One specific place, however, can now claim a certain romantic distinction after Yelp recently ranked Penumbra Restaurant & Wine Bar in Logan Square as not just the most romantic restaurant in Chicago but rather the most romantic in the United States.
The Latin-inspired steakhouse was one of 4 Chicago joints to make the annual list of the “top 100 most romantic restaurants in the country.” According to Yelp, businesses in the restaurants and food categories were analyzed with a large concentration of reviews mentioning words and phrases such as “romantic,” “date night” and “Valentine”.
Once these user-generated reviews were aggregated restaurants were then ranked using several factors including the total volume and ratings of reviews mentioning those keywords while including a maximum of five businesses per city for geographic diversity.
Penumbra’s Latin influence comes from owner Rita Vargas who grew up in Ecuador. According to the Penumbra website, the dimly lit and intimate setting is inspired by Vargas growing up with a lack of electricity when she was young.
The space thus uses candles for light to create “a space of partial illumination” which is the meaning of the word Penumbra and hence also the inspiration for the restaurant’s name.
Ornate linen drapery juxtaposes the dim lighting to create a striking setting where American fare steaks and seafood with Latin-inspired flavors can be enjoyed.
Other Chicago establishments to make the list were upscale French-American steakhouse Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf in River North which was ranked twelfth most romantic in the country while Italian restaurant Ciccio Mio featured further down at number 52 followed by another River North spot, Il Porcellino at 57th.
[Featured image from Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf]