Symphony's Cafe

4.0
463 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Symphony's Cafe 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!
What 463 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.0based on recent ratings
4.1
food
3.9
service
3.8
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Quiet
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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M
Chicago
36 reviews
Dined 8 hours ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Normally service is quick an efficient but today being Father’s Day, it was a bit slow at brunch time. They could have used an extra waitress. They could use a wider assortment of bagels as the only choice is plain.

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L
Chicago
26 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

We really enjoy this restaurant. It has comfortable booths, a broad menu, well-prepared food, good service.

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M
Chicago
37 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

Service a bit off today... new server. Never came back to table to check on us. Had to seek her out twice. Food took longer to arrive and it wasn’t that busy.

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JF
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent omelette and fresh fruit. Pleasantly quiet for a Saturday morning. Would definitely return.

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D
Naples
11 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Place to go for brunch in all of Chicago area

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e
Chicago
27 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

I have nothing good to say about this restaurant. We were there yesterday. I ordered eggs with well done bacon. It came totally medium at best. They took it back and brought it well done but it was very oily and didn't taste good and I love bacon. My companion kept asking for more water which they never brought. I think the food is not good and they have service problems.

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M
Chicago
37 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

Been here numerous times but this time service was very poor. Every time we needed something we had to go hunting for them. Seemed under staffed but the one who seemed to be in charge said they were properly staffed. I doubt it.

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DM
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very pleased with the food and service was great. Would definitely be going again.

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MK
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My birthday and Easter celebration was great. So enjoyed the breakfast!

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t
Chicago
24 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Very good neighborhood restaurant. Friendly with good food.

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ST
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dining at Symphony's Café is wonderful as always. The dinner salads are great and the portions generous. It is a great local value.

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c
Cleveland
23 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

From out of state and was looking for a location close to relatives. Did a great job with a large party of extended relatives. Good food, generous portions, good service. Menu had a good variety of options for brunch.

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G
Chicago
15 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

They were able to accommodate a group of 12 with very short notice. The service was impeccable and the food is great.

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ST
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on March 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have loved this place for years. Food is excellent. Huge portions. And if you're looking for a quieter restaurant (so you can actually hear each other talk)....then this is the go to place.

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MW
Chicago
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place for an extended family outing

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MH
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We love to go there every week, mostly on Sundays. We have our “favorite booth”.
Comfort food. Nice neighborhood restaurant.

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WO
San Francisco
47 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

Not the Symphony's of old! This was my 3rd time eating here (in about 3 years). I am from out-of-state, and my Son is a graduating student. I was scouting a place to hold his graduation celebration. My first 2 visits (in 2015 and 2018) were fantastic... food, atmosphere, service... everything was on point. This time, my disappointment started at the front door.
As I walked in, the front doormat (inner door) was filthy; and the front door glass had plenty of fingerprints. Nothing a little broom and Windex could not have resolved. But this was the first impression that got worse as our visit continued.
Inside, the floor was littered with paper, dirt, etc. All while employees were seemingly sitting around, doing very little. Also, three persons had to send back soiled utensils and wine glasses.
I went to the bathroom and found a dirty sink, a dirty floor, and a toilet paper roll wrapper sitting on a wooden structure (despite the nearby garbage can). Honestly, I cleaned the sink and discarded the wrapper because I had bragged so much to the others in my party about this place... I did not want to be further embarrassed.
The Food: No major complaints. The bread was delicious; the goat cheese balls were not hot; the salad was crisp/fresh; the soup was hot and VERY tasty; the risotto was OK... a little less tomatoe flavor and more cheesey-creaminess recommended; the chocolate cake was just OK, and my Son's stuffed chicken breast was very flavorful! In essence, some of the food was slightly "off," and some was "on!" Thus, the average rating.
Overall, our server was above average. Despite the fact that he took a bit to come and take our order, and he had to be reminded to deliver our bottle of wine. He was pleasant, well-versed on the menu, and otherwise pretty attentive.
In conclusion, unlike my previous visits I was not impressed! Sadly, I am now "behind-the-eight ball," in finding a place for our graduation celebration. Any suggestions?

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BO
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was fabulous. Service was great

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SL
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, nice staff and background music isn’t too loud so you can enjoy your conversation at the table!

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WS
Chicago
46 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our first visit to Symphony's Cafe and it won't be our last!!! We had a DELICIOUS Meal with GREAT Service!!! ABSOLUTELY everything was cooked superbly. BRAVO SYMPHONY'S!!!!

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m
Chicago
91 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food at Symphony. The salad was huge and very fresh, and the ranch dressing was excellent. My skirt steak, mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables arrived cold. The server took them, and within minutes, my plate was returned with piping hot food that was delicious. My husband had shrimp risotto which wasn’t a traditional risotto. This was a risotto with a creamy tomato sauce. He really enjoyed it. Our server wasn’t exactly pleasant and when it was time to pay the bill, she disappeared. However, we agreed that we would definitely return since we thoroughly enjoyed the food.

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ST
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a great time as always. Symphony's is a dependable place for date night or any other celebration. My wife and I had different salmon dishes and bother were wonderful.

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KE
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great local place with good food choices, from fancy to ordinary fare.

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DO
Chicago
13 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

very friendly, smaller establishment tucked away in the Central Evanston business district, steps from public transportation. The menu is a full variety of items, seafood, chops and steaks, pasta, and others. It was Valentine's day so a brisk crowd, so service I am imagine is super on regular nights....I will be going back again...perhaps in the summer when I can try a nice afternoon lunch and walk in the area.

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N
Chicago
49 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Another great meal at Symphony’s!

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c
Chicago
49 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really great place to go when you want to have a quiet evening, nice meal and conversation. Portions are really large, so you may definitely have food to take home if you aren't that hungry. Server was helpful in explaining menu and making recommendations.

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ES
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Loved the versatile breakfast options for very reasonable prices compared to other breakfast in the area! Pancakes were cheaper than Starbucks drinks!! Most places you get so little for over $15 there you got plenty on your plate for less than $15 plus it was clean and had a very nice ambiance similar to a local coffee Shop

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SM
Chicago
36 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Great brunch spot in Evanston. Nice variety of comfort food.

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BF
Chicago
25 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 1ambience 3

My experience here on Saturday January 26, 2019 was very disappointing. We've been here at least 3 times before and everything was great -- food and service. There were only 1-2 tables with people -- the rest of the restaurant was empty probably because of the snowfall. My daughter has food allergies; she gave the waitress her list of food allergies and instead of asking questions they eliminated things from her order which she has gotten before; they obviously didn't read/understand the list given to them nor did they come ask for clarifications if they weren't sure. I ordered the salad with grilled calamari (which I have ordered several times previously) and the grilled calamari was served between luke warm and cool. Previously it was hot like it had just been grilled. I asked for lemons for my water and I had to ask twice. They just were not attentive. They were setting tables for the next day's breakfast and were dropping and clanking silverware and dishware around us...rather surprising during our dinner. I'd go back but I was disappointed and it may be awhile before I do return there.

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DF
Chicago
1 review
Dined on January 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

We wanted a pre-NU Basketball game dinner close to the Arena, and since they take reservations, we decided to give Symphony a try. I'd like to drop by again soon with a copy of the NU basketball scheduled because they seem wholly unprepared for having the restaurant half full on a game night. I ordered the fish sandwich with fries and my food was lukewarm when it arrived (I think it sat while other dishes at our table were being prepared). Others at our table had better experiences - chicken special and a pasta dish. This place could make a killing on game days if they upper their service and food game and cultivated the crowd a little. I'd certainly come back off the game cycle if the experience was better.

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OT
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

Pretty average. Nothing special. The menu made made everything look good but food didn’t meet that bar. I think I woulda liked it better if the service wasn’t so crappy

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M
Chicago
37 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Food is always fresh, plentiful and homemade. Shoutout to server Luke who gives exceptional customer service. Prices are competitive and ambiance is the nicest in the area for breakfast.

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TS
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 2

We ordered omelets, crepes, and pancakes. The portions were huge, but the food quality just so-so. The plates were oversized which caused difficulty fitting our order on the table. Ambiance was ok, but overall not enough to draw me across town. The worst part was the customer carrying on a long and loud personal phone conversation directly behind us.

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A
Chicago
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Met up with a friend here for brunch. Very nice a courteous staff, accommodating and very good brunch. Enjoyed it - would recommend

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DC
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is always good & our waiter was delightful! Always a good meal here.

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l
Chicago
36 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My son and grandchildren were visiting. It was a perfect restaurant for family dining. Service and server were excellent. Definitely will dine there again.

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C
Chicago
16 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

This was my first time at Symphony’s. The breakfast food I had was delicious! I would go there again and maybe try their lunch.

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SB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Symphonys never disappoints for Jersey girl who finds herself in the midwest and misses east-coast diners! Food quality is far better than diner fare, but the ambiance and serivce are comfortable and welcoming. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all tasty!

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L
Chicago
27 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

This is a great place! The portions are large, so taking some home provides a second meal. The menu is extensive and nicely varied. There are both tables and booths. The service is prompt and friendly. We have been grateful for the quiet and conversation-friendly atmosphere. The only weakness is that parking on the street can sometimes be a little difficult.

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f
Chicago
43 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 2

The service was very poor, dinner came out one dinner at a time, the order was wrong, and they were not that busy

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