23 Best Places to Host a Birthday Dinner in Chicago

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 | 0 Comments
birthday dinner in Chicago

Looking for the perfect spot for a birthday dinner in Chicago? Whether you're planning your own outing or plotting someone else’s celebration, Chicago eateries offer everything from casual, laid-back fun to fancy, formal multi-course meals. Located all over the city and at multiple price points, restaurants in the Windy City provide a vast range of great options for a distinctive, unique birthday dinner in Chicago featuring fare from all over the world, old favorite classic dishes and free-flowing cocktails to suit any taste. 

If you’re looking for inspiration and aren’t quite sure where to start, you can sample some of the great food tours in Chicago or enjoy your very own experience with private chefs in Chicago. Private chefs are a perfect option for dinners in the comfort of your home or other venue, hailing from some of the top restaurants in the city. 

In the meantime, we’ve rounded up a few of the best birthday dinner restaurants in Chicago whether you’re looking to make a memorable occasion for a group or just one or two people.

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1. Carnivale

One of the most colorful exteriors and festive atmospheres makes Carnivale a great spot for a Chicago birthday dinner of any size, though the more, the merrier. The large interior easily accommodates large groups, and the expansive menu serves up Latin fusion fare, scrumptious desserts and a variety of exotic cocktails that keep the celebration going all night long amid colorful lighting and vivid décor. All of these factors regularly put Carnivale on lists of the best restaurants for birthday dinners in Chicago.

Carnivale | 702 W. Fulton Market St., Chicago, IL 60661 | $$$

A birthday dinner in Chicago at Carnivale is unforgettable.
via Carnivale

2. Russian Tea Time Restaurant 

For a quiet yet classic spot for your birthday dinner in Chicago, the Russian Tea Time Restaurant is great for a late lunch or early dinner. Founded by a family of Uzbekistan immigrants in the early ‘90s, they serve up Eastern European favorites like potato dumplings, borscht and duck strudel with a cozy, elegant vibe. Round off your meal with a full tea service or a shot of strong vodka to celebrate the coming year.

Russian Tea Time Restaurant | 77 E. Adams St., Chicago, IL 60603 | $$$

3. La Luna

A fun restaurant in Chicago for birthdays, Pilsen favorite La Luna boasts a colorful, festive atmosphere infused with Latin and hip-hop music. With spacious seating and beautiful murals, this eatery serves up a variety of traditional Mexican fare of all varieties as well as new modern twists on classics. Also, they’ve got margaritas by the large pitcher, a hit for any Chicago birthday dinner celebration.

La Luna | 1726 S. Racine Ave., Chicago, IL 60608 | $$$

a platter of fajitas
via La Luna

4. Yardbird

Located in River North, this two-story eatery with chicken at the center of its menu is great for large group birthday dinners in Downtown Chicago, with the potential for private parties and events upstairs. In addition to its famous chicken offerings, the Yardbird menu boasts dishes like ricotta-stuffed meatballs, deviled eggs and lobster mac and cheese.

Yardbird | 530 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60604 | $$

5. Omakase Takeya

A signature and memorable experience, Omakase Takeya is a great place for a formal and intimate sushi birthday dinner in Chicago. Located in Fulton Market, this spot in the basement of Ramen Takeya only seats seven diners at a time for a distinctive, chef-chosen variety of sushi courses including hand-rolled nigiri, sashimi and Japanese small plates. The vibe is upscale and exclusive and works well for one to two people or a small group of diners. Reservations are difficult to come by for this popular sushi spot, so make sure to plan ahead.

Omakase Takeya | 819 W. Fulton Market St., Chicago, IL 60607 | $$$$

Omakase Takeya makes a great elevated birthday dinner in Chicago.
via Omakase Takeya

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6. Headquarters Beercade  

For more casual and lively birthday dinners in Downtown Chicago, Headquarters Beercade is just one of the city’s arcade-inspired bars and a great place for food, cocktails and a few rounds of your favorite game. Whether it's a small group or a larger bash (Headquarters also offers booking for special events), you can play a few rounds of PacMan while imbibing from an expansive selection of beers, shots and signature cocktails. The menu is filled with pub classics like pizza, hurricane fries, burgers and Creole corn dogs, making this one of the best places for a birthday dinner in Chicago that puts “fun” over “fancy.”

Headquarters Beercade River North | 1610 W. Institute Pl., Chicago, IL 60610 | $$

7. Three Dots and a Dash

Delightful subterranean-tropical vibes make Three Dots and a Dash a perfect spot for a Chicago birthday dinner. Named after the morse code for “V” or “victory” referencing WWII, this distinctive eatery's alley entrance transports you to the islands, where you can sample a number of rum-based cocktails, including the Treasure Chest, a group cocktail that serves up to eight people. The menu includes delicious mahi-mahi tacos, a pu pu platter appetizer sampler and crispy coconut shrimp.

Three Dots and a Dash | 545 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654 | $$

a group at a bar at a tropical themed birthday hot spot
via Three Dots and a Dash

8. Cesar’s Killer Margaritas

Sporting two Lakeview locations, Cesar’s Killer Margaritas are a Chicago institution if you’re looking to celebrate your birthday in Chicago with icy cocktails the size of your head. A raucous and celebratory environment to enjoy before a Chicago birthday dinner, Cesar’s boasts an impressive selection of tequilas and Mexican beers in addition to their renowned margarita recipes. Either location is perfect for larger group gatherings complete with Latin music and a festive vibe that persists until closing. 

Cesar’s Killer Margaritas | Multiple Locations, Chicago, IL | $$

9. Herb

This Thai restaurant in the quiet Edgewater neighborhood is a best-kept secret that often makes it onto lists of the best restaurants in Chicago. They offer world-class Thai favorites with modern touches in a large, contemporary and bright dining room, making it a great spot for large and small groups for any Chicago birthday dinner. With a seasonal menu of five- to six-course meals, Herb creates an elevated but laid-back dining experience for any birthday dinner in Chicago.  

Herb | 5424 N. Broadway Ave., Chicago, IL 60640 | $$$

a colorfully plated Thai dish
via Herb

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10. North Pond

This waterside restaurant boasts tremendous views of the city from its Lincoln Park location, as well as great possibilities for a romantic Chicago birthday dinner evening for two. While North Pond’s seatings are limited to six and in high demand, their menu is luxe and varied. Seasonal offerings in a mix of inspired cuisines and a great cocktail menu of signature drinks easily puts them on any list of standout Lincoln Park restaurants. Finish the night off with a romantic walk around the park for a great date idea in Chicago.

North Pond  | 2016 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago, IL 60614 | $$$$

11. Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

Long famous for its festive atmosphere and ample tapas offerings, Café Ba-Ba-Reeba! in River North makes an excellent option for a larger group of diners for a Chicago birthday dinner. They also have an excellent selection of Spanish wines and flowing sangria to keep the party going all night. Café Ba-Ba-Reeba is often listed as one of the best restaurants for birthdays in Chicago.

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba! | 441 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654 | $$

via Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

12. Buddy Guy’s Legends

Perfect for music lovers, Buddy Guy’s is famous for its blues performances and great Cajun-derived fare, making it a great night out for a Chicago birthday dinner of any size (including an upstairs private room for larger groups). This classic blues club was founded a few doors down from its current locale in 1989 by the blues legend Buddy Guy, who still makes occasional appearances. Take in a world-class blues performance while sampling a huge bar and menu selection including classics like Louisiana gumbo, po’boys and a selection of signature burgers. 

Buddy Guy’s Legends | 700 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60605 | $$

13. Cindy’s Rooftop

This lauded rooftop restaurant in Chicago is a much-loved option for your next birthday dinner in Chicago. Reservations for Cindy’s are much coveted, as the panoramic views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan draw tourists and Chicagoans alike. Plus, they boast a great menu of signature cocktails and seasonally rotating family-style fare like sweet potato rigatoni and roasted pork chops. Excellent views and unique cocktails make this one of the best restaurants in Chicago for birthdays.

Cindy’s Rooftop | 12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603 | $$

Cindy's a great venue for a birthday dinner in Chicago.
via Cindy's Rooftop

14. Dolo

Easily one of the largest and most popular spots for dim sum dining, Dolo’s prime central spot in the Chinatown neighborhood makes a great option for a birthday dinner in Chicago. The dining room is perfect for smaller and larger groups, with a menu featuring a vast selection of dim sum favorites like dumplings and buns, spring rolls and egg tarts, as well as a menu of other dinner options, including roast duck and fresh seafood. 

Dolo | 2222 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, IL 60616 | $$

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15. Geja’s Café

A Chicago classic in business since 1965, Geja’s Café is known for intimate and romantic dining. Located in Lincoln Park, this fondue restaurant and wine bar offers a menu of cheese and chocolate-drizzled delights as well as a large wine selection. The vibe is romantic and visually rich, with regular flamenco and classical guitar music. Geja’s is the perfect spot for smaller, more intimate Chicago birthday dinner celebrations for couples. 

Geja’s Café | 340 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60614 | $$$

a flaming fondue pot
via Geja's Café

16. Roka Akor

This chic River North Japanese eatery is often cited as a perfect spot to enjoy a birthday dinner night out, only partly because they serve up everything from steak to sushi to Japanese small plates. A large interior makes Roka Akor friendly to larger groups, while the vibe is upscale but relaxed. The menu includes a list of exotic Japanese cocktails and a multi-course omakase meal chosen by the chef.

Roka Akor | 456 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654 | $$$

17. Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse

If you are a lover of delicious churrasco cooked meat of all kinds, this distinctive dining experience is perfect for a birthday dinner in Chicago. The very popular Chicago location of a popular chain that originated in 1970s Brazil, Fogo de Chão offers beef, chicken, lamb and other meats grilled using their famous churrasco grilling method. The restaurant can accommodate large or small parties, but reservations are necessary and in demand, so plan ahead. The unique menu and presentation style make this a fun restaurant in Chicago for birthdays.

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse | 661 N. La Salle St., Chicago, IL 60654 | $$

churrasco-style Brazilian steak
via Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse

18. Frontier

This Wicker Park restaurant fave is definitely for meat-lovers. A cozy lodge feel complete with log-cabin walls, exposed beams and fireplaces serves up a variety of meats, with one special highlight being a “Whole Animal Experience” where diners can choose from everything from wagyu beef to alligator. Frontier’s dining room is large and accommodating to big groups. Private event spaces are also available, making it the perfect spot for a Chicago birthday dinner outing of any size. 

Frontier | 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60642 | $$

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19. Planta Queen

If you’re looking for a great vegan spot for your birthday dinner in Chicago, try this popular River North Asian fusion spot. Bright, modern and spacious, Planta Queen offers vegetarian options on everything from sushi to noodle dishes, including amazing jackfruit-glazed faux chicken wings. With spacious seating, it’s perfect for larger groups to celebrate your birthday. 

Planta Queen | 413 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654 | $$

Planta is a great spot for a birthday dinner in Chicago.
via Planta Queen

20. Les Nomades

Definitely on the higher end, French-cuisine favorite Les Nomades is popular among diners for its cozy décor, blazing fireplaces and artful vibe. It’s one of the best options for a fancy and elevated birthday dinner restaurant in Chicago. Choose from a menu of classic French dishes with a modern twist, including pâté, caviar and, of course, exquisite French desserts and pastries, perfect for finishing off any indulgent birthday dinner in Chicago.

Les Nomades | 222 E. Ontario St., Chicago, IL 60611 | $$$$

21. Bronzeville Winery

Located in the historic South Side neighborhood of Bronzeville, this popular Chicago birthday dinner spot is much in demand for an extensive wine list and a modern interpretation of classic American fare like burgers, seafood and gourmet mac and cheese. While seating at Bronzeville Winery is limited and reservations hard to come by, dining is a multi-course experience, often with live music and a large patio in the summer months.

Bronzeville Winery | 4420 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago, IL 60653 | $$$ 

Bronzeville Winery
via Bronzeville Winery

22. Gilt Bar

Known for its luxe speakeasy atmosphere, Gilt Bar serves up fine and exquisite cuisine in a historically charged atmosphere perfect for smaller groups and couples, making it a great spot for a Chicago birthday dinner or cocktails celebration. The Library, a room that can be reserved for private parties and smaller groups of diners, offers an elite Old World vibe with floral wallpaper and Chesterfield-style leather booths. 

Gilt Bar | 230 W. Kinzie St., Chicago, IL 60604 | $$$

23. Rose Mary

One of the most unique Italian restaurants in Chicago just so happens to be a fusion spot. One of the hottest and most in-demand reservations in the city is this Italian-meets-Croatian eatery. While the interior of Rose Mary is spacious and modern, it’s very popular, so reserve early for your Chicago birthday dinner. The menu includes Italian favorites like pasta with Croatian touches that speak to their Mediterranean-meets-Slavic culture and cuisine.

Rose Mary | 932 E. Fulton St., Chicago, IL 60607 | $$$

Rose Mary is a great spot for a birthday dinner in Chicago.
via Rose Mary

Whether you're looking for a raucous and celebratory group outing for your birthday dinner in Chicago or a romantic night for two, Chicago has a wealth of restaurant and nightlife options to meet any cultural flavor or cuisine. From tapas to formal, multi-course dinners, Chicago eateries are a great place to plan and celebrate your own or someone else’s perfect birthday outing.

For even more fun ways to explore Chicago, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.