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 cuisines.
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.
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
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.
Found, Evanston, American
Candle lit space with cozy seats and many couches, and delicious dishes perfect for sharing
RECOMMENDED DISH: Lamb meat balls
The Heritage, Forest Park, American
A beautiful space for an intimate farm-to-table, seasonal meal that reinvents traditional dishes.
RECOMMENDED DISH: The menu changes frequently, but any of their fish dishes are BEAUTIFUL and delicious.
Café La Cave, Des Plaines, French
Dine inside the quaint and candle lit cave
RECOMMENDED DISHES: Steak Diane and Bananas Foster, both flambéed table side. They often have Groupon deals as well!
Mockingbird Bar and Garden, East Dundee, American
Every single detail, from the glass wear to the tile work in the washrooms, is straight out of a magazine.
RECOMMENDED DISHES: Order a wide variety of small plates, especially the “Elaine Salad” and pair with their delicious, handcrafted cocktails.
Mirimar Bistro, French, Highwood
You feel like you have stepped into a French cafe once you enter the doors of this beautiful, romantic restaurant.
RECOMMENDED DISH: Steak frites
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