What's your idea of romance? If it includes candlelight, curtained booths, and live guitarists strumming flamenco on their nylon strings, you've likely already spent a night at Geja's Cafe, named #1 of USA Today's most romantic restaurants. If you haven't, picture an intimate fondue restaurant with all the ambiance of a Spanish hideaway—right down to the vintage wine bottles lining the walls. This setting could only be Geja's, a Lincoln Park institution that has traded in melted cheese and melted hearts since 1965. Here's a look at the key elements that keep couples coming back to Geja's for more.
A half-century of memories fills this softly lit eatery on Armitage Avenue. (The restaurant was originally located on Wells Street, then moved to its current home in 1971.) Geja's has played host to literally thousands of marriage proposals over the years, earning it an enduring reputation as one of Chicago's most romantic restaurants. The staff doesn't forget these future brides and grooms, either. In 2010, when Geja's marked its own 45-year anniversary, approximately 35 of these couples returned to the restaurant for a celebration—and around 20 of them renewed their vows out on the patio.
Fine Fondue Dining.
The signature Geja's experience is the four-course Premier Dinner. To start the meal, servers fire up a cast-iron pot filled with brandy-spiked Swiss gruyere, into which diners then dip fruits and breads. A crisp green salad with dijon vinaigrette cleanses the palate for the main course: veggies and your choice of meat—perhaps lobster tail or chicken breast—cooked in sizzling vegetable oil or broth. The communal meal closes with a dessert of pound cake, marshmallows, and fruit dipped in flaming belgian chocolate.
International Wine List.
Geja's Cafe has specialized in wine since opening in the mid-1960s. In fact, the restaurant claims to be the oldest wine bar in the city, and this legacy is written all over the current wine list. Servers will recommend the perfect white, red, or crisp sparkling varietal to accompany your meal; Geja's also works with the San Antonio Winery to produce its own private-label chardonnay, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon.
Explore Lincoln Park
Groupon has partnered with the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce to curate a deal collection that embodies the spirit of this iconic Chicago neighborhood. From candlelit dinners at Geja’s to chasing butterflies at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, these are some of the city’s most essential destinations. Shop the full collection