Chicago City Guide

13 Most Romantic Restaurants in Chicago for 2023

Published on February 8, 2023 | 0 Comments
most romantic restaurants in chicago

If you are looking for a romantic restaurant in Chicago, the options are endless. From delicate little bistros to large and architecturally impressive eateries, the Windy City has something for every couple.

The perfect romantic restaurant involves a lot of considerations. Décor and ambiance, privacy for canoodling and conversation, delicious and decadent menus and general atmosphere all make or break restaurants as romantic destinations. Whether you are on your first date or your thousandth with your love, restaurants in Chicago offer a wealth of romantic possibilities just right for you. 


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Find the Most Romantic Restaurants in Chicago

Finding the perfect venue and menu for your romantic dinner in Chicago can be a challenge. An easy way to get a sampling of local cuisine is to take advantage of some of the great food tours in Chicago, which take you on a voyage through a number of different neighborhoods, cuisines and eateries all over the city. Whether you are prepping for your special outing or turning your tour into a fun and engaging date night all on its own, they offer a dynamic way to sample various places for both atmosphere and food. 

13 Most Romantic Restaurants in Chicago

1. North Pond

This favorite romantic restaurant in Chicago is as beautiful outside as in. North Pond is a stunner, often making lists of favorite Lincoln Park restaurants. Perched at the end of the North Pond, it has huge panoramic vistas of the skyline, making it one of the best romantic restaurants in Chicago with a view. This small, intimate building was originally built as an early 20th-century shelter for ice skaters. 

The Vibe

The Arts and Crafts style architecture of the building gives way to a quiet, wood-paneled interior with echoes of Frank Lloyd Wright. The feel is formal, yet cozy, with wide doors that open in the summer and allow in the light during daylight hours, when you can admire the lush surrounding park area and wildlife. 

What to Order

This Michelin-starred menu offers a prix fixe option that includes seasonal fare that mixes delicious, yet unexpected flavors, such as the rabbit pierogi and the cherry poussin. For dessert, try the unique chocolate beet cake.

North Pond | 2010 N Cannon Dr., Chicago, IL 60614 | $$$$

north pond is one of the most romantic restaurants in chicago
via North Pond

2. Calo Ristorante

This Andersonville institution has been open since 1963 and is family owned and operated. A great option for a romantic restaurant in Chicago, Calo serves a large menu of old-world Italian dishes, including pasta of all varieties and artisan-inspired pizzas.

The Vibe

This darkly lit romantic interior features exposed brick, a huge mahogany bar and painted murals of Italian scenes. The feel is upscale but casual, making it perfect for one-on-one dining or cocktails at the bar. 

What to Order

The handmade pasta is the star at Calo, with much praise for dishes like the chicken parmigiana, wild mushroom ravioli and lasagna — but it also has great steak and seafood selections. Top off the meal with some excellent tiramisu. 

Calo Ristorante | 5343 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640 | $$

seafood linguine from calo ristorante
via Calo Ristorante

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3. Geja’s

At the top of everyone’s list of most romantic restaurants in Chicago is this Lincoln Park favorite, open for over 50 years. Geja’s offers a year-round menu of fondue creations, including appetizers, a main course and a chocolatey dessert fondue. 

The Vibe 

Geja’s seeps romance with an intimate candle-lit interior, draped booths, a fireplace, ample stained glass fixtures and soft flamenco music throughout. There is also a great menu-matching wine selection to accompany your meal. 

What to Order 

The menu features a Gruyere fondue first course with bread, vegetables and fruit that gives way to a more customizable main course with beef, lamb, seafood or chicken with an assortment of oils and sauces for dipping. The dining experience ends with Belgian chocolate fondue with fruit, marshmallows and other sweet treats.

Geja’s Cafe | 340 W Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60614 | $$$

geja's is one of the most romantic restaurants in chicago
via Geja’s Cafe

4. Gilt Bar

Like its name suggests, this Chicago romantic restaurant is all about shimmer and glamor. While the entire eatery boasts a cool vintage speakeasy vibe, Gilt Bar also hosts a real secret speakeasy bar and lounge, the Library, tucked downstairs.

The Vibe

Filled with velvet, chandeliers, antique art and richly paneled walls, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back at least a hundred years. Soft jazz accents, lush leather booths and upholstered walls offer privacy and romance.

What to Order 

The menu is eclectic as the décor, with a unique selection of cocktails to start or finish off the night, including a much-recommended espresso martini. Fan-favorite dishes include the truffle bucatini, steamed sussels and the vodka rigatoni. For dessert, try a slice of carrot cake.

Gilt Bar | 230 W Kinzie St., Chicago, IL 60654 | $$$

gilt bar is one of the most romantic restaurants in chicago
via Gilt Bar

5. Adalina

Regularly praised on lists of the best Italian restaurants in Chicago, this Gold Coast eatery is a posh delight that offers a modern take on traditional Italian cuisine.

The Vibe 

The interior of Adalina is Art-Deco inspired, with a modern, yet ageless feel tricked out in luxurious touches like floral murals, sculptural glass chandeliers and velvet seating. It also features a speakeasy-inspired bar within the bar, the Rose Lounge, perfect for trying some of their classic cocktails. 

What to Order 

Diners recommend the charred octopus, the gnocco fritto and the veal chop parmesan. The Pesto Not Pesto campanelle is a perennial favorite and is described by many as Chicago bucket list-worthy. For dessert, order the hazelnut mousse tart or the spiced pomegranate orange sorbet.

Adalina | 912 N State St., Chicago, IL 60610 | $$$

adalina restaurant dining room in chicago
via Adalina

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6. Beatnik West Town

A second location for the popular riverfront eatery, this spot a bit further west is slightly more romantic vs. the funkier decor of its sibling. Named after the free-spirited 1950s and 1960s artists and intellectuals, the West Town location mixes a global fusion menu with an eclectic and global interior.

The Vibe 

Beatnik West Town mixes Moroccan elegance with a green Balinese vibe, including its centerpiece and a large 1908 cabinet in Balinese wood. Vintage art, antiques and tapestries give the eatery a distinct style, while the low-lit ambiance of Moroccan lanterns and candles exudes romance. 

What to Order

The global-inspired menu offers a wealth of unique flavors and combinations drawn from Middle Eastern, Asian, South American and Spanish cuisine. Diners recommend the curry meatballs and the smoked baba ganoush. 

Beatnik West Town | 1604 W Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60622 | $$$

beatnik west town is one of the most romantic restaurants in chicago
via Beatnik West Town

7. Le Colonial

This romantic eatery evokes Saigon in the 1920s, offering a selection of top-notch Vietnamese cuisine in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Known for its distinctive decor and menu, Le Colonial is regularly included in many line-ups of best romantic restaurants in Chicago.

The Vibe

A perfect trip into the past, Le Colonial is a palm-tree-laden escape with a tropical, old-world feel. You can dine both in its large dining room or the gorgeous sunlit veranda overlooking Oak Street just off the Magnificent Mile. 

What to Order

Favorites on the menu include bo sate, a spiced filet mignon and the chao tom, shrimp on sugarcane. Diners also recommend the spring rolls and the lychee martini.

Le Colonial | 57 E Oak St., Chicago, IL 60611 | $$$

le colonial is one of the best romantic restaurants in chicago
via Le Colonial

8. La Josie

Located on Randolph’s restaurant row, this Mexican cuisine and agave bar is a large, but still intimate-feeling eatery, making it a great romantic restaurant in Chicago with a more casual feel. 

The Vibe 

La Josie boasts a modern and industrial interior that still manages to be cozy with exposed brick, comfortable seating and candelabra chandeliers for an amber glow that makes it a great date spot.

What to Order 

La Josie has a mix of traditional Mexican cuisine drawn from all regions as well as new innovations. Begin with the guacamole or queso fundido and follow it up with the steak tacos and an order of the tres leches cake. The tequila bar serves up a wealth of tequila-based and classic cocktails.

La Josie | 740 W Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60661 | $$

bendict from la josie in chicago
via La Josie

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9. Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf

A unique variation on classic steakhouses, Bavette’s has a definitive french flair while serving up American standard fare like ribeye and seafood in its River North spot. 

The Vibe 

This rich interior features French-inspired touches, crystal chandeliers and deep velvet seating that makes it a perfect romantic restaurant in Chicago. The feel is both elegant and rustic, with ample antiques and vintage artwork. 

What to Order 

Steakhouse favorites include the filet mignon, the crab cakes and the steak frites. Diners also recommend the truffle mac and cheese and the chocolate cream pie. 

Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf | 218 W Kinzie St., Chicago, IL 60654 | $$$

Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf
via Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf

10. Ciccio Mio

This River North eatery describes itself as a “nice Italian restaurant,” indicating its sense of low-key glamor and old-world feel. Offering up a selection of traditional Italian favorites, it's a great romantic restaurant in Chicago for date nights or special occasions. 

The Vibe

Ciccio Mio’s interior feels both elevated and laid back, featuring wood-beamed rustic opulence lit by candles and chandeliers amid luxurious velvet seating (and even the occasional traditional red-checked tablecloth a la Lady and the Tramp).

What to Order 

Ciccio Mio’s menu is full of Italian favorites, including a much-recommended chicken parmigiana and vodka rigatoni. Try the black truffle bucatini for a unique taste experience, followed by the Panettone bread pudding.

Ciccio Mio | 226 W Kinzie St., Chicago, IL 606254 | $$$

orrechiete from ciccio mio in chicago
via Ciccio Mio

11. La Crêperie

Nothing could be more romantic than authentic French cuisine, of which crêpes are at the top of the list. This romantic restaurant in Chicago has been in business in Lakeview since 1976. La Crêperie provides a more casual and more budget-friendly alternative to many French eateries, but just as much deliciousness.

The Vibe 

La Crêperie has a laid-back but elegant French café feel, spawned by the red interior, rich wood accents and French ephemera and posters from wall to wall. The effect is homey, yet filled with European romance and French music. 

What to Order

La Crêperie serves up crêpes of all persuasions, including both sweet and savory selections.

Regulars swear by the poulet aux champignons (chicken and mushrooms) and the chicken curry crêpe. For dessert, try the Nutella crêpes and the Le Citron crêpes with lemon and sugar. They also have a great selection of French wines available.

La Crêperie | 2845 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60657 | $$

la creperie is one of the most romantic restaurants in chicago
via La Crêperie

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12. Aba

One of several locations in the U.S., Aba is named after the word for “father” in Hebrew. This Fulton Market eatery is a perfect romantic restaurant in Chicago, offering a variety of Mediterranean cuisine from Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel.

The Vibe

The third-floor elevators open to what feels like a luscious olive grove with tons of natural light in the daytime and charming, lantern lighting in the evenings, making you feel like you’re outside even when indoors. They also have a beautiful patio open in warmer weather.

What to Order 

Classic Mediterranean favorites are popular here, with an assortment of hummus varieties and whipped feta as appetizers. Favorite main courses include an assortment of chicken, beef and lamb kabobs, with dessert options including crème brûlée pie and sticky date cake. Try their selection of Mediterranean-inspired cocktails like the Blood Orange Gin and Tonic and the Mediterranean Mule. 

Aba | 302 N Green St., Chicago, IL 60607 | $$$

hummus platter from aba
via Aba

13. Superdawg

A fun, retro and budget-friendly romantic restaurant in Chicago, this drive-in serves up a menu of classics like favorite Chicago food, including hot dogs, burgers, shakes and fries. Opened in 1948 amid the drive-in craze in America, Superdawg allows a unique vintage experience from the comfort of your own car. 

The Vibe 

Order up a variety of drive-in favorites all the while nestled in your car underneath the bright neon dancing hot dogs on the roof sign. It’s a perfect summertime destination but is great any time of year. 

What to Order

Diners can get one of the best hot dogs in Chicago here: the classic Chicago hot dog with mustard, onion and relish. Or, of course, opt for the classic burger and fries combo.

Superdawg | 6363 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60664 | $

superdawg hot dogs in chicago
via Superdawg

Whether you are looking for formal and glamorous or laid-back and casual, romantic restaurants in Chicago abound. Combine your restaurant outing with a chance to take advantage of many of the romantic places and vistas in which the city excels, including romantic Valentine’s Day ideas and date ideas in Chicago. Or spend a whole evening enjoying a unique culinary experience. 

For even more fun ways to explore Chicago and beyond, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.