Inside a thoughtfully segmented space designed by Jeffrey Beers (a former architect with I.M. Pei’s firm), diners peruse a menu of Asian-influenced meals intended to be shared, including slices of new-york strip served sizzling on hot rocks. Outside, companions sip sake or wine on a candlelit patio that overlooks the Chicago River.
Behind Jane’s blue-brick storefront sit two very different dining rooms. The main room’s beams and brick evoke a lodge feel; in the White Room, the glow of chandeliers and votives glints off a Calcutta marble bar.
After picking up their favorite bottle, couples tuck into a cozy dining room built entirely from vintage and repurposed materials. In the kitchen, chef Edward Kim plays love 'em and leave 'em, producing dishes that rotate with the seasons. He has attracted a host of suitors, including GQ, which named Ruxbin one of their 10 Best New American Restaurants for 2012.
Any restaurant that has an entire page on their website devoted to couples who have gotten engaged there must know romance. Since its opening nearly 50 years ago, lovebirds have nested in this Old World-style cafe, where they navigate four-course fondue dinners and a lengthy list of international wines.
The lovely younger sister of Gilt Bar, Maude’s evokes a Parisian vibe with a menu self-described as “sexy with playful twinges.” The fresh oysters and dozen champagnes are perhaps best enjoyed on the low-lit second floor, where chandeliers, candlelight, and exposed-brick walls create an air of Belle Époque elegance.
Inside this subterranean den, crystals drip from shaded chandeliers and velvet chairs easily slide together to create cushy loveseats. The Drawing Room invites guests to sip small-batch liquors at the bar or explore the seasonal menu as mixologists brew love potions tableside.
Nothing sets a scene quite like music. At Sabatino’s, violinists stroll around tables playing sentimental tunes, ceding the floor to a house piano player on weekends. Couples can share entrees such as the steak Diane for two, which comes with a sauce that’s prepared tableside.
After couples slip through this speakeasy’s inconspicuous entrance, they’re seated at small tables where curtains or high-backed chairs create a sense of seclusion. Plush drapes flirt with honeyed wood floors, separating rooms where companions share gougères or sip craft cocktails such as the Juliet and Romeo, a refreshing blend of gin, mint, and rosewater.
Whether sampling the raw bar’s spicy oysters and Black River Russian caviar or crossing forks over plates of lamb loin with smoked maple syrup, couples sip one of nearly 200 champagnes. The mostly French selection also features sparkling wines and prosecco, which bubble in glasses as a live jazz trio heightens the ambience.
Deal or no deal, our editors strongly recommend these businesses based on their reputation, popularity, and quality of service.