The Windy City provides a plethora of romantic dining options, regardless of your neighborhood of choice, but downtown Chicago is particularly a nice pick for a date night. With shopping and the theatre on your doorstep, as well as world-class museums and the beautiful Grant and Millennium Parks, there are endless options for date-night activities. First, though, dinner is in order, and these are some of the top romantic spots to grab a bite to eat.
A beautiful city with lots to do no matter the season, Chicago is a wise travel choice, whether you’re a young couple, family or seasoned business traveler. But when you’re planning a romantic getaway, special care to put together just the right itinerary can make or break your trip. Thankfully, Chicago delivers on this front as well, serving up all the right moves to make your date nights a success.
Perched on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Everest is one of several great Chicago eateries with a view. What makes this restaurant unique and superior, however, is the outstanding French cuisine and wine selection. The seven-course degustation menu is the way to go when you’re trying to impress. It includes scrumptious bites such as a seared New York State foie gras with a beraweka compote and pomegranate; pasture milk-fed veal tenderloin with soubise grating and potato galette; and a coconut shuffle with braised finger bananas, foster sauce and praline pecans.
440 South LaSalle St., 40th Floor
Bavette’s Bar & Bouef
From the moment you walk into the small reception space at Bavette’s and are led into the opulent main dining room, your dining experience is just that — an experience. The atmosphere is elegant, yet fun; intimate, yet you would never feel quite alone while dining there, as if you share some marvelous secret with your fellow diners, the secret that, yes, you really are having a grand time and aren’t you lucky for it? Beyond the aura, though, the food is something special in of itself, whether you’re enjoying the simple roasted chicken or spiced fried chicken with mashed potatoes and cipollini gravy, or you spring for the dry-aged bone-in ribeye topped off with a king crab oscar sauce.
218 West Kinzie St.
Offering a modern interpretation of classic Italian fare, Tesori provides not just a delicious dinner, but also a fantastic cocktail menu. For some local flair, try the Barrels in the Lake craft cocktail, which consists of rye, cinnamon, grapefruit and cherry spice bitters; it’s named after the antics of 19th-century whiskey slingers who supposedly tossed barrels of whiskey into Lake Michigan during the Chicago fire of 1871. The dinner menu is broken down into several categories (house-made pasta, brick-oven pizza, grilled entrees and the like), each with a limited selection of items, prioritizing the highest quality over the overabundance of subpar attempts that might be spotted on lesser Italian menus.
65 East Adams St.
Iconic, with a fantastic menu of refined rustic American food, The Gage sits within an easy walk to the beautiful Art Institute. The selection is simple, but superb. Start with an appetizer to share, such as the harissa drumsticks or bison tartare, before moving on to a seasonal spring asparagus salad, topped with a poached egg and mobay cheese. The main event — the entree — could range from a pan-roasted half chicken surrounded by tomato and spiced, stewed chickpeas and swiss chard, to a roasted New Zealand elk rack with a side of honey-turmeric carrots.
24 South Michigan Ave.
If, though, your date night leads to an unforgettable experience at the Adler Planetarium, romantically watching the stars above the tranquil waters of Lake Michigan, stop by Acadia, for Maine-inspired dining in an upscale and stylish atmosphere. Highly acclaimed, the restaurant has earned two Michelin Stars since its 2011 opening. The seven-course tasting menu is not to be missed and changes seasonally. However, expect top-tier options such as Spanish octopus with piri piri, olive and cream peas; lamb with nasturtium, egg yolk and mushrooms; cauliflower with a golden raisin curry and black trumpet mushroom puree; sorbet with tapioca and milk honey; and a whimsical funnel cake with almond ice cream.
1639 South Wabash Ave.
By Holly Riddle