From swanky lounges to skyline views: romantic dining in Chicago

When most people think of romantic restaurants in Chicago, they think of famous restaurants with stunning Chicago skyline views. With a nice glass of wine or champagne and a good meal, it makes for a special evening with your loved one. You can’t go wrong with places like the Signature Room at the 95th Floor in the John Hancock building, Spiaggia, Fulton’s on the River, or Cite for their views, meals and drinks.

If you’re looking for something a bit more unconventional or off-the-beaten-path, Chicago has that, too. In Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, you may have to stand in line outside the non-descript building before passing the floor-to-ceiling length velvet curtains at Violet Hour. Once you’re in, the dimly-lit lounge is perfect for enjoying one of the many inventive cocktails. RM Champagne Salon in the West Loop requires its guests to walk through a cobblestone back alley before they can enjoy a glass of champagne while The Bedford allows you to dine in a former bank vault.

For a more interactive dining experience, you can’t go wrong with fondue at Geja’s Café. In the River North area, Gilt Bar and Pops for Champagne keep things fun and exciting with their intimate atmosphere and extensive drink selections.

The beauty about Chicago’s romantic dining scene is that no one definition applies which makes the experience that much more unique and intimate for couples.

While not a place for dinner (as of February 2016, the kitchen was under renovation), it is a fantastic and very romantic place for champagne and live music. Pops is a Chicago mainstay, now relocated from its original Lake View spot to the River...  Read More

Osteria Langhe
Photo courtesy of Photo by Jamie Bartosch

Pronounced "Oh-stairia Lang-ay," this intimate and casually romantic dinner spot serves delicious Italian food. The tiny dining area is lined with white lights and candlelit tables. They're best known for their fresh pasta, which Chef Cameron...  Read More

For luxurious, upscale Italian dining, Spiaggia is a top pick. One of the town's most romantic dining rooms, it features sparkling platinum-and-white decor, sculpted steel light fixtures and fantastic Lake Michigan views. The food is simplicity...  Read More

Geja's Café is not a place where you sit back and be served. It's a fondue dining experience which means you'll be cooking your food at your table. Live classical and flamenco guitar add to the ambiance. Diners first walk down a few steps to...  Read More

Be prepared for a dimly-lit and intimate atmosphere when you enter Gilt Bar in Chicago's River North neighborhood. Intricate chandeliers hang from the ceiling, candles grace every table, plush seats line the perimeter and the bar, which...  Read More

Cite is nestled on the 70th floor of a residential building with unobstructed views of Lake Michigan that are bound to get anyone in a romantic mood. While there are other restaurants in high-rises, Cite's views include Lake Shore Drive which is...  Read More

RM Champagne is charmingly small and well-hidden. Walk down a narrow cobblestone alley and enter through the back door. If it's nice outside, you can dine outdoors and feel like you're dining in a European countryside than near downtown Chicago....  Read More

Restaurants that don't have to fabricate history and architectural details have an edge. Walk down a few stairs off busy Division Street and step into what seems to be a bank vault (because it was at one time). The Bedford is spacious although...  Read More

Violet Hour
Photo courtesy of Violet Hour

Don't let the outdoor décor fool you. It's boarded up and one friend wondered if anything was even inside. Once you (after a long wait in a line outside, most likely), you enter through heavy velvet curtains and into a dark cocktail lounge....  Read More

Signature Room at the 95th

If you haven't wined or dined at The Signature Room yet, your next trip will undoubtedly have to include this Chicago landmark. The high-stepping destination is a place not only to see and be seen but also to take in the beauty of the city with...  Read More


Meet Jamie Bartosch

Jamie Bartosch is a lifelong Chicagoan who thinks her hometown is the greatest city in the world. She is an award-winning newspaper reporter, a freelance travel writer, and the mother of two great kids.

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