Symphony's Cafe
Symphony's Cafe

Symphony's Cafe

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.symphonyscafe.com/
  • Phone: (847) 475-1200
  • Hours of Operation:

    Breakfast: Daily: 8:00am - 11:00am; Brunch: Daily: 8:00am - 11:00am; Lunch: Daily: 11:00am - 4:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 9:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, BYO Liquor, Cafe, Delivery, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Prairie (2 blocks west of Green Bay Road)
  • Public Transit: 2 blocks west of Central Street Metra stop. One mile west of Central Street El station. 201 Central Street bus stop in front of Cafe, runs every 15 minutes until 8 pm.
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Plenty of Central street parking with meters (free after 6 pm) and metered parking lot half block west of the restaurant (also free after 6 pm).
A word from Symphony's Cafe
Symphony's Café is Evanston's finest tradition and a true neighborhood favorite. Utilizing only the freshest ingredients and sophisticated service, we make your breakfast, lunch, or dinner a special experience. The versatile Symphony's dining environment is perfect for family gatherings, work lunches, Sunday brunch, group parties, or a romantic dinner for two. We are proud to serve organic eggs, creative salads, the freshest seafood, free-range poultry, prime-aged steaks, and amazingly flavorful pasta dishes. Our extensive menus truly have something for everyone, with vegetarian offerings, gluten-free options, children's menus, and consideration for special diet requirements. We look forward to serving you soon!
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
Symphony's Cafe reviews from OpenTable diners
54 reviews since July 25, 2014
Overall Rating3.7
  • Food3.9
    Service3.9
  • Ambiance3.6
    Noise LevelModerate
85% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (32)great for brunch (19)great for lunch (18)good for groups (14)fit for foodies (13)kid-friendly (11)special occasion (8)romantic (6)late-night find (1)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • so-so
    Oldt1mer
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    I used to go to this place 15 years ago and although the decor was much more bland, the food was solid. Last weekend the decor was great, but service and food were bland.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice find in North Evanston
    UsuallyHungryVIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    A bit off the beaten path from the NU campus but worth the trip especially if you have a large group. Service on a Saturday nboght a bit slow but very friendly to make up for it.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Inventive Food
    Luvin5VIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    We have been to Symphony's several times when visiting our daughter at NU. The food is always very good, inventive seasoning --with sophistication above a regular corner diner. We especially love the pumpkin seed crusted salmon, seared ahi tuna entree, and skirt steak. Brunch is always good with warm service--even accommodated a large group with ease.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food, slow service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    I ate here for a business dinner on October 30th. The food was pretty good, I had one of the specials. The price seemed reasonable. The service was very slow, and we were not often checked on. I am not sure if I would dine here again for these sort of timed dinners, simply because of the risk with such slow service.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Slow and average
    LukeVIP
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    Went there for dinner. Maybe breakfast would be better. The ravioli was good but everything else less than average. Service was very slow.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Country Food in Evanston
    cosmaustrian
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    After having eaten lunch there which was very good, we were disappointed with the dinners. Huge portions cooked without imagination (and spices). My vegetables (broccoli and carrots) were cold and raw, the stuffed chicken huge and overly garlicky, and the white fish also huge and not really flavored. All served on a huge mound of mashed potatoes ... for about $10 in a country inn in Wisconsin or Minnesota that would be ok, for double the amount and in Evanston I expect more. Sorry.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food bad service
    MarioVIP
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    I've been here several times before and the food is consistently good for dinner or brunch however our waiter was not very good and it was not busy. He took a while to get to our table and once we ordered an appetizer and that came quickly but our salads took forever and I had to ask him when we were getting them, the entrees came in a reasonable time afterward and delicious. We wanted to order dessert and he brought the menu but sat down at a table 4 tables away with other workers so I got up and told him what we wanted.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good service, decent food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    I had read some very good reviews on this restaurant, and needing a place for 7 of us to dine out - with 3 children in the group - decided to give this a try on a Friday night. Getting in was not a problem, nor was parking. The service was very good, and I would rate the food simply as average. It wasn't outstanding, but it certainly wasn't bad or sub-par in any way. My pasta simply didn't have a lot of flavor to it, and had too much cheese in proportion to everything else in the dish. The seating was great for our group of 7, and I'd recommend this restaurant if are looking for Italian food that is good, with above average service.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • howie
    brkfstfanVIP
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    Very quiet and sleepy place to have a breakfast meeting early on a Sunday morning.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Basic Breakfast
    MaryVIP
    Dined on 9/1/2014
    Had brunch at Symphony's and the service was great. Food was fine - just pretty straightforward - nothing bad, just nothing special.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious food, if a little slow
    Autocondimentor
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    The food at Symphony's Cafe is excellent. The portions are plentiful without being ridiculous; my wife had the Salmon Wellington and brought home enough for another meal. The server was friendly and attentive but the kitchen could have been faster, although I wouldn't want them to hurry at a cost to the food quality. All in all a fine dinner.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • quiet local spot
    TravelingGal
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Symphony is a nice neighborhood restaurant with (usually) elegant food and a nice wine list. A lot of the food is local and it's mostly organic. We were pleased that the farm raised salmon was from the USA, but we thought the taste was not as good as wild caught...rather bland. The whitefish was delicious. We liked the sweet potato preparation, but the brocolli was overcooked. This wasn't our best meal at Symphony, but in another review last year I raved about it, so I guess they are not always consistent However, I would definitely keep them on the places to visit list.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • a great dining experience
    BigDogLerm
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    The.food was excellent with generous portions.Service was excellent. We shall return.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, reasonable prices
    iamlor
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    I have been here a couple of times now, and I have been happy both times. The food is great, the waitress was very nice and attentive, and the food is reasonably priced (not cheap but not as high as many places).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Evanston Gem
    Margo57VIP
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    From the outside, Symphony looks like a fairly nondescript neighborhood restaurant. Something quite ordinary. That's where it ends. The menu is eclectic, offering a wide variety of choices from simple to sublime. Food preparation is the quality of a much more expensive restaurant, leaving one to experience a wide medley of tastes and thoroughly enjoyable
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Salad
    JacqueLeopVIP
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    I had the chicken/quinoa salad with balsamic dressing, dried cranberries and goat cheese - it was delicious. We sat by the window and enjoyed the people-watching and the flowers outside. Great little neighborhood for a little shopping as well.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Very nice evening out
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    My husband, who used to be a chef, really liked this place, so I know it was good! Great homemade balsamic vinegar dressing for our salads, tasty pasta fagule soup, generous portions on all entrees which were cooked to order. A good dining out experience, made even better thanks to a Restaurant.com certificate to reduce the price. We will be back.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Classical Indulgence
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Symphony is a classical extravaganza of culinary delight! Thoughtful creations of seafood, pasta and meat selections make for memorable moments of delicious indulgence. A rare Evanston location for fine dining.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great menu
    sirehc
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Everyone in our party of four really liked the wide variety of choices on the menu.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Symphony hits flat note
    FressmeisterVIP
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    My food - the chicken parmigiana, was dried out and tasteless except for the ton if salt in it. We are never returning to this restaurant
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 34 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 25, 2014
    • Overall Rating4
    • Food4
    • Ambiance3.6
    • Service4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 191 reviews are from the Symphony's Cafe reviews archive.
  • Delightful Brunch in Evanston
    kcbnyVIP
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    This was a great spot, with a creative menu and a vibrant group of diners.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent Value, good food
    frankVIP
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    We found the place to be charming, the service excellent and the menu very nice. The people in our party had two forms of salmon, both cooked as desired, one had a Taco Salad, and one a steak. The portions were ample, the flavors very good, the presentation nice and the meals came with soup or salad, cooked veggies, and a starch. With a drink (wine) the check came to $25./person plus tip.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • mdbuttercupVIP
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    Attentive service, accommodations to menu choices. Loved the sweet potato cubes.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Breakfast at Symphony's
    Pluto9
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    I found breakfast for my 1st time to be a great experience. I was not at lunch time and was unaware that there was a dinner menu and outdoor dining. I would like to come back and explore more.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Really good brunch
    Goodfood123VIP
    Dined on 6/22/2014
    We had a big crowd and the food was uniformly very good. The service was a little slow but it was a busy Sunday morning so it was clear why. Still, we enjoyed it immensely and they were incredibly nice about everything. We would definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good portions
    Susieq
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    We had two appetizers for 4 people and that was plenty. There were 6 large coconut shrimp with that order. We enjoyed all of our main dishes and the chocolate mousse cake was a huge piece that served 4 of us. The restaurant was quieter than many, which was nice. The booth was fine for us, but if you have a couple large people, you might want a table, as the booth was a little narrow for 4.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Never again
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    This is the 3rd time we've tried this restaurant and every time the service has been horrible. We have only gone back because it's close to the nursing home where my father lives so it is very convenient when we take him out. We will never go back after this last time on fathers day. We were completely ignored by the waiter. It was a complete joke trying to get anyones attention. And to top it off, our food was barely average. My advice is to fine any other place!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • NICE FIND
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014VIP
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    The food was great the atmosphere was very nice, the waitress was wonderful.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Would come back again.
    Hotdoc
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    We dined with the party of six. All of the entrées were beautifully presented, will prepared, fresh, and very tasty. We all left the restaurant promising to return again.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good Experience
    Jojo20VIP
    Dined on 6/6/2014
    While the menu is less than exciting, the food was actually quite good. We had a delicious skirt steak with good mashed potatoes and a really good chocolate mousse for dessert. While I wouldn't make a special trip back, I would return if I were in the neighborhood.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Superior symphony's cafe
    Ladieswholunch
    Dined on 5/28/2014
    Superior service, delicious food, excellent flavors in couscous accompanying the lemon sauce covered salmon. I would highly recommend this cafe!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Decent breakfast, nice atmosphere
    bgskyman
    Dined on 5/25/2014
    Very quiet slow paced setting. Very relaxed but quick and friendly staff. Great prices and selection. The online reservation, although you feel special and prepared with a reservation, they had no clue and didn't seem to care that I had gone through the extra hassle of making a reservation.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • charming sophistication
    JustSayin
    Dined on 5/22/2014
    Excellent choice for a business lunch where you want some style, good food, attentive service and low noise so you can talk.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 5/18/2014
    The food was excellent but we found the service to be a bit slow. There were times when our server was no where to be found which made things take longer than it should have. Fortunately, we were not in a hurry.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Pleasant Surprise
    eak521VIP
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    Decided to meet friends half way for a dinner to "catch up" and were pleasantly surprised. They were very accommodating and we had a lovely meal. The Cobb salad was great and the seafood extras were fresh and nicely prepared.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • everyone will be pleased
    ChicagoAmyVIP
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    A great restaurant for everyone in your crowd; there's something for everyone on this menu. And feel free to bring your own wine, the corkage fee is very reasonable. Just make sure to make a reservation because this is a popular restaurant for the neighbors.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not great
    Sadly
    Dined on 5/14/2014
    We have been to Symphony many times through its history. Long ago it was a modest OK place that then went downhill to an 'avoid' restaurant. A few years ago it totally changed and became a great food, good ambience go-to place. The last two times we were there, the food was iffy (first) and this last time, my chicken vesuvio was greasy, over the top salty. I ate half, took the rest home and ended up dumping it. The previous time I has something with seafood on the 'special' menu and that too was too oily and over seasoned. I am sad that a place we enjoyed has left that place in our choices.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • great food, friendly service
    goodeaterVIP
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    This is our go to family spot for Mother's and father's day with our two grown kids . There is something for everyone. One is vegetarian, the other likes grilled chicken sandwiches, and I like an interesting, flavorful entree. Everyone is happy
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mothers Day Brunch
    Eddie
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    We have always enjoyed Symphony's Cafe for dinner. Now we are just as satisfied with their brunch. Our family of six, including 2 toddlers, were well served on Mothers Day by a friendly and attentive waiter, and the brunch food was excellent.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great for Any Occasion
    flaccidtortillaVIP
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    Symphony's combines great food with a variety of fresh, healthy options. Can be enjoyed for upscale dinners as well as group outings.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate