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The exterior of a brick restaurant with large windows that read “Forte.”
There’s a new pre-show dinner option in the Loop.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

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Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hopes Its New Restaurant Resonates

Explore Forte, which hopes to make some noise with a Mediterranean menu

Audiences at Symphony Center, the downtown home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, have gained a convenient new dining option with the opening of Forte, a modern Mediterranean restaurant that debuted Wednesday at 65 E. Adams Street.

Open to both show-goers and patrons who aren’t attending a concert, Forte will offer a menu that ranges from mezze-style appetizers such as crispy goat cheese with pepper and truffle honey to pasta, salads, and hearty entrees such as oven-braised lamb shank with crushed corn pudding and eggplant caponata. There’s also a lineup of wines by the glass, draft beer, and classic cocktails with music-themed names like Figaro’s Unraveling (gin, lime cordial, genepy, chartreuse, rosemary). Workers have made slight modifications to the space, adding new light fixtures and fresh paint to the main dining room and private areas.

A spacious dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows.
A white dining area and bar.
A dining room with a long, curved banquette.

Patrons don’t need to tickets to dine at Forte.

The Symphony Center space was previously home to popular Italian theater district spot Tesori and short-lived restaurant Opus from Jewell Events Catering, which opened in September 2019 with CSO’s 2019/2020 season launch. The majority of that season was canceled due to the pandemic, and when combined with indoor dining shutdowns, the business’ viability was untenable.

The space is now helmed by prominent Chicago hospitality and food service brand Levy Restaurants. Founded in 1978 with D.B. Kaplan’s Delicatessen at Water Tower Place, Levy provides food service at Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field, and the United Center. The brand also has a hand in formal restaurants and once owned Spiaggia, the acclaimed downtown Italian restaurant with chef Tony Mantuano. In October, Levy acquired a minority stake in James Beard Award-winning Boka Restaurant Group, known for Chicago restaurants such as Girl & the Goat and Momotaro.

Explore the Loop’s new pre-show dining spot in the photographs below.

Forte at Symphony Center, 65 E. Adams Street, Open 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Saturday.

A white bar and dining space.
Forte provides a simple option for those in search of a pre-show bite or drink.
A large bowl of pappardelle pasta.
Pappardelle (meat tagu, Parmigiano-Reggiano, basil).
Forte at Symphony Center
A plate holds an octopus tentacle over vegetables.
Spanish octopus (confit potato, pickled pepper, romesco, salsa verde).
Forte at Symphony Center
A simple dining room with floor to ceiling windows.
A blue private dining room.
A dining room with tables and a long banquette.

Leather upholstery lends an air of unfussy comfort.

A curved black leather banquette.
A large dining room with tables and banquettes.

Forte at Symphony Center

65 E. Adams Street, Chicago, IL 60603 312-294-3013 Visit Website
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