Balsan at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago
11 East Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60611Neighborhood:
Gold Coast / Streeterville
AmericanPrice: $31 to $50
Balsan at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago
- Dining Style: Casual Dining
- Website: http://www.waldorfastoriachicagohotel.com/explore-hotel/dining/balsan-restaurant
- Phone: (312) 646-1400
- Hours of Operation:
• 7am-11am Mon-Fri
• 7am-10am Sat-Sun
• 10am-2pm Sat-Sun
• 11am-2pm Mon-Fri
• 5pm-10pm Everyday
• 10pm-Midnight Fri-Sat
- Payment Options: AMEX,Carte Blanche,Diners Club,Discover,JCB,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: European, American
- Executive Chef: Herve Cuyeu
- Dress Code: Smart Casual
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
- Catering: Private Dining Options range from 10 - 200 people
Customizable menus present varied and delicious market fresh choices
A word from Balsan at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago
Balsan at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago is a contemporary bistro showcasing refined, yet rustic fare with an American sensibility. Served in a relaxed social setting, the market-driven menu offers a wide range of options including family-style dining, shared plates and updated classics. It is located in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood on the third floor of the Waldorf Astoria Chicago at 11 East Walton Street.Continued
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Balsan at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago reviews from OpenTable diners
16 reviews since July 31, 2014
- Ambiance4.1Noise LevelQuiet
special occasion (7)great for brunch (6)great for lunch (5)neighborhood gem (5)romantic (4)fit for foodies (4)notable wine list (2)good for groups (2)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
- Not so greatOpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 11/8/2014I was surprised because I expected more than just a hotel restaurant - it almost felt like the morning coffee shop was being used for the dinner service. There were very few tables full at 7:30 on a Saturday and the lights were up all the way. There are definitely better options in the neighborhood.
- Not as goodOpenTable Diner Since 2005VIPDined on 10/23/2014Balsan has been a regular go to place every time I visit Chicago, even before it was a Walforf hotel. Since becoming a Waldorf, they have been scaling things back. The highlight use to be their cheeses, charcuterie and their raw bar. They had a vast selection and early assembled great boards with lots of variety. Now choices are limited all with the same bread. Very disappointing. Menu as well is now kore narrow with just you basic choices. When I go now, room is very empty. Sad to see such a beautiful place not being used.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 10/11/2014Brunch menu has changed unfortunately: they got rid of the $24 2-course menu wherein the 1st course was a brunch board with deli meats, cheeses, madeleines, scones, and 4 different spreads followed by a 2nd entree course. Now, one would have to order the brunch board as a separate menu item for $20. (This is apparently a recent change brought on by a switch in chef at Balsan, but the quality of the food hasn't been affected much, maybe improved a bit.) We tried the country pork terrine instead as a shared appetizer, which was delicious & reminiscent of Paris, though the grilled baguette slices were overly charred/too crunchy for my taste. My shrimp & grits entree was perfect and quite a large portion. Also, the Lillet martini is delicious!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- UnderappreciatedhampsteadcarrieDined on 10/8/2014So any luxury hotels in Chicago have turned their restaurants into casual places with world-quality comfort food, and Balsan is one of these. Outstanding food and very few diners -- ditto at the Four Seasons' Allium, the Ritz Carleton's Deca. Not cheap but faultless food, and I don't understand why more people haven't discovered these treasures.Special Features:
- Great Food and ServiceDramaqueen2Dined on 9/30/2014First time here but definitely not the last! The dinner menu is not extensive but has a wonderful variety to choose from. We had the Pan Seared Scallops and Half Roasted Chicken and it was very good. We started out with the Potted Eggplant and the Cheese & Charcuterie Board and I cannot say enough wonderful things about them! Even their bread and butter were a hit! Best service ever!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- $88 for the worse dinner in yearsDissatisfactionDined on 9/21/2014Onion soup lacked taste - onions were not carmelized - big slice of thick bread on top & not toasted. Beef sandwich with dipping sauce, meat was stringy and fatty, bread was stale, potato ships stale and coated heavily with oil. Scallops had a smell to them, seared but no heat inside. Before dinner large soft roll was gummy. They put a 16% fee on meal. Didn't inquire how the meal was. A Place to be SKIPPED
- The following 404 reviews are from the Balsan at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago reviews archive.
- balsan dinnerGuillermo1215VIPDined on 7/22/2014Balsan has limited but wonderful menu-- the eggplant, mussels, crabcakes and salmon were a big hit with our party- place was very quiet- ate at bar- wonderful personalized attention from bartender and waiter--first classSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Brilliant experience over allFoodistaDined on 7/7/2014Our experience from food to service to the ambience, my husband and I loved it. We mainly eat seafood and they had the freshest seafood we have had in Chicago for a while. We ordered the shrimp cocktail for app, my husband got the roasted salmon and I ordered pan seared scallops. We immensely enjoyed all three things. Service was another big plus for us that will bring us back to this place. We had a slight misunderstanding with our order and the manager and our waiter (Ray) took care of the situation right away. We were overly impressed with the service and their level of dedication to their customers. Will definitely recommend this!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2007Dined on 6/17/2014The food, staff, and service was excellent. I would go there for special occasions.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- changing to new owner, still greatBusinessTraveler2VIPDined on 6/7/2014This restaurant used to have an amazing seafood setup and charcuterie (meats and cheeses), and their new menu was good with promises of bringing the oysters and charcuterie back. Great location, nice space, and friendly staff.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Pricey BrunchDablyVIPDined on 5/18/2014Since we were staying at the Waldorf we decided to have a nice Sunday Brunch at the Balsan. For the most part we were unimpressed with the ambiance. We had expected a slightly more posh environment given the hotel. Service was acceptable, the food adequate, but given the tab for a brunch it should have been exceptional.
- Hilton, listen up!EducatedpalateVIPDined on 5/17/2014We expected a higher level of dining. The wheels started to come off when the bartender was sroking his face while making cocktails and garnish. The menu is very limited which did not to bother the beer guys in cutoff tee shirts. The steak tartare,was good, though salty. Others orderd an underwhelming and over priced hamburger. The mound of lettuce and tomato on a large bun made it seem larger. The steak frites is quite what one would expect...a not so tender, high, , narrow piece of meat slathered in butter to the point that it overwhelmed the beef. We skipped coffee and dessert The waitperson,was very nice and service was fine. A change in the kitchen is in order as well as a "not so tough menu".
- Comfortable, but poshMKChitownDined on 5/17/2014This is a very comfortable swanky gem. I love bringing people here where we can relax in an upscale enviornment, but not have to dress up too much. The wait staff is spot on, attentive but not overbearing, and on top of everything. LOVE this place. I'm going again this week.Special Features:
- Service can make or break itServiceiskeyDined on 5/11/2014The place was great as well as the food. However the female server was horrible. She didn't come to our table until10 min when 2 other people were seated next to us. She actually served them first drinks as well as all 3 courses. The when she gave us our check. She states the tip is included in your check. So if your tip is safe why should you get good service. Like I said bad service can ruin any dining experience no matter how elegant.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- DisappointedCharVIPDined on 5/11/2014I do not think the restaurant took care in expressing that it was a Mother's Day Brunch. We were barely greeted and felt rushed through the fixed menu with very few people present in the restaurant. I had the PLEASURE of attending the Mother's Day Brunch last year (2013) and this year did NOT compare in ANY category. I would have appreciated paying MORE for better quality and variety of food, attentive service, and welcoming ambience.
- Best Find of our weekendluv2dineDined on 4/20/2014Absolutely everything we had hoped for in the name Waldorf Astoria in Chicago. Very posh, friendly and beautiful. Felt like we were part of the rich and famous while we were there. Our waiter was so much fun and the Hostess saw us in and out with a smile and hug! Loved it. The food was superb- never had duck or lamb before- fabulous. Great Easter celebration with my daughter!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Oh What a Night!rldrld34Dined on 4/12/2014Balsan at the Waldron Astoria was a great experience! When we first walked in the hostess greeted us and we were immediately seated at our table. The layout was very upscale but nothing too stuffy or snooty at all. Our server was attentive and made excellent recommendations for dessert which was a soft cookie along with pistachio ice cream and a chocolate ganache to pour over the top! I'm not into writing surveys, however if you want to go somewhere and have a pleasant and elegant experience I would recommend Balsan.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Very specialFabulousDined on 4/4/2014This was my first time here.Incredable service from the time you walk in.The appetizer we ordered came on a wooden board filled with different cheese, honey. Cherries soaked in liqueur ,mustard and grilled sour dough bread.I have been to Paris several times and this is by far the most outstanding appetizer I have ever had .I will return there for there grits and salad as we'll.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Brunch was great. All theElleDined on 3/23/2014Brunch was great. All the girls loved the shared plate that comes out with a variety of spreads and pastries. The entrees were delicious too. We had the Steak and Eggs [fingerling potatoes are amazing], Corned beef hash[delectable], shrimp and grits [fabulous with a kick], and yogurt parfait[not a fan of having preserves instead of fresh fruit]. Also the coffee was Lavazza so it was amazing. Service was unfortunately mediocre. For being in such a ritzy hotel, the service was not up to par. The servers were friendly and great aside from being forgetful.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- In an era when hotel restaurantsCynicCriticVIPDined on 2/28/2014In an era when hotel restaurants are often above average this one isn't. The space isn't particularly attractive. The music belongs more in a night club than a restaurant and the food is boring - and expensive. Too bad, because the hotel is beautiful and located in a great neighborhood to capture a regular clientele if some important improvements are made.
- ElegantOpenTable Diner Since 2011VIPDined on 2/21/2014Good solid elegant place. Friendly service, good wine but limited by the glass selections.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- BrunchIw412VIPDined on 2/16/2014The little tray of goodies was terrific, the rest of the menu was just average. Service was inattentive. I am not sure if the servers were over busy, but it did not seem that way to me, they were just annoyed at having to be there and disappeared a lot. There are better places for brunch.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- FoodOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 2/11/2014My steak was horrible. I had to chew it for minutes before I dared to swallow and not choke. Also, I had mentioned that we were celebrating my husband's birthday when I made the reservation and there was no mention of it at all at the table.
- disappointingNadineYVIPDined on 1/31/2014I had been looking forward to dinner at Balsan, ever since it opened. And I was really disappointed with the quality of food. Our meal was during Restaurant Week, so perhaps it wasn't the best time to try it. I went off RW menu and ordered the steak frites--the steak was very greasy and fatty while the fries were well seasoned. My date ordered from the RW menu--the flatbread appetizer was probably the best dish we tried. He had the hot pot with seafood, and it smelled fishy--never a good sign. The RW dessert was so underwhelming I can't even remember what it was--some sort of dry cake. There are much better places in the neighborhood to try. The table next to us had issues with their orders and were comped a dish. Service was average.Special Features:
- Restaurant WeekOpenTable Diner Since 2009VIPDined on 1/29/2014The restaurant was empty and had an odor of chlorine. There were no salt or pepper shaker on table and the table candle was dirty and needed cleaning. Utensils were very cheap and not what you would expect form a restaurant in the Waldorf Astoria. The carrot salad was served in a bowl instead of a salad plate, which was strange. Dessert was stale and had no flavor. Overall--very disappointed. I won't be coming back.
- We went for brunch. The firstFoodmaven1VIPDined on 1/26/2014We went for brunch. The first course had one piece of each item for us to share (check menu). The curd n goat cheese were inedible for me. The second course, i ordered a plain omelet and their unique potatoes. The omelet was small this time. My fruend's steak was undercooked, but they changed it. When paying the bill, i noticed it was less than expected. I guess they brought n calculated one first course, explains the one pieces. Im not going again for brunch. Only breakfast.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Delicious fooddaquino11Dined on 1/24/2014Food was delicious. The duck liver pate was excellent. The charcuterie plate had the most amazing cheese. The seafood pot was so well seasoned and the steak was wonderfully cooked. I would have never had thought that this restaurant would be so good.Special Features:
- Nice Gold Coast Sunday Brunch!FlowerinthewoodsDined on 1/19/20142 courses with lots of great entree choices make this a contemporary yet gastronomically filling spot for Sunday Brunch. Baked goods/savory 1st course tray examines several traditional brunch items in small bites for all to share. We find it easy to walk to from anywhere in the Gold Coast and occasionally they will offer the Waldorf Astoria car service if you need to leave in a cab!Special Features:
- This was our first time backpamchamDined on 1/18/2014This was our first time back to Balsan since the Waldorf Astoria took over the former Elysian Hotel. The last time we were there, we loved everything about the restaurant. The energy, the service and the food were all great. We ordered two different entrees this time and both were horrible. We will not go back.
- Quiet gemSpyrosVIPDined on 1/16/2014Just had a nice quiet lunch at Balsan. Food was very good. Beef bacon BLT and homemade chips were delicious. She had the seafood salad with an amazing green goddess dressing. Will definitely return. It was nice fund this quiet uncrowded spot to unwind from the power shopping.I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great lunch menuAmberVIPDined on 1/1/2014Really enjoyed lunch here on New Year's day. The breakfast and lunch menus were both available and the staff was super friendly, accommodating and knowledgeable. Loved the toasty cumin flavors in the carrot soup. Just wish I had pumpernickel for dipping. The artisan greens salad had a lovely mix of carrot, apple and fennel with shallot vinaigrette. I think they forgot the toasted almond, but I don't mind. Seared Faroe Island salmon was fantastic, with a light thyme lemon nage a little heat from fresh cayenne slivers and a combination of melted leeks and matsutake mushrooms. The chips that come with the club sandwich are crazy good too. I'd definitely return! The menu is small but focused and everything looks great.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Overall Great MealJasonVIPDined on 12/27/2013Had breakfast on a week day and wasn't disappointed except for the fact that I wish it was a weekend and I was able to eat from the brunch menu. Some really delicious sounding items on the brunch menu. Enjoyed a well prepared omelet with well seasoned fingerling potatoes. Service was great and noise level is what one would expect on a weekday morning. Look forward to returning for brunch. Highly recommend.Special Features:
- Cold comfort for ChristmasluckygalDined on 12/25/2013I really don't know how to say how disappointing this Christmas meal was...
- I would have given BalsanJFChicagoVIPDined on 12/25/2013I would have given Balsan an excellent rating since it obviously aspires to a higher level. But we were there for Christmas Dsy and for what we paid, the meal was just very good, not wonderful. We've eaten there before (when it was not the Waldorf-Astoria) and were much happier with the food and the service.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Food and service averageMaryAnnDined on 12/1/2013The french toast was not cooked in the middle and our food took 30 min to arrive when the restaurant was not crowded. The food did not arrive together for the two of us and I noticed other tables had the same issue.
- Thanksgiving DinnerDaveSDined on 11/28/2013Wife, daughter & I attended dinner here on Thanksgiving. After some confusion about where we would be seated (we had dinner reservations), we were seated in area by the bar. Noise was high and difficult to carry on conversation between the three of us. Prix fixe dinner menu offered at $68 p/person. Very disappointed, first course was good, however main course(s) and all sides were cold, ham was dry, rubbery and salty. Pasta (ravioli w/ bolognese, mushroom and shaved truffles) was salty as well. Service through dinner was decent, not exceptional and found we waited to have a water glass filled on several occasions. Desserts were ok at best. Overall, for a $320 tab (including wine) we expected something different.
- Thanksgiving CelebrationGatoDined on 11/28/2013We went to Balsan for Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner could not have been better. The food was wonderful and service superb. The restaurant was busy and energetic creating a festive atmosphere. Our server (Ian) was always there when we needed him but let us enjoy our meal without hovering. The special Thanksgiving menu was perfect with several course options; we went the traditional route and had the Turkey and could not have been happier. This was a price fix 4 course meal. Given what we saw on line for menu and price options at other restaurants Balsan felt like a bargain in regards to quality, quantity and atmosphere. As we will not be able to travel at Christmas; we are thinking of Balsan again.Special Features:
- Amazing cuisine!SoAmazingVIPDined on 11/27/2013The menu designed at Balsan is spectacular....my folks are still begging the chef for the recipe for his Brussels SproutsSpecial Features:
- 38th AnniversaryDaveguidoVIPDined on 11/22/2013The meal was delicious. The service was great. I will definitely be back for dinner another evening. Our waitstaff person was so kind and attentive. She placed the flowers I had bought and had delivered to the restaurant in a box/bag so we could carry them home. One thing spoiled the evening. We walked downstairs to have a after dinner drink in the bar one floor below. When I sat the bag behind a post so that it would be out of the way, the young, female barkeeper or cocktail waitress told be I would have to put it under the seats where we sat at the bar. We decided we would go to another place where we would feel more welcome and in a more friendly atmosphere. She needs to be provided customer service training. Dave CervoneSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- BalsanEpicureanistaDined on 11/2/2013Dined in for our 6 year anniversary we informed the Balsab staff prior to dining in & received complimentary champagne. Chicken liver mousse was alright. The scallops & sirloin were superb! We did not have dessert because the menu did not offer anything that caught my interest or anything new and eccentric for that matter.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.