Romantic Dining in Chicago: Cocktails, Candles and Exceptional Cuisine

For decades, Chicagoans' go-to restaurants for romance involved stunning views (think Signature Room on the 95th Floor of John Hancock Center, Spiaggia and Everest. Or the old reliable Geja's Cafe for spinning melted Swiss or chocolate around a bread cube or a strawberry. All nice ideas, but they're everyone's ideas so book your table months in advance if you thinking of a Valentine's Day experience. 

Our list recognizes that for every couple that goes for a dark, hushed room another gets the fuse lit by an airy elegant space; and while oysters and chocolate are the de rigueur choices for friskiness, some have a shared affinity for anything but the expected. 

Ella Elli is a 75-seat restaurant dotted with sofas, two-person bar stools and alcoves seating for a sexy getaway from the bustling Southport Corridor. If you want to witness the physical incarnation of "connection," get to Artango  in Lincoln Square and feel the endorphins. Let's not forget about the animal magnetism of a nicely charred steak, either, whether a cowboy cut or a slab of cauliflower. Chicago has it all. 



Signature Room at the 95th


Like Geja's, it sits on most "most romantic" lists but there are good reasons. It's way up there (on the 95th floor of John Hancock Center), it's famous and the views are genuinely breathtaking. How's the food? The kitchen supplies refined...  Read More



It's not the whirlpool suite at the airport motel that was named the "Ultimate Romantic Dipping Place in North America" (by Food Network) - it's Geja's Café, the fondue sharing cavern that finds its way on many "romantic" lists from OpenTable...  Read More

Osteria Langhe
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Osteria Langhe


The casually romantic eatery serves truly authentic Italian food in the cozy dining area lined with white lights and candlelit tables. Best known for fresh pasta (which Chef Cameron Grant learned how to make in Langhe, Italy near the border of...  Read More



Artango Steakhouse and Bar exudes romance from the dimly lit, stunning atmosphere to its Argentinian chef-driven menu by Saul Roman. Located in historic Lincoln Square, the restaurant aims for a passionate, sensory experience through...  Read More

GT Prime
Photo courtesy of Boka Restaurant Group


GT Prime feels like a film set with details like a crystal chandelier and soft faux fur upholstered chairs. You wouldn't be surprised if Allie and Noah from The Notebook were seated next to you. Even the chef's name, Giuseppe Tentori, evokes...  Read More

Lake View
Ella Elli
Photo courtesy of Galdones Photography


After years of food trucks, fast-casual food halls, take-out and stand-up noshing, date night is back as evidenced by the raves elicited by the Lakeview sizzler, Ella Elli. Amid a chic 1920's inspired interior, couples choose among private...  Read More



Think beyond River North, Logan Square and Bucktown and fan the flames on the south side. The Promontory, located in Hyde Park, offers a sweet setup for snuggling and staying warm by the open hearth brick oven. Ask for seats at the chef's...  Read More



Everest is a romantic, high-end, French Country restaurant on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange building offering some breathtaking views of our gorgeous city. Acclaimed chef Jean Joho brings a taste of Alsace to the Midwest which...  Read More



One of the best parts of coupledom is feeling taken care of and Chef-owners Chris and Nina Nugent nourish guests through their creative cuisine and sincere hospitality. The seasonally driven multi-course tasting menu has French flair and the...  Read More

Gold Coast


Even when the temps outside hover in the single digits, it's tropical Southeast Asia in the 1920s inside the doors of Le Colonial, a French-Vietnamese gem on the Gold Coast. Ensconced in a lovely vintage rowhouse, the space is dressed in...  Read More


Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky