11 Chicago Restaurants Where You Can Actually Have a Conversation yale university photography

I’m exhausted from dining out in of-the-moment restaurants and shouting “conversations” at my dining partner. True story: A few summers ago, we were dining in a then-new, pricey fulton market restaurant with friends, and the music was so egregiously loud that we asked the hostess if it could be turned down a bit. Her reply — “the chef likes it that way” — was unsatisfactory at best, even though she seemed embarrassed to relate that information to a paying customer. All around us, millennials were screaming happily at each other as they methodically polished off the (admittedly scrumptious) fried chicken. My husband the tech whiz immediately downloaded a sound-level meter app and took a reading, which was the equivalent of a plane landing. Yale online degree so the restaurant sound pollution has gotten a little out of hand, no?

Aside from having an actual dialogue with my dining companions, I have a confession to make. I love children. I do. But it does not enhance the dining experience to have children playing tag in between the tables, or crying because they are (justifiably) bored/ignored at a restaurant that is clearly not intended for them. One night I saw a 3-year-old boy lie down next to the table while the oblivious parents finished a bottle of wine. This forced a polite attempt by the maître d’ to request the parents to retrieve their child for the safety of all involved. Predictably, the parents were outraged by this suggestion of negligence, although last time I checked, the one thing not provided by the restaurant is a babysitting service. Yale phd education I hope they tipped bigly.

And guess what? You’re paying good money for a dining-out experience. It’s not enough for the food to be spectacular or the atmosphere buzz-worthy. That doesn’t make up for a lack of civility. Fear not, because there are still a number of restaurants in chicagoland where one can dine in relatively quiet splendor. So, arm yourself with this list, and schedule that business meal. Dine with your friends (or parents!) of a certain age. Enjoy the company and adult conversation of your companions. Listen, and be heard. What a revelation. Acadia

Tucked away in an alley in downtown evanston is this modern “meaterie,” a contemporary speakeasy overseen by owner amy morton ( found kitchen and social house) and a painting of a beatific llama. New executive chef bradford phillips has shaken up the menu a bit, adding more steak options (in homage to morton’s late, great father, restaurateur arnie morton). Nightly specials include monday’s smoked BBQ ribs and thursday’s succulent seared scallops with saffron beurre blanc. Sitting at a comfortable seat at the zinc bar, sipping your french 75, you’ll feel a million miles away from the north shore. BOKA

The boka restaurant group’s flagship restaurant is a study in comfort and ease. The dining room, all deep browns and bronzes with the added shock and delight of a lush green wall, exudes cool and comfort in equal measure. The tables are generously sized, the leather booths padded and plush. How much does yale university cost there’s enough light to see, but you’ll still look gorgeous. The featured cocktails are thoughtful and well balanced, and executive chef lee wolen’s oft-lauded way with a roast chicken is no exaggeration. Save room for executive pastry chef meg galus’ glorious seasonal desserts. Brindille

Atmosphere doesn’t get much clubbier than inside this sexy spot, where you and your dining partner are bathed in a golden glow while cuddled up together in a cozy (yet spacious) booth. Executive chef pete coenen has a deft hand with red meat, and his catalpa farm roasted leg of lamb for two, lacquered sinfully with a pomegranate glaze and cooked to a juicy turn, is a jaw-dropper. Order an adult beverage from the tableside cocktail cart and revel in your maturity. Charcoal oven

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite hideaways, charcoal oven in skokie. Ranking of yale university blink and you’ll miss it as you zip down golf road on your way to westfield old orchard or northlight theatre. But if you’re a supper club fan, you’ll love this throwback to the ‘60s heyday of the rat pack. Even when the restaurant is full, you can clearly hear both the server and your seatmates, praise be. Greek-accented favorites — like oven-roasted chicken or fish bathed in olive oil, lemon, garlic, and oregano, and plump, rosy-centered grilled lamb chops — come with an appetizer (usually pastitsio or a well-seasoned lentil soup), ice-cold salad (with an A+ blue cheese dressing option), butter-dipped rolls fresh from the oven, and vegetable side dishes served family style. All this, plus a fine dry martini? Sinatra would approve. Everest

Michelin DID smile (again) on chef andrew zimmerman, who also owns the global street foods-focused proxi next door (which tends to be quite a bit louder, although still crazy delicious). Here, the menu feels like a modern classic. No small plates, per se, but starters and entrées that call to you through the gracious dining room, urging you to sit and enjoy your meal like an adult human. Seasonal, local, and global ingredients wind through the menu in inventive pairings, like the rohan duck with fermented ramps, olives, and herby chimichurri sauce, or a vichyssoise touched with lavender. Pastry chef sarah mispagel will make you sit up and take notice with her scrummy take on upside-down cake, here flavored with pears and almonds, topped with tangy crème fraîche and served with a deeply purple concord grape sorbet.

Julie chernoff, make it better’s dining editor since its inception in 2007, graduated from yale university with a degree in english — which she speaks fluently — and added a professional chef’s degree from the california culinary academy. She has worked for boz scaggs, rick bayless, and wolfgang puck (not all at the same time); and sits on the boards of les dames d’escoffier international and northlight theatre. She and husband josh are empty nesters since adult kids adam and leah have flown the coop. Rosie the cockapoo relishes the extra attention.