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The 12 Best Restaurants in Chicago for a Romantic Date Night

When the calendar strikes February, and everywhere you turn there are cut-out hearts and teddy bears, it means it’s time to up your date game. Whether it’s for that special holiday or just because, dinner at a romantic restaurant is guaranteed to please.

What makes for a good date spot? A few things, actually: Dim lighting, cozy booths, maybe a dish to share for two. But most importantly, a good date spot should be memorable, and that means top-notch food, impressive beverages, and stellar service.

Chicago has plenty of options when it comes to where to go on your next date, whether you are looking for a casual evening of quiet conversation or a show-stopping display of culinary wooing. Go ahead and put down that heart-shaped box of chocolate.

A photo of Otlogo
Sarah Freeman
12 Restaurants
Updated January 20, 2022
Restaurants:Ada Street, Alla Vita, Brindille
Price Range:$$$ - $$$$
Cuisines:American, Contemporary Italian, French
Neighborhoods:Bucktown / Wicker Park, West Loop, River North (Chicago)
A photo of Ada Street restaurant

Ada Street

$$$$
American
Bucktown / Wicker Park
4.9
763 reviews

Secluded, no-frills, plenty of moody candlelight — off-the-beaten-path Ada Street offers an ideal recipe for date night. It’s a neighborhood gem with sexy undertones, in the form of tender lamb ribs with crispy garlic and fluffy brioche doughnuts for dessert. Make an evening out of it with a show at nearby The Hideout.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Alla Vita restaurant

Alla Vita

$$$$
Contemporary Italian
West Loop
4.8
752 reviews

The newest jewel in the BOKA Group (BOKA, Girl & the Goat, Momotaro) crown is an Italian masterpiece in the West Loop. Chef Lee Wolen has designed a shareable menu that can be dressed up or down, depending on your mood. Looking to spurge? Order the Kanpachi crudo and Alba white truffle tagliolini. Keeping it casual? There’s a pizza for that.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Brindille restaurant

Brindille

$$$$
French
River North (Chicago)
4.7
986 reviews

Fancy and French almost always go hand-in-hand, but Brindille takes upscale French to a new level with its sleek and sophisticated dining room. James Beard Award-winning chef Carrie Nahabedian offers an assortment of classics — from Dover Sole meunière to lacquered aged duck breast — served alongside a wine list that spans all the regions of France. The most difficult decision you’ll have to make all night will be whether to start with oysters or caviar. But this is a romantic occasion, so why not both?


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Duck Inn restaurant

Duck Inn

$$$$
American
Bridgeport
4.9
1571 reviews

If ’70s vibes in Bridgeport is your idea of a fun date night, look no further than The Duck Inn. Chef Kevin Hickey’s tribute to his hometown captures the charm of this historic neighborhood with a playful mix of bar fare and gourmet offerings. Enjoy fried cheese curds and cider-braised pork belly in the former home of a 100-year-old pre-prohibition tavern.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Ema restaurant

Ema

$$$$
Mediterranean
River North (Chicago)
4.7
3416 reviews

There’s something inherently sexy about Mediterranean cuisine. Maybe it’s all the dips, and honey, and hunks of seared meat. Chef CJ Jacobson’s take on Mediterranean-meets-California cuisine doesn’t skimp on any of these. At the airy River North restaurant you can start with housemade stracciatella before moving on to hummus with lamb ragu and honey pie. There’s also an extensive wine list with an emphasis on Greek and Italian wines by the glass.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of El Che Steakhouse & Bar restaurant

El Che Steakhouse & Bar

$$$$
Steakhouse
West Loop
4.7
1186 reviews

Dinner and a show is on the menu at chef John Manio’s El Che Steakhouse & Bar, where your dry-aged ribeye is cooked on a custom 12-foot grill in the open kitchen. Take date night’s heat up a notch by watching the flames fly from a safe distance while sipping on a South American red wine.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Geja's Cafe restaurant

Geja's Cafe

$$$$
Fondue
Lincoln Park
4.8
4771 reviews

For those who subscribe to the school of thought that the best date nights are slathered in cheese, then you’re probably already familiar with Geja’s Cafe. For those who are not, the old-school fondue parlor has been serving its signature fondue dinners — that’s Swiss Gruyere cheese fondue served with bread, vegetables, and fruits — for half a century.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Gibsons Italia restaurant

Gibsons Italia

$$$$
Steakhouse
River North (Chicago)
4.8
1959 reviews

Does Gibson’s Italia have a 20-page wine list, truffle lasagna, and massive platters of Alaskan King crab? Yes — and it’s all great — but what really wows are the views. Overlooking the Chicago River flanked by skyscrapers, this “modern steakhouse with an Italian accent” is a stunning setting for dinner for two. The only thing that could rival this view is a diamond.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Kumiko restaurant

Kumiko

$$$$
Dining Bar
West Loop
4.8
367 reviews

There are cocktail bars, and then there are serious cocktail bars. Kumiko falls into the latter category. A “Japanese dining bar” by mixologist Julia Momosé, Kumiko is all about attention to details — in which drink lovers will delight — from the hand-carved ice to the delicate glassware. The food menu takes a nod from Japanese cuisine, with offerings such as the Wagyu katsu sando and toasted koji ice cream. Kumiko is the ultimate drinks date spot.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Le Bouchon - Chicago restaurant

Le Bouchon - Chicago

$$$$
French
Bucktown / Wicker Park
4.8
1353 reviews

Whether you are splitting a whole roasted duck for two or just digging into some of the best French onion soup in town, Le Bouchon knows how to make its diners feel special. The Bucktown restaurant has been serving French classics since 1993 alongside an extensive French wine list, and it all adds up to classic French romance.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Rose Mary restaurant

Rose Mary

$$$$
Croatian
West Loop
4.8
1474 reviews

There are likely many perks that come with winning a season of Top Chef, and one of them has to be opening the restaurant of your dreams. Chef Joe Flamm did just that in 2021 when he opened Rose Mary in the West Loop. The restaurant pays homage to his Italian heritage and his wife’s native country of Croatia, translating to dishes such as beef burek, a flaky pastry filled with meat and cheese.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Sepia restaurant

Sepia

$$$$
Contemporary American
West Loop
4.8
4404 reviews

One of the go-to fancy date night spots in Chicago has earned its reputation. Chef Andrew Zimmerman’s menu of contemporary American cuisine is stunning without being stuffy. Start with crab chawanmushi étoufée before diving into venison shabu-shabu or steelhead trout en croûte.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

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