If you’re planning a special night out with the one you love or want to make a great impression on a first date, it’s important to choose a restaurant that offers a fun or classy atmosphere (or both!) and great food. Lucky for you, there’s tons of spots in Chicago that fit the bill for a memorable date night. To help you prepare, check out our list of romantic restaurants in Chicago.
1401 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610
This Italian restaurant is nothing short of lovely and is a great place to check out for date night. Sit in the main dining room, upstairs, or out on their covered patio. The lights are dim and you’ll feel comfortable the moment you walk in. Start your meal off with some of their many wonderful appetizers like warm bread, mussels, or the calamari. Be sure to get recommendations from your server on their wine selections. For dinner, the fumigato was just divine and so flavorful. Other great options include lasagna bolognese and peace bianco. Or you could try one of their specials of the night. Between the ambiance, flavor, and service Orso’s offers, we cannot say enough good things about this spot in Old Town.
2. Geja’s Cafe
340 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL
This restaurant has been called one of the most romantic restaurants in Chicago, particularly in the Lincoln Park area. This quaint eatery has been a city staple since 1965 and is famous for its delicious fondue. In addition to gruyere cheese fondues, you can also order dinner to enjoy a hearty meal at Geja’s Cafe that includes your choice of Australian lobster tail, white shrimp, beef tenderloin, boneless chicken breast, or roasted sea scallops. Meals are served with your choice of steamed veggies with a side of gourmet dipping sauces. They have plenty white and red wine options to choose from that complement sweet or savory fondues beautifully.
60 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL
The Chicago Chop House has an impressive menu and an elegant atmosphere making it the perfect place for a romantic date night. Start your meal with the Chop House signature crab cake served with remoulade sauce, the steak tartare with grain mustard, or the seafood tower with lobster, crab legs, tuna tartare, and oysters. They also have several delicious soups and salads to start your meal off. One of the most popular entrees here is the USDA Prime Rib Special which comes with au jus, horseradish cream, and your choice of garlic mashed potatoes or creamed corn. You can also enjoy the Colorado rack of lamb with mint jelly or chimichurri, or try the homemade fettuccine with white truffle oil.
4229 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL
This beautiful French restaurant is sure to impress your date whether it’s a first date or you’re celebrating a special occasion with your significant other. They have a rotating menu so you can enjoy a different entree each time you visit. Start off with one of their snacks or small plates, then for your entree enjoy something like duck confit or turbot. Finish it all off with a sweet pastry like the chocolate fondant lemon pasty cream tart. Robert Et Fils also has a wine club so you can sample a variety of wines that pair perfectly with your dinner each time you dine.
875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
This is the perfect spot to go if you are celebrating something big! This iconic Chicago restaurant is known for its incredible views of the whole city. Start your meal off with something from the raw bar or maybe some burrata or lobster bisque. For dinner, you have all kinds of wonderful land and sea options from roasted Alaskan halibut to roasted chicken and spice braised short ribs. Be sure to pair your meal with one of their specialty cocktails or a glass a red and you’re in for a treat.
2824 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Have you been longing for some good Italian food? Then you and your loved one need to visit Osteria Langhe. The restaurant is famous for its pasta, which Chef Cameron taught himself how to make in Italy. Some of their menu options include gnocchi and tortellini, but if you’re not sure what to get, they always a special of the day as well. Be sure to end the night with an eclair or some panna cotta. This spot will not disappoint!
180 N Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
Beatnik is decorated with Persian rugs, massive crystal chandeliers, a tiled bar that features Andalusian patterns, and Indonesian daybeds. All that to say, the atmosphere is on point. Oh, and we can’t forget to mention that it sits right on the river providing even more to the ambiance. The menu here is terrific incorporating flavors from all over. Take your pick from Moroccan, Israeli, Peruvian and even more flavors. They also offer a weekend brunch if that’s more your vibe. You and your date are sure to love everything Beatnik has to offer.
8. GT Prime
707 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654
A great steakhouse is truly hard to beat. Chef Giuseppe Tentori has created an incredible menu with only the best seasonal ingredients. Start off with a delicious cocktail or a glass of wine. Begin your meal with starters like French onion soup and roasted scallops. For dinner, the options are endless. They have several bone-in cut and wagyu options as well as the classic GT cuts. Or you could always go for a delicious pasta or fish dish. Between the atmosphere and the flavors, this spot is hard to beat.
1462 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615
Virtue is a lovely southern restaurant that is sure to impress. You and your date can get comfy in a booth or grab a seat at the bar. Start your meal off with some of their wonderful cornbread and honey butter or the green tomatoes. For dinner, choose from their large rations section with options like catfish, short ribs, salmon and shrimp and crawfish. If you need a taste of the south, Virtue is the way to go.
1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone-free, but can be reached at [email protected]
Any foodie in the Chicago area will be quick to recommend this place to anybody, whether they’re visiting the area or lifelong locals. Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas founded Alinea to challenge the parameters of food and redefine what the restaurant experience should entail. Through the cutting-edge process of molecular gastronomy, they offer a perpetually changing 16-18 course menu of dishes as bold as you can possibly imagine (we’d list a few, but part of the Alinea experience is going in cold). It’s expensive but you’re paying for more than just the food. Every dish is presented with the ceremony of a theatrical performance. There’s a reason Alinea is internationally renowned as well as a a must-go for any lovebirds in Chicago.
1028 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611
Gibson’s has been a Chicago icon since partners Hugo Ralli and Steve Lombardo opened its doors in May of 1989. It is the first steakhouse in the nation to be awarded its own USDA certification program, offering Gibson’s Prime Angus Beef along with locally-sourced fish, strong and tasty cocktails, an extensive wine list, and top-notch service. There’s fewer styles of restaurants more romantic than the steakhouse, and you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Make sure to indulge your sweet tooth after your meal with the carrot cake, which pairs perfectly with their espresso martini.
12. Piccolo Sogno
464 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60642
Piccolo Sogno, which means “little dream,” in Italian (a reference to owners Tony Priolo and Ciro Longobardo’s little dream to open a restaurant), features a charming menu of seasonal rustic Italian cuisine with a huge wine list with over 400 selections, hand-picked by Longobardo. There’s a wine for any dish you may want, from the pappardelle con cinghiale (wild boar ragu) to the rosticciana (braised beef short ribs). Sprinkle in some romance by sitting in the stunning garden or patio area (though you may want to wait for springtime for those seats).
13. Sunda Chicago
110 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654
The owners of Sunda Chicago were inspired by the Asian fusion of cultures found on the Sunda Shelf, where the cuisines of Japan, China, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines merged. The result is a refreshed take on classic and culturally-significant dishes that have been modernized by their ingredients, preparation, and presentation. This approach is abundantly clear when you scan the menu that has many familiar concepts presented in new and original ways. You and your plus-one will be fighting over the oxtail potstickers filled with braised oxtail meat, caramelized onion jus, and served with white wasabi cream. You may love each other, but you’ll love the lemongrass beef lollipops even more.
For more recommendations on where to eat and drink in the city, check out our Chicago page, here!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on May 2, 2021, and last updated on January 12, 2023. Please refer to restaurant websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information.