A Private Affair

Monica Parpal |
Food And Dining

One of the benefits of dining out in Chicago is joining the social scene—people watching, mixing with friends, and taking in all the buzz of the Windy City. But for special occasions, business meetings, or celebratory events, many would rather seek out a more intimate dining experience. From sequestered alcoves to businesslike banquet rooms, DiningOut has gathered up a list of our favorite restaurants in the city that offer private dining experiences to make your next event an unforgettable one.


Benny's Chop House

{444 North Wabash Avenue; 312.626.2444}

For a warm and elegant setting, Benny's Chop House offers a lovely option for both business and celebratory groups. A large private room bathed in natural light from large windows can accommodate up to 56 guests, and offers complementary A/V equipment. Two semi-private spaces—each accommodating up to 30 guests—are available within the main dining room, and can be set up to offer one large table or multiple smaller tables. When it comes to choosing from the many sumptuous selections on the menu, guests are encouraged to customize the menus however they like—with logos, menu headers, and an unlimited selection of their favorite dishes. We suggest starting in the bar, where live piano music makes for an enchanting semi-private reception, complete with specialty drinks, wine, or customizable cocktails, if desired. bennyschophouse.com/private-dining


Le Colonial

{937 North Rush Street; 312.255.0088}

At Le Colonial, guests escape to the elegance of the Southeast Asian French colonial era in the middle of Chicago's buzzing shopping district. Here, warm and sophisticated décor keeps faithful to Vietnamese culinary traditions, with rattan sofas, Oriental rugs, potted palms, and pressed white tablecloths setting the scene. Private parties can occupy the semi-private lounge (with seating for 62) or the fully private open-air terrace (enclosed and heated in the cooler months) with seating for 28 for lunch or dinner. An on-site event specialist works with guests to create customized event packages from start to finish. In keeping with tradition, meals are served family-style—perfect for groups who want to try a bit of everything. And with hand-selected jazz music, votive candles, single stem orchids, and the care of the attentive staff, the stage is set for a memorable dining experience each and every time. lecolonialchicago.com



{65 East Adams Street; 312.786.9911}

For an upscale take on contemporary Italian dining in the heart of downtown, guests gather at Tesori—perfect for a festive reception or an intimate gathering. The glass-walled private space—which looks out over a lush patio and the buzzing downtown scene—is perfect for meetings and celebrations for up to 45 guests (or 75 reception-style). The chef will gladly customize menus for special events, but Tesori is particularly known for their One-Ingredient Dinner Parties. Designed for parties of 10 or more, this experience involves a multi-course menu focused on a single, carefully-selected and seasonal ingredient—an intriguing and unique idea for a private dinner. Don't miss out on the extensive, well-curated wine list or their new cocktail program featuring innovative, seasonal, and refreshing cocktails all year round. tesorichicago.com


Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

{437 North Rush Street; 312.222.0101}

At Phil Stefani's 437 Rush—a classy steakhouse located right on Chicago's Magnificent Mile—private dining is a delicious and artistic experience. Here, two separate private dining rooms on the second floor provide a welcome retreat for wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, corporate events, and large birthday celebrations. The Café room, with its beautiful mahogany hardwood floors and a large bar (great for cocktail receptions) seats up to 72 people, while the Newsroom, a more formal event space with elegant black and white tile floors (think 1940s Art Deco-style) seats up to 110 people. Two VIP rooms located on the third floor can accommodate smaller parties of 22 people and 14 people—perfect for power lunches and business meetings. Guests are encouraged to browse the pre-set event menus (complete with bar packages), which reflect the steakhouse's signature entrées and varied à la carte menu items—just what 437 Rush does best. philstefanis437rush.com/private-dining.htm


Athena Greek Restaurant

{212 South Halsted Street #1; 312.655.0000}

Celebrate all the goodness of Greek cuisine during your next private dining get-together. Three private rooms at Athena Greek Restaurant offer several seating options: one with seating for up to 40 people behind elegant French doors, with a view of the Willis Tower; another room seats 80, and boasts its own fireplace. The highlight of the restaurant, however, is the semi-private space seating nearly 150. This room allows guests to dine in the open air when weather permits, while the space closes off with a glass dome ceiling when needed. There's even a 25-foot waterfall inside. From rehearsal dinners to corporate luncheons, Athena provides customized menu selections, intriguing dining rooms, and free valet parking—a boon in this busy part of town. athenarestaurantchicago.com


III Forks

{180 North Field Boulevard; 312.938.4303}

III Forks offers a contemporary take on the classic steakhouse—a stylish setting for an upscale private party or special event. Assisted by an in-house private events manager, guests can choose from three private dining rooms or a rooftop lounge for corporate meetings, social gatherings, or cocktail receptions. For 10 guests or fewer, the Wine Room offers a classy, glass-enclosed space for those with a taste for the grape. For up to 12 guests, the Poker Room is a dapper, intimate setting with wood and stone accents lit by the glow of a private fireplace. The Captains Room offers built-in AV equipment, making a good choice for business meetings. Up to 100 guests can be accommodated in the Legends Room, a semi-private space. Finally, the rooftop bar offers seating for 150, with cabanas, fireplaces, and a full bar. Event menus (including bar and bottle service menus) are available. 3forks.com



{739 North Clark Street; 312.266.6691}

ZED451 offers tableside service and interactive dining with gourmet flavors from around the world. Whether serving a group of 800 or a table for two, the experience is both delicious and memorable. The dining room has been highly-stylized for a rustic, natural look, including large walnut tables and double-sided fireplaces. The five event spaces include three on the first floor (accommodating 10-75) and two on the second floor (with space for 40-200 guests). The rooftop offers a chic, open-air option for up to 100. Exclusive private dining menus offer hors-d'oeuvre, a seafood market table, three specialty beverage packages—including a make-your-own mojito bar with seasonal fruits and berries—and custom housemade dessert platters. Plus, two complimentary shuttles offer pick-up and drop-off services from anywhere downtown. Wedding parties are encouraged to book one for the groomsmen and one for the bridesmaids—getting both groups to ZED451 in style. zed451.com


Pelago Ristorante

{201 East Delaware Place; 312.280.0700}

At Pelago, one of the top modern Italian restaurants in the city, homemade pasta and seafood meet contemporary décor and architecture. Small parties will feel well-cared for in the Fireplace Room, which seats 8-12 at a white-linen table near the warmth of a two-sided mother of pearl-clad fireplace. For guests with larger parties (45 or fewer), consider renting the entire restaurant. The lower level is perfect for entertainment and cocktails, while the upper level is ideal for a sophisticated lunch or dinner. Chef Mauro Mafrici accommodates guests with just about any food request, applying his knowledge of regional Italian food on demand (but a five-course tasting menu is always available on short notice). His wife, Kimberly Anguil Mafrici, created the restaurant's design, a contemporary, sophisticated, and elegant environment blending the Old World with the New. What better place for your private event? pelagorestaurant.com.


Roka Akor

{456 North Clark; 312.477.7652}

This palindromic steak and sushi sensation is accessible for private celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries, and reunions, as well as corporate events and meetings. The Akai Room sports rustic wood and stone décor, and seats up to 48 guests. It features its own private bar, TV/projector, and private sound system. The intimate, chic semi-private Omakase Table seats 16 guests and overlooks the main dining room area. What's more, the Roka Bar is an excellent place to get started with a non-private cocktail hour. Guests can work with Roka Akor's event design planners to select a cocktail reception package, as well as a special menu, such as Chef Brett Vibber's Omakase menu, or one of the three- or four-course lunch or dinner menus. rokaakor.com



{710 North Wells Street; 312.951.9500}

If you are looking for a casually elegant setting for your next social or business event, PROSECCO offers several excellent options, from the petite, semi-private eight-seat Doge's Room to reserving the entire restaurant, serving up to 200 for cocktails and heavy antipasti. “Each area has a unique ambience,” explains Kathryn Sullivan Alvera, PROSECCO Managing Partner and Interior Designer. “All were inspired by my love of the faded elegance of Venice." The Main Salotto is pattered after a stylish, Old-World watering hole, with a 35-foot bar, beautiful sconces, and luxurious damask drapes. The Piazza Dining Room features an open kitchen, delightful perch from which to observe Executive Chef/Managing Partner Mark Paracino as he creates his delicious Italian dishes, with an adjacent dining room seating up to 45 guests. On the lower level, La Cantinella offers an inviting haven for up to 20 around a grand table, 40 for rounds, and 70 for cocktails. This intimate cellar space, decorated in warm, wine-like colors, is also ideal for board meetings, important social occasions, and wine tastings. Private Dining Manager Jennifer Shoop assists with all the important details ot make sure each client feels like a guest at their own event. prosecco.us.com



{1252 North Wells Street; 312.988.7811}

From festive celebratory events to collaborative business meetings, this upscale and contemporary Mexican restaurant affords an ample, fully-private lunch and dinner space for up to 65 people. This space, on the restaurant's second floor, is decorated in festive blues and yellows. It's totally private—including its own private elevator, three separate wash rooms, and a private, dedicated kitchen and bar—making the space excellent for happy hour or receptions followed by a group lunch or dinnner. Guests work with the chef to create a menu. Guests typically choose a soup or salad and are offered between six to eight entrée choices, with options including fish, steak, lamb, and vegetarian for a wide variety. Here, the all-inclusive set-up and totally private ambience allow guests to truly relax and enjoy the event. The extensive dessert wine and cordial selection—along with a rich Spanish cheese plate—is an added bonus. salpicon.com


Travelle in the Langham

{The Langham, Chicago, 330 North Wabash Avenue; 312.923.7705}

Though Chef Tim Graham's Mediterranean-themed menu works well in a naturally open, airy space—much like the Mediterranean region itself—it's enjoyed just as well with a bit of privacy. A couple of options are available for those looking to enjoy a planned get-together: the private Chef's Table, which includes its own sumptuous tasting menu; the private Cellar Table with seating for up to 10; and a buyout of the dining room, which suits 125 guests comfortably. The menu for each can range from hors d'oeuvre, crudo, and caviar to seated feasts flowing with pasta and hearty entrées. And for the vegetarians and vegans among us, never fear: the menu boasts meatless offerings in every menu category, making planning for special occasions that much easier. Also keep in mind that Travelle sports a roomy-retro lounge, perfect for sipping cocktails and snacking with a small group. travellechicago.com / chicago.langhamhotels.com