Chicago Romantic Restaurants
10 Places to Take a Date

Back when the poet Carl Sandburg wrote of Chicago as the “Hog Butcher for the World,” he could hardly have imagined the gritty city of his youth evolving into one of the Midwest’s most romantic destinations. Yet with every first kiss on the cleaned-up Riverwalk or marriage proposal in front of Millennium Park’s Bean, it becomes more apparent that Chicago has come a long way. The same can be said for its restaurants, which go beyond the traditional candlelight, flowers, and lengthy wine list to set the right mood.
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Goose Island: International Allure

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.

Near North Side: From Russia (and France) With Love

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.

Bucktown: Contemporary Comfort Food

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.

Northwest Side: Michelin-Rated BYOB

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.

Robin R.  ✓ Verified
Really delicious food, great service, great atmosphere. Perfect for a date or a celebration
Nora N.  ✓ Verified
This place is all around AMAZING!!! My significant other and I go at least once a month! Great food, service, and the ambiance in impeccable! I reccommend this to everyone!!!!

West Town: Amour Fou

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.

Near North Side: Subterranean Cocktail Lounge

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.

Old Irving Park: Old-School Italian

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.

Wicker Park: Clandestine Cocktails

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.