentic taste of Spain at this long-time Lincoln Park restaurant known for its extensive menu of tapas. The menu is made to share, encouraging the sampling of various tapas (including bacon-wrapped roasted dates and Moroccan chickpea stew) and the popular Valencian rice dish, paella. Wash it down with fruity sangria, including classic red and white peach versions. Parties of up to 160 people can be accommodated in the restaurant’s six private and semi-private spaces, named for different cities in Spain.

 

BELLYQ

Pork dumpling soup

Acclaimed Chef Bill Kim offers a modern take on Asian barbecue. Book a private party and be treated to dishes that are meant to be shared, creating a community dining experience. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Chef Kim’s Asian dishes include lemongrass salmon with chow fun noodles and marinated Korean short ribs with sesame chimichurri. Parties of 5-10 can reserve the private Chef’s Table and cook their own meals on unique grill tables with a view of Chef Kim and his crew busy at work in the kitchen. After dinner, head to the Chef’s Quarters lounge for cocktails and karaoke.

 

THE BLANCHARD

The Blanchard

This comfortably elegant Lincoln Park restaurant is the perfect setting for the refined French cuisine of Executive Chef Ryan Burns. A former protégé of world-renowned Chef Grant Achatz at Chicago’s Alinea, Burns’ imaginative dishes change with the season’s bounty. Recent dishes have included the King crab sided with Parisienne gnocchi and the deconstructed coq au vin with chicken truffle roulade. Host a private party in the remodeled lounge or buyout the entire restaurant.

 

IMPERIAL LAMIAN

Imperial Lamian

Step into this beautiful River North restaurant and you’ll be transported into an exotic world decorated with handmade Oriental screens and unique birdcage pendant lights. Indulge in authentic Chinese cuisine, including hand-pulled Lamian noodles, fresh-made dim sum and wok-fired entrees. The private Imperial Room, featuring a colorful wall mural, seats up to 30 guests. Choose from the family-style menu that includes dim sum starters such as mushroom bao and main dishes like fried shrimp Lamian and London duck.

 

VERMILION

Vermilion

Indian and Latin cuisines are creatively fused at this sleek River North restaurant. Try small plates like the blue corn-crusted scallops with Peruvian corn or artichoke pakoras with eggplant-coconut chutney. Signature entrees include Tandoori skirt steak with garlic spinach and plantain-crusted whitefish seasoned with cilantro. End with the Vermilion Hedonism for dessert: dark chocolate cake sided with berry-cardamom sorbet. Several semi-private spaces can seat from 10-350 guests, including the main event space that can accommodate 125 for dinner. 

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