Romantic Restaurants Around Chicagoland

I am embarrassed to admit that I am totally and completely out of touch with many of the “hot spots” in Chicago.  I mean, I know about the newest play space and whatnot….but bars and restaurants?  Not so much.  Thanks to many of my wonderful friends and family, I have compiled a list of some of the best romantic restaurants across Chicagoland for all of you other busy parents who typically only go out for Valentine’s Day or your anniversary (and if that really is the case, hire a babysitter and go on a date–immediately!).

When researching recommendations, it seemed that the majority of people responded with Italian or French restaurants.  That’s not to say that Mexican restaurants can’t be romantic (I mean, they DO have live music!) but after a burrito no one wants to be all cuddly…or maybe that’s just me.  As a result my recommendations across Chicagoland fall mostly in the category of Italian, French, or American.

Since many of these restaurants are known for being so romantic, they book early for Valentine’s Day.  My tip is to make a reservation for a weeknight date (because it is always fun to have something new and exciting to do on a weeknight, right?!?) or plan way in advance for a special date night.  And don’t feel bad for pulling a “Lady and the Tramp” with your love at any of these places…they won’t bat an eye.  Maybe just give you extra napkins.


Aquitaine, French

Cozy bistro feel with wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen

RECOMMENDED DISH: Roasted rabbit ravioli


BarTucci, Italian

Small and relaxed atmosphere, BYOB

RECOMMENDED DISH: Any of the fresh, hand made pasta


Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf, American

Romantic ambiance with candles and dim lights

RECOMMENDED DISH: Fried chicken (Yes, it was THAT GOOD to order at a romantic dinner)


Bistro Campagne, French

Deceptive from the outside, it is an intimate space with only thirty tables or so (reservations are highly recommended).

RECOMMENDED DISHES: Mussels with fresh bread, salmon with leeks and chard or Steak Frites, with Crème Brulee or bread pudding for dessert


Bistro Voltaire, French

Cozy and candle lit



Geja’s Café, American

Dark lighting, live music, private setting that gets booked for Valentine’s Day…a great tip is to get a Groupon deal and dine during the week.

RECOMMENDED DISH:  All of the fondue is amazing, from the beginning cheese course to the chocolate fondue for dessert.


North Pond, American

Beautiful rooms with warm wood and gorgeous stained glass windows

RECOMMENDED DISHES: The tasting menu. Everything we have ever ordered from it has been delicious.


Peninsula Hotel Chocolate Bar, European

Sophisticated atmosphere, with dim lighting and spectacular views of Chicago

RECOMMENDED DISH: Anything and everything chocolate! Everything on the buffet is pleasing to the eyes as well as the taste buds.


Rose Angelis, Italian

Intimate setting great for sharing a meal and delicious desserts

RECOMMENDED DISH: Italian Bread pudding with caramel sauce





Café Pyrenees, Libertyville, French

Quaint and authentic French Bistro feel. Since the owner’s wife is a sommelier the dishes are paired with different and delicious wines.

RECOMMENDED DISHES: Any of the duck dishes (menu changes seasonally)


Found, Evanston, American

Candle lit space with cozy seats and many couches, and delicious dishes perfect for sharing

RECOMMENDED DISH: Lamb meat balls


Tavern, Libertyville, American

Upscale without being pretentious, cozy and welcoming

RECOMMENDED DISH: Filet with a side of garlic mashed potatoes with cheese and bacon or fried potatoes with onions and butte


Three Embers, Lincolnshire, American

Perfect for a farm to table meal either before or after a trip to the Lincolnshire Marriott Theatre or just for a fresh and innovative date night meal.

RECOMMENDED DISH: Wood Grilled Angler Fish


Café La Cave, Des Plaines, French

Dine inside the quaint and candle lit cave

RECOMMENDED DISHES: Steak Diane and Bananas Foster, both flambéed tableside. They often have Groupon deals as well!


Francesca’s Tavolo, Arlington Heights, Italian

Quiet and candle lit atmosphere in a elegant way

RECOMMENDED DISH: Rigatoni alla Siciliana


Via Roma, Des Plaines, Italian

A hidden gem, the restaurant has a quaint atmosphere that makes you feel like you are dining in a small trattoria. Don’t forget to BYOB!

RECOMMENDED DISH: The buratta appetizer

Bon Appetite!
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  1. Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom says

    My husband and I are thinking about a solo trip to Chicago without the kids this summer. We went a couple of years ago and it always helps to have some restaurant recommendations. I would love to have a romantic evening with him, these are perfect and I am going to pin this for later!

  2. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says

    It sounds like there are a lot of great restaurants in that area. Hopefully I will get to at least one of them someday.

  3. Susan Quackenbush says

    Though I don’t imagine I’ll be in the Chicago area in the near future, I do appreciate such a comprehensive list of places to go. I think North Pond looks like my kind of place. Thanks for the great share! 🙂

  4. Elizabeth O. says

    These are great recommendations. Men who are looking for a romantic place to bring his date will find this helpful.

  5. Rosey says

    Happy to hear about places to go in Chicago. The ravioli is one my husband would like, I’m sure.

  6. Dogvills says

    I am glad there are so many romantic restaurants in Chicago. I would be delighted to try the Italian restaurant as I love Italian food

  7. Alison says

    I’ve never been to Chicago, but it’s on my places I want to go list. Sounds like I need to make it a several day long trip if I’m going to eat my way through the town!

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