Last visit April 2010
The Atwood Cafe, located in the Hotel Burnham, is a good pre-theater dining option or as a break from shopping on State Street. It's located just a few blocks from the Bank of America (Shubert), Goodman, Chicago and Oriental theatres, and within walking distance of the Palace. The Atwood is a small intimate space and pre-theatre dining is crowded as well as lunchtime so it is best to have reservations which you can make online at
The interior is in line with the classic style of the hotel, it's beautifully decorated with warm rich colors and comfortable sofa chairs at many of the tables.
Favorite Dish: On my last visit I ordered the Grilled Ahi Tuna ($26) cooked medium rare which sat on top of a potato cake, tabasco onions, bacon and balsamic reduction. The tuna was prepared to the proper temperature and the potato cake was very yummy. Usually I order a steak here but I had been overdoing it with meat recently and went for fish.
Make sure you save room for dessert, there were several things that looked enticing on the menu but I always go for the warm roasted banana-white chocolate bread pudding ($9), delicious!
The Atwood Cafe is located in the heart of Chicago's Business District in the Reliance Building within the Burnham Historic Hotel. In 1895, architects Daniel Burnham, John Root and Charles Atwood created the Reliance Building that ushered in a new era and set the precedent for the modern skyscraper. After years of neglect and disrepair, the 110-year-old Reliance Building was reborn in October 1999 as the Hotel Burnham. At a cost of a staggering $27.5 million refurbishment and renovation, the hotel was returned to its rightful place as one of Chicago's most significant architectural landmarks.
The hotel was recently named by "Conde Nast" magazine as "one of the best places to stay in the world." All that put aside, this restaurant was probably my favorite on this particular trip. The decor is art deco but with a victorian flair. Leaded glass, Tiffany lights, and thick carpets give the restaurant a "plush " feel.
The service was excellent and our waitress knew we had tickets for the theatre so she was expedient but not pushy in her manner to accomodate us and get us out in time for the curtain up.
Hours for the Atwood Cafe:
Monday - Friday
7 a.m. - 10 a.m.
8 a.m. - 10 a.m.
8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Monday - Saturday
11:30 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. Dinner:
Sunday - Thursday
4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday - Saturday
5 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Monday - Sunday
11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Favorite Dish: I had the most delicious pork tenderloins with mashed potatoes, garlicky greens and sweet and sour dried plums. This dish I have to say rivals that of my brother in law who is a professional chef, this dish I ranked right up there with his Pork tenderloin medallions. In 2006 we returned and the Butternut squash and apple soup was truly delicious.
I also would like to comment on the martinis we enjoyed. I ordered an Absoult martini, rocks, twist and olives....ah perfection! Kristi enjoyed a "chocolate" martini which was also declared "excellent."
The dessert was decadent as well. We shared a warm roasted banana white chocolate bread pudding with banana caramel. Oh words cannot fully express the flavor of this sinful sweet, my only regret is I didn't get one just for me. *wink wink* Actually, I don't believe I could have finished one by myself.
Don't miss out on this "gem" of a restaurant, you won't be disappointed.
Excellent seasonal dishes, crisply prepared & presented, served in the modern and elegant lobby restaurant at the Burnham Hotel. This hotel is a stunning renovation of the old Reliance Building designed by ... Daniel Burnham:)
They set a lovely table here! The Atwood Cafe is confortably ensconsced in the small lobby of the Burnham Hotel. The place was lavishly refurbished recently in a high late Victorian style; this is not the place for people whose tastes run to minimalism!
Good food - I had a hearty soup and salad that filled me up nicely for a midday meal. It's not the most inexpensive place on State Street, but I thought it was good value for the money.
Perfect in every sense...immaculate... comfortable...intimate...friendly...knowledgeable staff...prompt. Not a cliche' on the menu nor in the eclectic decor. Unique fresh menu offerings created to perfection. Culinary influences include French, Moroccan, Asian and California cuisines. Expect to spend $50 to $100 per person for a full course meal including appetizers, wine and dessert.
Favorite Dish: The duck confit was rich and balanced, the finest duck I have ever been served. Not the greasy overcooked offering of most restaurants but a rich balanced dish seasoned to perfection. The seared skin was heavenly and the fresh micro-greens were the perfect accompaniment.
Favorite Dish: In the foreground is a bagel with cream cheese, salmon and all the fixings. Behind is a roasted vegetable sandwich