5 Best Chicago Restaurants for Wedding Planning
Written by Abby Shure
The best part of being a wedding planner is knowing all sorts of people that are great at all sorts of things. My friend Abby is my go to person when it comes to restaurant recommendations. I asked her to give me 5 restaurants PERFECT for family discussions, family time to celebrate being engaged or those weekly wedding planning meetings you will have.
’I love the experience of sharing food with friends and family, and a huge part of that is choosing where to go out to eat. My brother and sister are both new to Chicago and our parents are frequent guests from Pittsburgh, so we spend a lot of time trying new restaurants.
My siblings will eat anything as long as the restaurant vibe seems pretty cool, my mom doesn’t eat pork or shellfish but loves to feel like she’s on the culinary cutting edge, and my dad eats like a dad - he’s not interested in trying anything new unless we can convince him it’s exactly like something he already likes, except a little different.
Here are 5 restaurants that we’ve gone to as a family and loved: They have something that everyone wants to eat, the atmosphere is cool, you can get drinks (crucial for smoothing over any big family discussions), and it’s not a touristy spot.
This is my personal favorite and I was so excited to take my family here. I love the sharable British-Indian food, the variety of Pimms cup drinks, and the location on Division - which is perfect for people-watching. Everyone found something to eat with lots of variety and we didn’t even have to get the burger! (But definitely get the burger.) The chicken tikka kati rolls are a crowd pleaser and the lamb dumplings are great. The fries and the gobi Manchurian are always a win. My mom loved this because she felt cool as hell, and so did I.
Okay so this IS pretty touristy but hear me out: There is something to be said for getting everyone together in a giant, gorgeous living room to eat and drink, and that’s not even talking about the actual dining room here. Furniture shopping is normally so stressful you can’t really enjoy it, but this takes away the stress and adds delicious food and a beautiful setting. The wait is long so don’t come starving, but everything on the menu is great and the whole place is perfect for the ‘gram. This is a place we go when we don’t have anywhere else in mind, and it never disappoints. Sometimes you can catch me here with my siblings on the weekend, sitting on a couch, and calling our parents on speakerphone (sorry, everyone).
This is pretty scene-y but in a good way - this will impress your family, any dates you bring with you, and friends who see your snap story. The food is great and covers a lot of Latin American dishes - even the dessert is excellent. The drinks are crowd-pleasers, too. This also hasn’t quite blown up like other West Loop restaurants, so it’s still a to-be-discovered spot for enough people that you’ll look like a genius for suggesting it. This is also a spot that can reasonably accommodate a large group while still feeling intimate, which is always a feat.
Hard to say no to a giant bowl of pasta, and even harder when it’s really really good, and the restaurant is nice and warm and inviting. This is a place my parents would come to all the time if they lived in Chicago, but since they don’t we have to settle for taking them whenever they visit. It’s low-key but nice, reservations are plentiful, and again, giant bowls of pasta. Everyone will be happy you brought them here. The servings are giant so if you’re like our family and you get lots of appetizers and salads, count on (happily) eating leftovers for a few days.
Bop’n Grill - Lakeview (multiple locations)
Sometimes your family doesn’t have time to deal with a whole production of a meal and you need fast-casual. Sometimes you want your dad to try Korean food when (you’re pretty sure) he’s never had it before and you need a good starting point. Sometimes you need 5 people to split an order of kimchi cheese fries and you enlist the fam. Whatever the reason, Bop’n Grill works. There’s food for vegetarians and meat eaters, the burgers are great and the Korean plates are awesome (and not necessarily face-meltingly spicy, unless you like them that way), and the Philly cheesesteak eggrolls on the weekends are divine. Oh and this was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, which is a huge draw for our family.’