My friend and I tried out lunch the other day at Millennium Hall, which offers a new multi-concept dining experience at 11 N. Michigan Avenue inside the popular Millennium Park. Located right beneath the iconic Bean sculpture, Millennium Hall has three unique restaurant concepts:
●Napolita Pizzeria and Wine Bar is an authentic brick oven Neapolitan pizzeria serving hand-crafted Italian cuisine along with a carefully curated wine selection. The artisanal brick ovens imported from Naples ensure that Napolita captures the essence of traditional pizza from its namesake. The sleek wood and glass architecture compliments a savory, curated menu featuring specialty salads and entrees, shareable appetizers, and exquisite, Italian-style desserts.
●Double Clutch Beer Garden is Chicago’s largest beer garden that seats 800+ guests and serves expertly crafted, locally brewed beers from its own brewery, complimented by a sustainably sourced menu. *Double Clutch Brewing Company is the winner of Small Brewery of the Year, Brewmaster of the Year, and silver medal winner in the 2022 Great American Beer Festival.
●Casa Bonita Cantina boasts fresh authentic Mexican fare made with selected ingredients from local purveyors. Nestled right across from Cloud Gate, guests can sip on hand-crafted cocktails and enjoy homemade chips and guacamole in this open-air concept, known for its vast list of tequilas and its famous “Perfect Margarita.”
Millennium Hall is in the perfect downtown Chicago Loop spot in beautiful Millennium Park. It’s a lovely outdoor space, perfect for dining alfresco on a warm, sunny day. We were seated outside at the Double Clutch Been Garden. Overall ambiance of the dining venue was festive, yet casual. It had a generous amount of shade to keep you from baking in the sun if you wish, or sit in the sun.
Service was professional and prompt. Our server was most pleasantly insightful about the restaurants’ most popular menu items and beverages, as well as recommending some of his personality favorites.
Another fantastic tidbit I learned from our server was that you can dine at either Double Clutch or Napolita and order off from either menu. We were seated at the Double Clutch Beer Garden, but ordered from both menus. Our cocktails were delicious. Having a fondness for a good Paloma, I had the Plaza Paloma (herradura tequila, lime, cointreau, grapefruit, soda). My friend ordered the Frozen Margarita (el jimador blanco, lime, triple sec), which was the perfect, cold drink for a hot, summery day. My friend also imbibed in the Double Clutch Hefeweizen, which he claimed was spot on for the style.
Our starter was a delicious salmon sushi roll with seaweed, avocado, sesame oil, soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger. The sushi rice was very soft, which I am not used to, but it added a nice texture to the overall roll.
Main courses were mouthwatering and authentic brick-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas from Napolita, which were incredibly flavorful and satisfying. On the menu, the Funghi Rossa (fresh mozzarella, roasted mushroom, basil, truffle oil) stood out to me. The ingredient description had pizza ingredients that I love on my usual pizza, but I felt it was missing something extra. I asked our server if spinach, garlic and caramelized onions could be added on. He told me it was no problem, which added brownie points to the Millennium Food Hall. With all the ingredients on my pizza, the entrée was absolutely delicious.
My friend is a hot and spicy food lover, so the Carne Italiane (spicy soppressata, garlic fennel house sausage, pancetta, fresh mozzarella, basil, chili evoo) was the ideal choice. He loved the flavors and exquisite texture of his pizza. Anyone who likes spicy pizza would enjoy this one. It really delivered for him in terms of flavor and quality. The pizza did not require anything else on it.
Millennium Hall’s food and drink options went above and beyond our expectations. Everything was fairly priced and enjoyable. This included our cannoli dessert dipped in crushed pistachios, which was a hit home run of creamy and crunchy deliciousness from start to finish.
After our meal, David the manager was delightful to chat with. He provided us with a nice tour of the Millennium Hall space, and behind the scenes in the Napolita pizza making kitchen. The huge ovens used to make the pizzas were imported from Italy! We also got to see the third restaurant concept, closer to the Bean, Casa Bonita Cantina. The food looked tasty and I wished we had had room left in our stomachs to sample something from that menu. The tour was fascinating and provided insight to each restaurant.
I highly recommend Millennium Hall if you crave delicious food and beverages and dining alfresco. Outdoor dining is available through October, when Double Clutch and Casa Bonita Cantina will close for the cooler months. Good news, though: Napolita will remain open inside, which will be perfect when going downtown for ice skating at The Bean. Go and enjoy the lovely outdoor experience before it closes!
Photos: Jennifer Lunz unless otherwise noted
For more information on Millennium Hall, please visit the website.