Wine Dine and Play: July 2013


Alinea in Chicago is rated at 3 Michelin stars and one of the top restaurants in the world

Dining Taken To A Whole New Level
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Cuisine Style: Eclectic, Molecular, and New American
Average Price: $$$$$
Overall Rating: 5/5
Updated on: February 16, 2020
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:
By Cuisine  /  By Country

Alinea's score on Zomato:

Alinea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Cape Cod Room Restaurant

The Cape Cod Room Restaurant in the Drake Hotel, Chicago

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio in Cape Cod
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Cuisine Style: New England Cuisine
Average Price: $$$
Overall Rating: 3/5
Dined in: July 2013
Article Updated: November 16, 2018
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

*** The Cap Cod Room Restaurant closed its doors after 83 years on 31 December 2016. The new restaurant in its place is called the Café on Oak ***

Cape Cod Room Executive Chef:
Baasim Zafar

Chef Baasim Zafar of the Cape Cod room at the Drake Hotel in Chicago

In 1996 when the first Mission Impossible movie was released, I was in the Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and being young and not caring too much about acting or storyline, I enjoyed and focused strictly on the action. In the film, a character mentions staying at The Drake Hotel in Chicago before joining them, and they respond with gasps, considering him lucky. 17 years later in the summer of 2013, while visiting Chicago, I decided to stay at The Drake and enjoy some of the world famous restaurants that the hotel was known for. Among them was the Cape Cod Room (Now called Café on Oak) where President’s, European Royalty, sport, and movie stars had all stayed and eaten at, over the past 80 years since the restaurant opened. The neatest part to me was seeing the bar in the restaurant covered with sketchings of people who wrote their initials to include Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio.

MM and JD are for Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio initials into the bar at the Cape Cod Room, the Drake in Chicago
Cape Cod Room / MM & JD = Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio

The Cape Cod Room Restaurant at The Drake Hotel, is a seafood restaurant, with a New English style kick of flavor and preparation offering fresh seafood from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, lakes and freshwater streams. It has been consistently named as one of America's finest dining spots since opening in 1933 and has been a holiday award winner for 35 years. The Cape Cod Room was also inducted into the Fine Dining Hall of Fame by Nation's Restaurant News. The restaurant also features a small oyster bar. The Cape Cod Restaurant is a friendly environment with wonderful food, and service, and a unique history dating back to the infamous Chicago of the 1930s. The inside is decorated like a New England manner and seafood house, with large oak planks and beams on the sides of the wall and running across the ceiling, with cast iron bots hanging from the wood beam supports. I started the evening by ordering a bottle of Château La Nerthe, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which according to the winemakers’ notes is blend of Grenache noir 53%, Mourvedre 15%,  Syrah 27%, Cinsault 4%, Divers 1%, Maturing 42% in barrels, & 58% in wooden casks and tanks with an aging potential At least until 15 years. This wine avails of a red rubies dress with raspberry tints. The smell is fresh and fruity. We can find little red fruits or black fruits and also black pepper. This wine is complex with touches of cherry, blackberry, blackcurrant, and spice.

This Rhone Valley AOC is one of my favorite wine Regions in France, and to me, they always produce some excellent bottles that you cannot go wrong. For my meal, I had a Starter selection, Salad, and Main Entrée during my visit. The starter was called the Cape Cod 80th Anniversary Platter consisting of two lump Crab Cakes served with a light mustard sauce, which were very good and now compete against my favorite Crab Cake recipe from Hank’s Seafood in Charleston, South Carolina. The platter also had a Shrimp cocktail consisting of two jumbo Prawns in an heirloom tomato Sauce, and two Oyster Rockefeller’s stuffed with spinach and topped with a baked hollandaise Sauce, which brought out the flavor tenfold.

A special 80th anniversary platter at the Cape Cod Room in Chicago featuring oyster, crab cakes
Cape Cod Room / 80th Anniversary platter

For The Salad, being in Chicago I had an Iceberg Wedge Salad, which you can get anywhere, since the basic ingredients of tomato, bacon, blue cheese, and ranch dressing are universal, but this salads blue cheese was a local organic Illinois blue cheese, which made it a must try. It was a very smooth and semi-rich cheese, which added great flavors and balance to the other toppings.

The Iceberg Wedge with local Illinois blue cheese at the Cape Cod Room at the Drake in Chicago
Cape Cod Room / Iceberg Wedge

For the entrée’s, they had a wide selection of choices from the sea and the land alike. But only a few days earlier I had eaten at a British centric Seafood Restaurant called Wheeler’s of St. James in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, so I was a little over indulged with seafood at that point. I chose the New York Strip Steak entrée, topped with a Merlot Sauce, over a bed of fresh sautéed spinach and fingerling Potato slices that were lightly fried in oil. I also added two Scallops to the dish to make it a Surf and Turf.

Steak with scallops surf and turf dish at the Cape Cod room at the Drake in Chicago
Cape Cod Room / Surf and Turf

Besides the Food and great service, the atmosphere won the place over. So when you’re in Chicago, or if you’re staying at the Drake Hotel, then book at this restaurant. I would say that the only bad thing about my experience was that there was a table near me with young kids. I’m sorry, I have a child but when you’re out on the town, spending a lot of money on food, and atmosphere, leave the kids at home. If you can afford to come to the Cape Cod Room, then you can afford a babysitter. Once the kids start to cry or act wild, it ruins the meal and conversations of others, and that is what happened here. The kids were running around, screaming, making other noises and so on. When my daughter was younger, I got a babysitter for her when I was going somewhere nice. Now that she is older, I have taught her proper table etiquette, and she acts like a young adult when she is sitting at any dining room table.

I did not have dessert during this visit.

Please see these guidelines for Tipping in Restaurants and on following proper etiquette, customs, cultures, and avoiding assumptions when you dine out.

Wine regulatory’s for the tastings in this article:

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is the strength, in the water there are bacteria.” - David Auerbach

European Union: 

Other noteworthy New England cuisine articles and restaurants similar to the Cape Cod Room Restaurant:
New England cuisine is an American cuisine which originated in the New England region of the United States. It is characterized by extensive use of seafood and dairy products, which results from its historical reliance on its seaports and fishing industry, as well as extensive dairy farming in inland regions. This area of American cuisine influence includes Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Cape Cod, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut

Lucky’s Lounge slick lounge with a cool retro vibe at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts
Perla’s Seafood and Oyster Bar Laid-back Cape Cod-style seafood restaurant in Austin, Texas

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary

Other Chicago restaurants, and articles on Wine Dine and Play:

A Top 20 on Wine Dine and Play
Highly creative new American molecular gastronomy tasting menus
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Chain serving Chicago-style deep dish pizza & other Italian eats 
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Eulogy to a famous Chicago Chef
Chicago, Illinois, USA

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary by country


Final notes, review basics, observations, and more pictures:

Most reviews are subjective, depending on the writer; but they should also be responsible, and respectfully written, upholding the truth, and accurately conveying the experience to the best of the writer's knowledge, even if it includes metaphors the restaurant may not like to read about. My ratings are by the stars I award (from 0 to 5). The rating is calculated on a point accumulation of six separate factors based on individual experience. They include wine and other beverage selections, plate presentation, customer service, restaurant or café ambiance, food quality, and wow factor. To see more details of this rating list, read this article:

Overall from this experience and the score factors outlined in the ‘about page’ section, based on my individual experience and rating, I give the Cape Cod Room Restaurant a 3 out of 5 stars, meaning that they exceeded my expectations and were far above the average dining experience of most restaurants.


Overall Star Rating:
3 of 5 Stars: 
83% Rating with a 1 point “wow” bonus
Exceeded my Expectations in A Dining Experience
5 of 10
Old World selections: 
France, Italy, Spain

New World selections: 
California, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington State
Corkage fees:
The Cape Cod Room does not list any corkage fee’s however, most American restaurants charge $25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Conservative dining
Cuisine Style at RESTAURANT NAME:
American, New England, Seafood
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Gluten-free choices, Low Carb Choices, Pescatarian, Vegetarian Options
Not Required
Accepted, but not guaranteed
Dress code:
Formal attire: 
 Conservative to Smart casual attire
Child policy:

The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a kids menu or cater to them; however, for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended that kids not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. 
If not then:
Hire a Babysitter! 
Place for foodies, Contemporary, Lounge, Business parties, Romantic, Great bar, Good for special occasions, Beautiful décor, Intimate, Classy, Upscale, and a Neighborhood Gem.
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
The Cape Cod Room Restaurant is a non-smoking restaurant
Patio or terrace:


Food Prices 
(excludes, alcohol, taxes & 20% gratuity’s)

$£€¥ -                Under 50.00 (inexpensive)
$£€¥ x 2 -          51.00- 99.00 (moderate)
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 (pricey)
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 (expensive)
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 (very expensive)

**Currencies reflect the world’s major travelers, restaurant, or wine connoisseur’s**

United States Dollar (USD)
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
European Union (EUR)

 Alcohol prices:

$130.00 USD

The Cape Cod Room at the Drake: 

The Drake Hotel
140 East Walton Place
Chicago, IL. 60611

The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

A few to tease you with…
Taste of tribal Zimbabwe cuisine
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Vibrant Pan-Indian Cuisine
Colnbrook, Slough, Berkshire, England, UK
Stylish modern Spanish and global cuisine
Dubai Creek, Dubai, UAE

Other Cape Cod Room Pictures:

The sketched bar at the Cape Cod Room in Chicago
Cape Cod Room / Bar

Famous actors sign their names to the bar at the Cape Cod Room in Chicago
Cape Cod Room / Bar with sketched names

The Crab Cakes at the Cape Cod Room in Chicago
Cape Cod Room / Crab Cakes

The oyster Rockefeller at the Cape Cod Room in Chicago
Cape Cod Room / Oyster Rockefeller

“Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
But in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)

Who is John Galt?


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