Fondue is a ubiquitous staple of Swiss culture, matched only by neutrality, multiuse pocketknives, and the world’s most easy-to-draw cheese. Go for a dip with this Groupon.
$30 for a value toward two 4-course premier fondue dinners and beverages
- Valid for $70 toward two premier fondue dinners and beverages on Monday–Thursday
- Valid for $60 toward two premier fondue dinners and beverages on Friday–Sunday
Imagine: it's a wintry night in Lincoln Park. You're crossing the bridge over South Pond, the downtown skyline shimmering to your left, the zoo's holiday lights twinkling to your right. It's undoubtedly romantic, but, in true Chicago fashion, it's also really cold. Luckily, just beyond the groves of snow-laden trees, lies Geja's Cafe, a cozy fondue spot perpetually adored as one of Chicago's most romantic restaurants.
Looking back on Geja's nearly 50-year history, there is perhaps one story that crystallizes this reputation better than most. Owner John Davis once told the Chicago Tribune about a couple from Minnesota who traveled to Geja's for their first date, their engagement, their rehearsal dinner, and to celebrate the birth of their first baby. Small children aren't permitted inside—because of the hot fondue pots—so they jokingly asked if they could leave their baby at the coat check. The new mother working the counter happily obliged.
This anecdote lays out the qualities that have helped Geja's endure for a half-century as one of the city's most beloved dining institutions. Here's a closer look at those characteristics, starting, of course, with the ambience.
Geja's has an entire page on its website devoted to couples who have gotten engaged there. Proposers can call ahead to have management help with arrangements, or they can just let the low lighting, flickering candles, and curtained-off tables set the scene.
Geja's three-course fondue dinners make for an incredibly memorable meal. Servers fire up a cast-iron pot for each stage—first with brandy-spiked gruyere for dipping fruits and breads, then with soybean oil for cooking veggies and a choice of meats, and lastly with flaming chocolate for torching marshmallows and embarrassing diary entries.
"You get a feel of serenity when you walk in," Janice Koch, longtime neighbor of the restaurant once told the Tribune. "You're not rushed or pushed. It's all just... consistent." Guests are free to navigate meals at their own pace, also taking time to enjoy the extensive wine list (which includes three private-label varietals) and live flamenco guitar.
What some people are buzzing about:
“Great place!!! Make a reservation well ahead of time... the book up FAST.”
“Excellent service, romantic setting & great food. All around fantastic experience.”
“Nice, Calm, Romantic for Couples to share their cooking pots.”
340 West Armitage Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614