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.
Cozy bistro feel with wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen
RECOMMENDED DISH: Roasted rabbit ravioli
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
RECOMMENDED DISH: Steak Frites
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
Cozy private booths with serenading musicians
RECOMMENDED DISH: chateaubriand for two served tableside
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
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
Retro Bistro, Mount Prospect, French
White tablecloths, candles, and fresh flowers collaborate to form an authentic “French” bistro feel.
RECOMMENDED DISHES: Potato crusted tilapia…and the escargot, of course!
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
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