Oaken Bistro + Bar

3.9
83 Reviews
$30 and under
American
Oaken is a modern, upscale Bistro + Bar now open in Conway Park in West Lake Forest. The menu is strong and bold, like the many, centuries-old white oak heritage trees found in and around Lake Forest, IL. Worldly flavors meet responsible, local ingredients creatings a thoughtfully adventurous menu that, like tree rings, will grow and change seasonally. The sleek lounge features a signature herbal cocktail menu as well as an eclectic wine list and local beers. Reserve a table for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner in the contemporary dining room, the inviting 25-seat outdoor patio, or order take-out or delivery. Branch out from your ordinary routine and unearth Oaken!

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace

Featured specials

Select a special by choosing a date, time and party size

Christmas Eve Special Menus & Offers

Dine in
Starting Dec 24, 2021

Let Oaken do the cooking with full take + make meals you can finish at home! We’ll do all the hard part, you just put on the finishing touches and set the table. Meals include your choice of entree with appetizer, four sides, and dessert with heating and all final assembly instructions included.

Christmas Day Special Menus & Offers

Dine in
Starting Dec 25, 2021

Let Oaken do the cooking with full take + make meals you can finish at home! We’ll do all the hard part, you just put on the finishing touches and set the table. Meals include your choice of entree with appetizer, four sides, and dessert with heating and all final assembly instructions included.

What 83 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.9based on recent ratings
4.0
food
3.9
service
4.0
ambience
3.6
value
Noise · Moderate
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NancyD
E. Tennessee
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall3food3service3ambience2

Adequate if in the area but nothing special. Very pricey.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Post Thanksgiving

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Chicago
13 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We had thanksgiving dinner at Oaken. We knew it would be good but it exceeded our expectations. We came home with leftovers-pecan pie for breakfast and turkey hash for lunch-perfect.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Thanksgiving meal was wonderful

OT
OpenTable Diner
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

If you like good food, delicious cocktails, and great service, I highly recommend giving Oaken Bistro a visit! One of my favorite things on the menu is the duck tacos, and I normally don’t care for duck! They also have an amazing beer and wine selection! I’ve been here for both breakfast and dinner and will definitely be back again!

MF
MelissaF
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I have never written an Open Table review but everyone who lives in the suburbs should add this to their list - the food is AMAZING and yes it's in a hotel lobby, but that means it's a lot more spacious and airy than most crowded restaurants right now. You can actually have a conversation w/ 6 people at one table w/out yelling :) We had a lot of the apps and entrees between the 6 of us - all great!

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 22, 2021

Thanks so much for your review, Melissa- one more point for suburban restaurants!! We hope to see you back soon.

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S
Swifty911
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience3

Burger was over cooked. Eggplant portion very small. $8 for bread?? This is a “one and done”.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 22, 2021

Hello Swifty911, We're sorry you had a poor experience dining with us. We appreciate any and all feedback so that we can address any/all issues! We hope you'll be back so that we can deliver the five-star experience you deserve.

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DJ
DJODJO
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience3

The risotto had no flavor and the consistency was like paste. The server was pleasant, however, did not know what the specials of the day were and was very slow despite the restaurant not being busy.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 22, 2021

Thank you so much for your review, Djodjo. This is constructive feedback that we have already taken action on in our training! Hopefully we'll see you again soon so we can knock your socks off!

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J
James
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2021
Overall1food1service3ambience4

Was one of the absolutely worst meals I have ever eaten. The chef should be fired his food is an abomination and he may kill someone. To start with we ordered pumpkin risotto, what we got was soup with rice and not a hint of pumpkin or any other flavor. Took 30 minutes to get our drinks after they took the drink order twice. The actual entrees were no better my fiancé ordered spaghetti and meatballs. What she got was a single meatball on a spoons worth of pasta. None of which would we have cared about if the food was good. But it wasn’t the meat ball was raw inside and inedible. My short ribs were for some reason covered with what looked like deep fried Fritos and tasted the same. Overall don’t eat here unless you’re trying to ruin date night.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 22, 2021

Hello James, Thank you for your review. What you experienced was definitely not indicative of the standard we hold ourselves to. We will apply your critique in our continuous training to ensure what happened on your visit will never be repeated.

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OT
OpenTable Diner
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Restaurant just opened this year, but the food was great for such a new restaurant! Everything was seasonal and in varying plate sizes. Great for sharing! Our server was attentive and had a great sense of humor. She made the experience even better!

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 22, 2021

Thank you for your review! We hope to see you back to share some more soon.

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KA
vipKAPR
Chicago
19 reviews
Dined on November 12, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Beautiful contemporary space. Friendly wait staff. Wish there were more items on the menu.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 15, 2021

Thank you for your review! We have recently expanded our menu with growth in business and covid restrictions lifting. Hopefully this will be a continued trend, and we hope you visit our friendly staff again soon to try some more of our new items!

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JR
JacalynR
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2021
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Brunch was nice and food was inventive and tasty

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 3, 2021

Thank you, Jacalyn! We hope to see you again soon.

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R
Rich
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

My spouse made the reservation and during the drive said "I think it's next to a hotel", and it turned out to be IN the hotel, the hotel's restaurant. I've never gone to a hotel restaurant FOR the restaurant, without going as a matter of convenience while staying at the hotel, but it was a high quality high value experience as a destination, and the restaurant stands on its own.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 3, 2021

Thanks for your review, Rick! We do LOVE being a part of the Forester Hotel, and we also love when our guest appreciate our uniqueness from other hotel restaurants. We hope to see you back soon!

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SL
SusanL
Denver
1 review
Dined on October 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome staff and terrific food. Great french fries-Short rib and mussels were cooked perfectly and the sauces were delicious too! We sat at the bar and really thought the bartender Alyssa was very friendly, attentive, and upbeat! Also loved the ambiance with the candles lit for the evening diners. Try the budino, it's really like the pudding my grandma used to make. We hope to return to the Oaken Bistro soon.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 3, 2021

Thanks Susan! We're so glad you enjoyed your experience with us. Looking forward to seeing you back soon!

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c
cesmorris
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful meal with Chef Jonathan “JT” Thompson of Oaken Bistro + Bar last night! Had the “Daily Catch” of Wild Alaska Pollock Bouillabaisse prepared with caramelized fennel, scallops, PEI mussels, and truffled nage. Delicious! 🐟 🤤

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 3, 2021

JT aims to please! Thank you for your review- we hope to see you again soon. Our Daily Catch is always one to look out for!

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OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2021
Overall2food3service2ambience3

Beware of the cost of drinks! Ordered a bloody mary - not listed on the menu (maybe shame on me). It was maybe 8 oz (lots of ice). The garnish included 2 green olives, a lemon wedge, and a lime wedge. Upon receipt of the bill the cost was $20!

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 3, 2021

Thank you for your review! We're sad to see you didn't have a five-star experience with us. If you visit us again, please let us know about your previous experience and hopefully we can make it right!

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B
Brian
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

wonderful food!

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 1, 2021

Thank you, Brian! We're looking forward to having you back for all of the above occasions in the future!!

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SN
SanjayN
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Nice place. Was quiet. Food was so so. Drinks were good. Good for low key dinner.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 1, 2021

Thank you for your review, Sanjay N. We hope to see you back soon to deliver the five-star experience you deserve! Come on in and sample some of our new menu items (rolling out next week!)- we're sure you'll find something you love!!

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c
vipcoateddi
West Palm Beach
136 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Wait staff was ok but seemed to be learning. Food again was ok but not exceptional

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 1, 2021

Thank you for your review! Our entire staff is definitely learning every day, and we are confident that on your next visit you'll be blown away by our service! We'd also love to have you experience some of our new menu items, slated to roll out next week!

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L
vipLaura
Chicago
15 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Only one server. He did a great job tending bar and restaurant.

E
vipEloise
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was a great new spot. We had a signature cocktail and their version of a BLT. Very art deco vibe, we really enjoyed it!

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 1, 2021

Great to hear, Eloise! We hope you'll return soon to check out our new fall & winter soon-to-come offerings!

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GB
vipGeorgeB
Milwaukee
7 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience4

We got seated right away but didn’t even get water. We left after waiting 40 minutes with no service. I was very surprised because the chamber of commerce has been promoting This place. Very poor service and at $19.00 for a burger you’d think that it would be good. Also it wasn’t very crowded and they had two waiters but they didn’t seem interested in taking our orders.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 1, 2021

Hello GeorgeB, Thank you for your review. We are very sorry that we gave you such a poor experience, and hope that we can make it right! We are addressing the above issues, and hope that you'll be in again for a more positive outcome.

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RB
ReneeB
Chicago
1 review
Dined on September 3, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience2

Food was so underwhelming. Sloppy presentation. Small portions. And service sucked!!

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 1, 2021

Thank you for your review, ReneeB. We are currently working very hard to address the above issues. Hopefully you'll stop in again and we'll deliver the 5-star experience we know we are capable of.

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MB
vipMichaelB
Chicago
1 review
Dined on September 3, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Didn’t realize this place was in a newer hotel, but that didn’t make it any better or any worse… just worth noting. It’s new and times are weird, so I recognize staffing issues are a real thing but the experience from end to end was underwhelming unfortunately. We were hoping for a newer modern option in town with reliable food // instead we got undercooked, cold and under flavored food with lazy presentations. One item was also “sold out” by 6:30 pm on a Friday even though there was almost nobody in the restaurant! Odd. Oh well, wishing them all the best and hope they make it…

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 1, 2021

We hope so too! Thanks for your review, MichaelB. This was a tough one to read, but these are the types of review that we use as great opportunities for training and improvement. Hopefully we'll see you again soon and overwhelm you this time, with the great food and service we are committed to delivering.

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BS
BobS
Chicago
1 review
Dined on August 28, 2021
Overall4food5service3ambience5

The menu is outstanding - all that it is marketed to be - wonderful food, nicely presented. While the service was pleasant and helpful, my dining partner and I both felt the service needs to be addressed, in terms of how to actually serve: a typical note, the salt and pepper were loaded in the wrong shakers (in the US, the salt is in the shaker with fewer holes...they had it backwards.) Also, when presented in service of this level, the pepper is ALWAYS presented on the diner's left (it's the spice of Kings, after all). This is minor; more to the point, when drinks were served, the server didn't know who-got-what. Okay in a coffee shop; not okay in a restaurant this level. Serve from the left. Pick up from the right. Don't serve by handing across a guest. Etc.

The servers were polite, appropriate and enthusiastic, but not quite as experienced as they will be in future. That said: the food is superb, and we intend to go back. We put the service glitches down to the pandemic, and made no complaint.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 1, 2021

Thank you, BobS! We appreciate your comments. Yes, the pandemic has given us some extraordinary challenges, but we are well on our way to hitting our stride! We hope to see you sooner than later to deliver your 5-star experience.

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DL
DrLucie
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We tried this place out for a birthday celebration. The service was excellent. The menu was small but everything was done well. Drinks were top notch!! We will come again someday... but I suggest they obtain a decadent chocolate dessert and add to the menu!!

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 1, 2021

Hello DrLucie, Thank you for choosing us for your special occasion! We appreciate the compliments and feedback; incidentally, we will be making some menu changes in the near future. Whether or not there will be chocolate cake is tbd, but hope you swing by to find out!

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DW
DougW
Seattle
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We went for Sunday brunch and it was very quiet and easy to get a table. I had eggs Benedict with crab and spinach. Delicious and reasonably priced. I’d definitely go back when I’m visiting the area.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on November 1, 2021

Hello Doug, Great to hear you enjoyed your brunch experience! We'd love to have you back any time to sample even more of our offerings from our ever-evolving menus. Thank You, The Oaken Team

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JA
JeanA
Chicago
1 review
Dined on July 31, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our server was very knowledgeable about menu. We were very pleased with our wine choice. Twice a manager asked if everything was right with our food and beverage. Great experience, we will return!

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on August 4, 2021

Thank you for sharing your experience Jean! We look forward to your return soon.

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WZ
WilliamZ
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great spot. Hidden gem!

MR
MarkR
1 review
Dined on July 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Attentive service and good food! I favor the light, openness in the dining area. I'll be back!

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on August 2, 2021

Thank you Mark! We look forward to seeing you again soon!

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AT
vipAndreaT
Chicago
52 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was inventive and delicious! Cocktails creative and tasty.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on July 30, 2021

Thank you Andrea! We look forward to seeing you again soon!

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EY
EdwardY
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2021
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Waitress Abby was nice, friendly, delightful. Food solid to good. Ambiance is where the restaurant comes up short for me. Its a restaurant inside the lobby of the hotel. Nice and clean and fresh, just a big somewhat sterile design.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on July 24, 2021

We are lucky to have Abby. We apologize that your experience cause your perception of us to be less favorable. We do hope you will return, so that we may show you what we are truly capable of.

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PJ
vipPJmg
Chicago
77 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

The hostess was delightful.
Our server was great.
The skirt steak was very good.
It was a very pleasant experience.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on July 24, 2021

Thank you for the review, We will share your feedback with the team. We look forward to serve you again soon!

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JR
JoanneR
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was a fantastic place to meet an old high school friend! Service and food was amazing .
Great drinks menu and atmosphere.
Lovely catch up for the last 31 years :)
Will surely be back.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on July 17, 2021

Thank you for sharing, we love hearing that we were able to assist in making your special moment memorable. We look forward to your return.

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OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2021
Overall2food2service1ambience2

Service was terrible. Wait staff seemed unhappy to be there. 20 min after our party of 4 ordered, they came to tell us they were our of an item. Charges on bill included the out of stock item. Portions were small. One piece of zucchini bread 8$. Salad wit a few slice of fruit 13.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on August 8, 2021

We do apologize for the lack of service we provide that day. We have made corrections since then and hope we can convince you to come back. My Name is Alex G. feel free to connect with me at anytime at 847.582.6410

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T
Tommy
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2021
Overall3food2service5ambience5

The service was great. Nice warm welcome and friendly staff. The salad was outstanding. The gnocchi was extremely salty. The flash fried trout was a very small portion. The butterscotch dessert was also salty.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on July 17, 2021

Thank you for your review. We will address your concerns, and hope to have the opportunity to serve you again soon.

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DG
vipDGG3
Chicago
22 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2021
Overall2food1service5ambience3

Server Emma salvaged the day. She is excellent. First, the herbal Monkey Whale scotch based drink I ordered, one of the "Signature Cocktail" collection, was harsh and bitter--not even a close match to my normally scotch loving taste. It happens. I probably should have been more wary not recognizing 3 out of the 4 ingredients listed on the menu. Emma noticed I wasn’t drinking it and quickly and cheerfully substituted something more palatable. The salad was good--basic and unremarkable. But the main course, one of the simplest and what should have been most elementary items on the (online only-no printed) menu, the Beer-Braised Sheboygan Brat, was rendered nearly inedible by a 5 alarm, fiery jalapeno garnish served over and and generously soaked into the bun. There was no warning. After the drink issue, I didn’t have the heart to say anything to Emma. The cherry crisp desert was delicious.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on July 17, 2021

We are happy that Emma was able to salvage some of your issues. We are lucky to have her. We will address the other issues with your visit, and thank you for your feedback.

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DP
DanaP
Chicago
68 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

The manager was very nice and server very sweet too. Our drinks took a while and she personally came over to apologize for the wait. Food very beautifully presented and delicious. Was surprised that they didn't want to accommodate substitutions requested in my dish, but was actually glad b/c Ioved the dish as it was intended.

Oaken Bistro + Bar
Responded on July 17, 2021

Thank you for your feedback. There are times where the preparation of a dish does not allow for certain changes. Thank you for being understanding of this, and we are happy to here that you enjoyed. We hope to serve you again.

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OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Chicago
7 reviews