Symphony's Cafe

3.9
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480 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 480 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
4.2
food
3.6
service
3.6
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Quiet
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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C
Chicago
121 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food4service3ambience4

This was our second time at Symphony. I thought the cream of chicken rice was out of this world the first time I was here and couldn't wait to have it again. The recipe was a little different this time as they added chunks of potatoes which gave it a strange texture. Our server was very slow this time. But our meals were good so we will definitely be back.

ST
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Probably the deal in the northshore for great quality food, portions and price. My wife and I split on the salmon dinners. They graciously split everything in half on each plate for us and still the portions were substantial.

This place also has a very low noise level making conversation easy. We had a group of nine and everyone had a good meal.

S
Chicago
29 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience2

We came here at the suggestion of friends. The restaurant smelt funny, the wait staff was nonexistent, the food was just mediocre and not inexpensive. I will never go back here again.

LE
Chicago
35 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Great neighborhood place.

G
Chicago
35 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall2food4service1ambience3

The waitress got my order wrong, thus, while everyone in our party was enjoying their meal, I was waiting for mine to be prepared! When I saw that most of my friends were half way through their dinner and I, a slow eater, still hadn't gotten my meal, I got up and canceled my order. As the waitress was clearing the table, she dropped a knife in my lap!!!!!!! They comped my meal, which I appreciated, but charged me the $2.50 for my ice tea! When I got home, very hungry, I ate alittle of the meal and it was excellent but the evening was ruined by this unprofessional waitress!!!!! (Getting the order wrong and dropping a knife in my lap!)

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall1food4service1ambience2

Worst service I’ve ever had.

OT
Chicago
75 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience2

Love this place. Best rack of lamb ever! We’ll be back.

MP
Chicago
170 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience3

I had the most wonderful egg white omelette with goat cheese, tomatoes and onions.
Delicious!
Would love to go back frequently but the parking meters on Central are problematic. Many do not work. Couldn't get mine to accept my credit card. Didn't get all the time for the quarters I inserted. Same thing happened to the lady behind me.

L
Chicago
36 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

We've eaten here several times, and always been pleased. The portions are huge, so I typically take home leftovers for another tasty meal! We enjoy their comfortable booths, prompt service, and quiet atmosphere (we go for breakfast or lunch).

S
Chicago
21 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

We are repeat customers and enjoyed another delicious dinner. Our waitress was very nice but seemed a bit distracted when it came to giving us the bill. I had to request the bill and then she forgot to apply the discount coupon we had shown to her when initially ordering. She corrected it right away so no complaints about that.

JT
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Always eat at Symphony's before a Northwestern Football game.

Good food and service is a little slow because it is full up. Nice friendly staff.

Always make a reservation and keep it on your phone.

C
Chicago
122 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Symphony's Cafe was better than we thought it would be. Warm bread basket was a nice touch. Enjoyed the "pasta fagioli" soup, even though it wasn't the traditional pasta fagioli, and both of our dinners were tasty (turkey burger/fries and salmon piccata special). We will return in the future.

KG
Austin
23 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I have loved Symphony’s for decades and it still delivers good food, creatively and well prepared. Thank you

LF
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

It was very busy and noisy when we arrived at 1:00. The crowd thinned out later and that was better. Food was plentiful, and basic. The service was attentive. We had been looking for a nice, quiet place to have a business lunch, and this was recommended. Would have preferred something more up scale but there didn't seem to be much around that area open for lunch.

D
Chicago
15 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Wonderful food! Great setting! Thank you!

L
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience5

I like the restaurant very much. It would be great for me if there were more gluten free, dairy free items on menu. But, overall, i think the food is excellent and service is great

M
Chicago
40 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

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.

WF
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

We were some of the fortunate ones who had made reservations on Father's Day. The unfortunate ones were left to wait at least 30 minutes. The place is not humongous. Word must be getting around that this is one of the cuter places in Evanston for brunch and there's plenty of free parking within a block on a Sunday morning.

L
Chicago
36 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

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

M
Chicago
40 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience4

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.

JF
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

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

D
Naples
12 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Place to go for brunch in all of Chicago area

e
Chicago
31 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience3

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.

M
Chicago
40 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall2food4service1ambience3

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.

DM
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

MK
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

t
Chicago
25 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Very good neighborhood restaurant. Friendly with good food.

ST
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

c
Cleveland
26 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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.

G
Chicago
16 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

ST
Chicago
10 reviews
Dined on March 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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.

MW
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place for an extended family outing

MH
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

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

KI
San Francisco
54 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience2

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?

BO
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food was fabulous. Service was great

SL
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

WS
Chicago
48 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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!!!!

m
Chicago
95 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

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.

ST
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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.

KE
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

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