We can guarantee Chicago romantic restaurants will be at the front and center of your intermittent thoughts. As Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, there can be immense pressure to plan the most intimate and idyllic night for your person. However, lucky for you, Chicago is brimming with beautiful restaurants, hidden gems, and candle-lit alluring spots. We’ve rounded up the most romantic spots in Chicago that are perfect for a first date, a birthday, an anniversary–basically any outing.
1. Gejas Cafe, a handsy fondue dinner date experience
The way to describe Gejas Cafe is the explosions of butterflies when you first start seeing someone. The second you walk in, you’re greeted with a warm and cozy restaurant that melts the aromas of hot oil and fondue together. The candle-lit dining room and live Flamenco guitar strings will make your evening intimate. No matter how many people are sprawled across the place, it’s just the two of you.
As you laugh and converse with your date, you’ll get handsy as you dip assorted vegetables and fruits into a creamy Gruyere and various meats and seafood into the flaming oil. It’s not until they bring out the pot of Belgian chocolate that you’ll be checking your phone for the next date reservation.
2. North Pond, a unique location that seeps romance
At the end of Lincoln Park, North Pond is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd’s organic architecture—the restaurant harmonizes with its environment. It’s surrounded by luscious greenery and the humming of birds nearby, making it a picturesque place for dining.
Inside, rustic exposed brick lines the wall intertwined with views of the twinkling Chicago skyline, making it one of the most romantic restaurants in Chicago. The dining options feature a four-course tasting menu for dinner and a three-course prix fixe menu for Sunday brunch.
3. Adalina, a romantic dim-lit evening
This upscale Italian restaurant in Chicago is on the edge of the Gold Coast—the allure of Adalina begins at the grand entrance that leads you up a circular staircase into the modern yet decadent dining room.
The dimly lit room exudes sultriness with plush velvet seating and candles on every table. The sophisticated menu is filled with handmade pasta, hand-selected beef, and a curated selection of meats and cheese.
4. Gibson Italia, a gorgeous riverside dining spot
This is a stunning romantic spot if you’re in the mood for an elegant riverside dining experience. At Gibson Italia, you’ll ride an elevator to a high point of the tower, where you’ll be floating on the edge of the river.
Even better than the warm and inviting restaurant, the chef-driven menu is inspired by Italian cuisine paired with a superior steakhouse meat selection. From splitting a seafood tower to the pasta dishes to a medium-rare filet, head to Gibson’s for a romantic dinner.
5. Virtue, a Southern American warm and cozy restaurant
Virtue feels warm and affable and provides the intricacy of Southern hospitality. With earth-tone colors, wooden elements, rustic accessories, industrial lights, and flowers lightly tossed throughout, it’s a special place for dinner at dusk in Chicago.
The menu comprises Southern delicacies conceptualized by award-winning Chef Erik Williams and recent James Beard-winner Chef Damarr Brown. Items you should split with your partner include Gizzards, Blackened Catfish, Collards & Smoked Turkey.
6. BLVD Steakhouse, a sultry Old-Hollywood spot
The BLVD steakhouse radiates Old Hollywood glamour—unbridled decadence, grand chandeliers suspended above ornate velvet seating, and a taupe, plum, and camel-hued interior coat. Its seductive ambiance makes it one of the highly sought-after places to have Valentine’s Day dinner in Chicago.
Whether you want Risotto Milanese, pan-seared Halibut, or a steak from the Butcher’s Block, you’ll be satisfied.
What distinguishes Nisos from any other establishment is there are three separate dining experiences—all under one roof. Start your night sipping drinks at the Lounge—a warm and cozy speakeasy.
Then head over to the Mediterranean steakhouse Nisos Prime—from a tableside prosciutto cart that rolls over to your tableside to coastal sumptuous menu items like Calabrian-butter poached King crab, you’ll be wide night. End your night by grabbing dessert drinks with your partner downstairs at the bar, which will leave them drowned in romanticism after you leave.
8. Alla Vita, a sensual Italian escape
Entering the restaurant, you’ll walk across hand-painted flowers decorating wooden floors throughout the venue. The elegant indoor-outdoor aesthetics may not be the most prominent pulling factor, but the warm atmosphere will make you confident to side-sit your partner.
With a verdant interior, suspended strings, and aromas from the wood-burning oven, Alla Vita offers a romantic evening entangled with divine Italian cuisine.
9. Sushi Suite 202, a romantic omakase experience
At this intriguing omakase extravaganza in Hotel Lincoln, the concierge will hand you the key to an exclusive dining suite where you’ll settle into a warm and cozy 500-square-foot space that echoes a delicate Japanese interior with a six-seat stone cocktail bar. The 17-course will keep you on your toes, and your partner will ask how you found the spot.
10. A tavola, a picturesque hidden gem
If you’re looking for a romantic restaurant in Chicago that also happens to create divine gnocchi—this is the place. Tavola is a secluded spot in West Town that reminds you of a celebrity’s elegant Manhattan brownstone. You’ll probably be unaware of the restaurant altogether if you’re not carefully examining it.
However, once you’re inside, the fragrance of the small, seasonal menu of Italian fare will greet you, from the portobello mushroom to the short rib to the notable Gnocchi. This hidden gem is something quite different from most Chicago restaurants—the quiet, romantic, and thoughtful charm.