12 romantic restaurants in Chicago for the best date night

Published by: BouncePosted
Romantic restaurants in Chicago

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, or a highly-anticipated first time out together, you always want to impress that special someone with a thoughtful and romantic date night. Chicago’s sneaky great food scene has a little bit of everything. There's superb Mexican and Asian cuisine, iconic street food like hotdogs, epic breweries, and everything in between. What it also has are some of the most romantic restaurants in the country. 

It’s hard to quantify what constitutes a romantic restaurant. It doesn’t necessarily mean the restaurant features hearts and red lighting everywhere. It’s about ambiance, a certain type of cuisine and cocktails, and how it sets a couple up to enjoy each other’s company. However you define it, Chicago has many options for the perfect date night. One way to ensure a successful date night is to find convenient Bounce luggage storage around the city so you won't have to worry about the bags when you're heading to dinner.

Here are the best romantic restaurants in Chicago: 

Chicago's romantic restaurants

3 Arts Club Cafe

Romantic restaurants are rarely located in stores, but most stores aren’t nearly as fashionable as Restoration Hardware. This upscale home goods store is outfitted with one of the best restaurants in Chicago for a romantic date night. 3 Arts Club Cafe has been a go-to destination for couples looking to celebrate a special occasion. 

With an outdoor patio shaded by trees and an elegant atmosphere, this is one of the top romantic restaurants for a reason. Their brunch crowds are also famously huge, but the space turns more intimate when the sun goes down. This is a tough table to get. Do yourself a favor and make a reservation well ahead of time. Also, remember to dress like you shop at high-end furniture stores.

Our recommendation:

Expect elevated American food prepared and presented well. The seasonal menu changes often, but there is always a solid seafood option. This is a great spot for exploring a wine menu and maybe treating you and your date to a splashy bottle of wine. 

Location: 

1300 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60610

Price:

$$

avec

Mediterranean food has always translated well to romantic dinners, and this Chicago institution has been one of the top restaurants for date night for almost a decade. Both locations, River North and West Loop are prime spots for impressing a date. With a gorgeous dining room, avec River North is set up perfectly for intimate meals. If the weather is right, try to grab a table on their rooftop patio. The West Loop location is a little more high energy, with a trendy, minimalist interior, but the atmosphere still translates well to date night. 

Make a reservation weeks or even months in advance because these restaurants are popular not only with Chicagoans but as dining destinations for visiting foodies. 

Our recommendation:

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, treat yourself to the tasting menu. Everything on the Mediterranean-inspired menu is excellent.

Location:

River North: 141 W Erie St, Chicago, IL 60654

West Loop: 615 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661

Price:

$$$

Cozy date night spots in Chicago

Bavette’s Bar 

One of the most romantic restaurants in Chicago also happens to be one of the best steakhouses in the city. With an elegant dining room and imaginative a la carte menu, Bavette’s is much better suited as a date spot than classic “carnivore man cave” steakhouses. The ambiance is all class, with luxurious decor, mood lighting, and jazz music. 

If you’re hoping to get a table, book weeks or months in advance. With a high-end price point and stellar atmosphere, you’ll also want to dress the part when dining here. 

Our recommendation:

If you’re going to go big, go really big at Bavette’s by splitting the seafood tower to start. Make sure to wash it down with one of their signature cocktails. If you’re planning on sharing entrees, you cannot go wrong with their famous steak frites. Well, the only way you can go wrong is if you start fighting your date for the last few bites. 

Location: 

218 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654

Price level:

$$$$

Bistro Campagne

With a cozy dining room perfect for intimate dinners, and a leafy patio with outdoor seating for soaking up summer, Bistro Campagne is the ideal date night restaurant. The menu features modern takes on French classics, which are simple but perfectly executed. The ambiance is upscale but approachable, and the prices are reasonable, given the quality. While it’s popular, it’s not out of the question that you can find a last-minute table at Bistro Campagne.

Our recommendation:

Their French onion soup is easily the most popular dish on the menu for a reason. If you’re doing Bistro Campagne for Valentine’s Day, this is a great way to warm up during a wintry Chicago evening. It may seem a little obvious, but the steak frites are certainly worth splitting. 

Location: 

4518 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Price level:

$$

BLVD Steakhouse

This West Loop steakhouse boasts a classically beautiful dining room and a luxurious fine dining menu for an indulgent date night. Inspired by the Golden Age of Hollywood, this place will make you feel like a million bucks. 

With intimate seating and a dimly-lit dining room, BLVD Steakhouse was practically designed for date night. Reservations are recommended, as walk-ins are rarely accommodated, and there isn’t a bar area with seating. 

Our recommendation:

Carnivores love this place for a reason. Dry aged steak is their specialty here, but steakhouse favorites like foie gras, lobster, caviar, and truffles added to basically everything complete the opulent menu. With a slightly reasonable price point, this is one of the most doable romantic restaurants in Chicago for really treating yourself. 

Location: 

817 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60607

Price level:

$$$

Romantic Chinese restaurants in Chicago

Boka Restaurant Group - Lincoln Park

This restaurant group has an outsized presence among Chicago’s romantic dining establishments, but its stellar reputation is well-deserved. With high-end American cuisine presented in a sleek dining room, Boka’s location in Lincoln Park is the perfect destination for a romantic evening. Just remember to make a reservation. Otherwise, you’ll be exploring some of the neighborhood's more casual eateries.

Our recommendation:

The best thing on the menu is the roasted dry-aged duck. There are other sleek American favorites on the menu and a decent steak or two, but this is the best option to share with your date. 

Location: 

1729 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Price level:

$$$

Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar

One of the best date night restaurants in trendy Logan Square is Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar, from the executive chef of epic fine-dining institution Giant. The concept is simple: upscale versions of classic Chinese food. Their a la carte menu of Chinese comfort food is packed with flavor, with spicy Dan Dan Noodles, fiery Szechuan peppercorn crispy chicken, and garlicky wontons. 

While their outdoor patio is buzzing, the interior design of Chef’s Special is what makes their dining room so romantic. Minimalist features, highlighted with bright pink and mood lighting, give it an intimate atmosphere, which is ideal for date night in one of the country’s hottest neighborhoods. They have walk-in availability, but reserving ahead of time will take the guesswork out of the evening. 

Our recommendation:

While Chef’s Special makes for a fun night out, their tasty food is both highly spicy and filling. So it might be better for someone you’re more familiar with than a first date. 

Location: 

2165 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Price level:

$$

Romantic spots for date night in Chicago

North Pond

A top romantic restaurant tends to have a charming location where you and your date are transported somewhere magical. North Pond is literally located in Lincoln Park, just steps away from the Lincoln Park Zoo. This stylish bistro has been Chicago’s go-to for celebrating special occasions for decades, as well as romantic date nights. 

Their stylish modern American food translates well to brunch, and their prix fixe menu is highly popular. An a la carte approach is perfect for dinner, especially for sharing. Everything is farm-to-table, so expect seasonal dishes made with fresh ingredients. 

Our recommendation:

During the summer, make a reservation on their outdoor patio. If you’re planning for Valentine's Day, make an earlier reservation so you can take a brief stroll through Lincoln Park's gorgeous snowy winter wonderland. You can even rent ice skates at the pond nearby so you can either make a fool of yourself or impress your date with your skills. 

Location: 

2610 N Cannon Dr, Chicago, IL 60614

Price level:

$$$$

Piccolo Sogno

This traditional Italian trattoria is perfect for a romantic date night. There’s an intimate garden patio for dining al fresco. It’s a leafy space with smaller tables that tends to be filled up with couples celebrating a special occasion. Their outdoor dining room is a lovely slice of heaven that’s well-insulated from Piccolo Sogno's bustling River West location. It’s well worth planning ahead of time to reserve a table. If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day during the frigid Chicago winter, their main dining room is perfectly charming. 

Our recommendation:

Rustic comfort food is Piccolo Sogno’s specialty, which explains its durable popularity over the years. Wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza is a go-to. One of their best features for a romantic date night is the wine pairings. 

Location: 

464 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60642

Price level:

$$$

Porto

With only a few years under its belt and already a Michelin Star, Porto has rather quickly turned into one of Chicago’s best and most romantic restaurants. Porto’s dimly lit dining room and lounge set the perfect mood for a romantic date night. Porto also specializes in one of the more romantic cuisines possible: Spanish food. Using a wood-burning grill, the chefs at Porto serve up some of the most delicious seafood and vegetable dishes in Chicago. There are also incredible small plates and cheese boards for sharing. 

Porto is incredibly popular, so reservations are all but required to get a table. The clientele is well-dressed but hip. 

Our recommendation:

Situated in the uber-trendy East Village neighborhood, Porto is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner because there are plenty of great bars to grab a drink at after your meal. There are dozens of cocktail lounges, breweries, and even dive bars that would be fun for a nightcap. 

Location: 

1600 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Price level:

$$$

Romantic outdoor dining in Chicago

Sepia

The best date night restaurants in Chicago tend to be located in high-end neighborhoods and based on upselling tactics like wine pairings and chef's dinners. Sepia does everything you need in order to have a wonderful date, with none of the gimmicks. Even with the price point, this is a straightforward restaurant. No tasting menu, no elaborate pairings or themed nights, just an amazing restaurant serving refined French and American classics. Set in a repurposed print shop, like every other restaurant in the industrial-chic West Loop, Sepia’s trendy dining room is the perfect place to bring a date. Just remember to make a reservation.

Our recommendation:

The country-fried truffle chicken is a delightfully indulgent dish that tends to get photographed and posted on Instagram every time someone orders it. But it’s popular for a reason. If you feel comfortable being put into a food coma in front of your date, order this dish. 

Location: 

Address: 123 N Jefferson St, Chicago, IL 60661

Price level:

$$$

S.K.Y.

Pilsen is widely considered Chicago’s coolest neighborhood, and for good reason. Every week it seems like a new restaurant or bar opens up along 18th street, but there are a few mainstays that helped put this neighborhood on the map. S.K.Y. brought an elevated American bar food menu to the taco capital of Chicago and has been filling its intimate, sleek dining room with couples looking for a fun night out ever since. 

Reservations are recommended if you’re heading to Pilsen on Friday or Saturday, but you can say that about basically every other restaurant on this buzzy street. The dress is casual and hip. 

Our recommendation:

Everything on the menu is intended to be shared, but make sure to order some appetizers. The lobster dumplings and black truffle and cheddar croquettes are the most popular snacks on the menu. 

Location: 

1239 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Price level:

$$$

Most romantic restaurants in Chicago

Conclusion

While these are some of your best options for the perfect date night, if you’re with the right person, anywhere will do. But it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead, find a place with delicious food and the perfect setup, and make that reservation. Whether it’s one of Chicago’s many amazing rooftop bars, steakhouses, or even a Chinese restaurant, being thoughtful about where you take your date is important. And if you haven't thought to plan ahead, the city's fantastic street food is always accessible. The best romantic restaurants in Chicago are both charming, have great food, and set a mood. First and foremost, they’re fun. Fortunately, Windy City has plenty of great options for a romantic date night. 

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