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“A Very Loud Restaurant”
Review of Sunda Chicago

Sunda Chicago
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2
Wed, 6/16
8:00 PM
OR
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Ranked #158 of 9,966 Restaurants in Chicago
Price range: $20 - $40
Cuisines: Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Bar scene, Large groups
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Delivery, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: River North
Cross street: LaSalle
Transit: #22 Bus, stop at Grand coming from the North. Stop at Hubbard if coming from the South. Walk a 1/2 block west. #36 Bus, stop at Illinois coming from either direction, then walk 1 1/2 block west. Red line train Grand Stop then walk one block north to Illinois
Description: Sunda is an award-winning restaurant at the forefront of America's New Asian movement showcasing contemporary interpretations of traditional dishes from Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines in a stylish and chic space that includes a main dining room, cocktail lounge and sushi bar.
Reviewed July 5, 2020

A Very Loud Restaurant

Did I mention that Sunda is loud? In October, we were in Chicago, as my wife had a major presentation with her senior management team. I was tasked with picking the restaurant for a business dinner, for the team to discuss the presentation, and put the final touches on it. Based on many recommendations, I opted to book Sunda, at 110 W Illinois St. On a cold, and gloomy late October evening, we headed to Sunda in a couple of taxis. We arrived for our early reservation, and were promptly seated by a very pleasant hostess. We were in the rear corner of one dining area, at a 4-top, with small wings, which folded out. For a group of 8, that was crowded. Also, the tables were very, very close together, in that area. This could be a problem.

The restaurant is very attractive, and has many seating options, from small 2-tops, to long, wooden tables, to seating at the sushi bar, and then some at a small bar, near the front of the restaurant. The interior walls feature a lot of exposed brick, and some large windows. The lighting, while a bit dim, is attractive. The artwork is also attractive, and especially some of the abstract metal sculptures.

I was seated at the back of this table, facing out to one of the sushi bars, and much of the main dining room. I had the wine list in hand, and made my selections. While short, the wine list is very serviceable, and I liked some of the “reserve” wines, but as this was a business meeting, I kept away from those pages. Our server came to take the wine order, but could not hear me, across the rather small table. I can usually project my voice, well into the balcony, but the noise level was so high, that I had to point to the wines, so that then my wife could point to them again, as the server could not squeeze between the other tables, to get to my side. It was very early, and I would guess that the bar area, and dining area that I could see, were only about 25%, but the noise was deafening already - and it only got worse.

The wine came, and folk began placing orders. Unfortunately, our server could only hear the two folk, closest to the dining room. The rest had to point, or have a co-worker place the order. I let my wife order, and just sat back.

Unfortunately, it was impossible to talk about the upcoming presentation, without screaming, so a business dinner, devolved into just dinner. There was zero conversation at our table.

Now, Sunda is a “New Asian” restaurant, and does a very good job at bringing the Pan-Asian theme to life. There are hints of Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai and Chinese. The dishes that I had, worked well. Some were served family style, and passed around, though this became a bit awkward with the limited table real estate. Also, service could only be accomplished between two of the diners, so they had to lean away, as the food was placed onto the table, to be spread out by my party - very off-putting.

As I could not see what items the folk at the table had pointed to, I have no idea what was ordered, however, most was very good, though I would grade the sushi dishes down a bit - not the best I have had, and even in Chicago. The rest, however, was much, much better.

Our server, and her team tried to do their best, but the cramped table, and the spacing of that table to others, made her job virtually impossible. My hat is off to her, for her efforts.

I took full responsibility for a botched business dinner, and treated the group to drinks and wine, back in the quiet of our hotel’s bar - where folk could converse in normal tones, and all be easily heard.

Much of the food might bring me back to Sunda, as we are in Chicago once per month, but with the noise, I am just not sure. Maybe my wife and I could sit at the sushi bar, and just smile at each other. Many would likely enjoy the noise, and assume that it means that Sunda is a happening place. I’d rather have conversation, to accompany my meal.

Date of visit: October 2019
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank The_Loup_Garou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 - 5 of 1,082 reviews

Reviewed March 8, 2020 via mobile

Top recognition goes to our waiter at Sunda who artfully guided us through a vast menu offering a huge range of selections.

Appetizers including pork belly skewers were delicious (though the pork belly was not for those carefully watching their fat intake).

The pork confit entree was perfectly prepared. But the desserts were especially interesting. Sorbet made from the “Obe,” a yam-like vegetable, was delightful, not too sweet, and served with divine fresh strawberries and blackberries.

Located on narrow Illinois Street (one way East) behind the Merchandise Mart, consider valet parking or public transportation. That neighborhood is really dense.

Date of visit: March 2020
2  Thank WellTraveledChicago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EvanBSalone, Manager at Sunda Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded March 10, 2020

Thank you for your great feedback. We are so glad you enjoyed your time with us and look forward to your next visit!

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Reviewed February 24, 2020 via mobile

I got sick after their seafood. I was sick all night and next day. I had to cancel my time with my 4year old son because of this. I contacted the manager and talked to him. I was treated as a liar. My friend convinced me to go there, since she used to go there on her dates. Now she nor I will never go back there. The manager didn’t even want to consider my sickness. He said they would not take any responsibility for my sickness or my friends sickness who got sick as well. They would not even consider giving me money back. It was very disappointing experience and I will never go back there nor I will recommend it. Leftovers are already in a trash.

Date of visit: February 2020
1  Thank Aganikki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2020

Went there for both Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch and the food was nothing short of phenomenal. My wife misses food from her home, and loves going to Sunda every time we are in Chicago. Fantastic authentic Filipino food (crispy pata and torcino were spot on particulary) and Wagyu beef that almost loses the characteristics of being a solid.

If you're in Chicago and even if Filipino food isn't your culinary sweet spot give it a try - you won't regret it. (And they offer way more than just Filipino food of course - but try it while you are there!)

Date of visit: February 2020
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
2  Thank MichiganTed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OliverSunda, Other at Sunda Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2020

Amazing! Thank you. We will continue to strive to serve you better in the future.

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Reviewed February 3, 2020 via mobile

This place is definitely one of my favourite in Chicago. Very busy. We didn’t get a full service table but a bar table. But still it was pretty good. The waiter helped us with the menu and recommended some great dishes. The Brussels sprout salad is definitely worth a try! The sushi was great too. I would definitely recommend this place but would suggest to book at least 3/4 days earlier to get a full service.

Date of visit: December 2019
1  Thank Florencia_Angelica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Discover05767357838, Other at Sunda Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded February 5, 2020

Amazing! Thank you. We will continue to strive to serve you better in the future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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