13 Most Romantic Restaurants in Chicago

January 6, 2022

From secret speakeasies visited by Al Capone to the soaring heights of the Sears Tower, Chicago is simply overflowing with intriguing history, culture, and art.

From secret speakeasies visited by Al Capone to the soaring heights of the Sears Tower, Chicago is simply overflowing with intriguing history, culture, and art.

Besides its acclaimed museums, galleries, and gangster-fueled heritage, the Windy City has long swept away its patrons with its outstanding food scene.

Far more than deep-dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches, in recent decades the Chicago culinary culture has exploded in popularity and relevance, with even foodie bibles like Bon Appetit and Conde Nast Traveler taking notice.

With an abundance of Michelin starred eateries, and options for outdoor dining, Chicago is paving the way for romantic restaurants.

Whether you are seeking a moody and romantic ambiance in the West Loop or cheese fondue perfection in Lincoln Park, we have the ultimate roundup of the most romantic restaurants in Chicago.

Chicago Hotels

Chi-town may be considered the midwest, but this sprawling metropolis just oozes sophistication and class.

Whether you are a Second City local or just visiting, take advantage of the city’s many-storied attractions, Broadway-caliber productions, and more when you extend your Chicago stay.

A quick staycation is a perfect way to enhance the romance, and thankfully we have a number of luxurious Chicago Hotels from which to choose.

Enjoy historic boutique accommodations just minutes from the Navy Pier. Or get glam before your big date night dinner in a lusciously appointed marble-tiled bathroom by Hyde Park.

Wherever you choose to relax with your beloved, make your reservations with confidence knowing you are always guaranteed our lowest rates. 

View of the dining area along the windows at NoMi Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: NoMi Chicago via Facebook

Romantic Restaurants in Downtown Chicago

NoMi

Looking to seriously impress your date? Snag a table at the illustrious NoMi and prepare for some heartfelt ‘thank yous.’

You and your dining companion will be in awe soaking in the stunning views of downtown Chicago, the historic Water Tower, and Lake Michigan all perfectly showcased by the restaurant’s trademark floor-to-ceiling windows.

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Named after its unbeatable location on North Michigan Avenue, dining at NoMi is a fully immersive experience as there is no separation between diners and Chefs.

NoMI Kitchen is heralded for its fresh take on classic dishes, including outstanding lobster beignets and a perfectly festive grilled lamb chop served with herb rice pilaf, cipollini onion piperade, and roasted grapes.

Amateur sommeliers take note, the wine list here is unparalleled, housing a number of rare and unique curated wines. Choose a special bottle, and then request to dine in their private cellar where you can share an intimate moment with your lover.

Dining area with black leather tables and chairs and a wall covered in moss with different shaped portraits on it at Boke in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: BOKA via Facebook

Boka

Moody and mysterious ambiance heightened by a lush living wall only add to the divine thrill of dining at Boka.

A certifiably romantic restaurant, ideal for any love-soaked occasion, for almost two decades Boka has served as a paragon of Chicago fine dining. In its time in the limelight the restaurant’s chef, Lee Wolen has garnered over six Michelin stars, in addition to numerous James Beard nominations.

With a hyper-focus on seasonal ingredients and a commitment to creativity in the kitchen, dining at Boka is an exceptional treat.

Settle in to sample Wolen’s visionary take on American cuisine and linger over such standouts as Spanish octopus served with cauliflower, Honeycrisp, and hazelnut, or divine Sweet Potato Agnolotti basted with brown butter and accompanied with black trumpets and smoked scallop.

For a completely cuddle-worthy date moment order the Whole Roasted Dry Aged Duck for two, and wrap up the night with a seriously aesthetic dessert from their award-winning pastry program.

Close up photo of oysters on ice in a glass tank with drinks and a tray of oysters in front it at GT Fish & Oyster in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: GT Fish & Oyster via Facebook

GT Fish & Oyster

Amp up the amor with an aphrodisiac-fueled lunch or dinner at GT Fish & Oyster. Nothing sets the stage for romance faster than a giant seafood tower, and the raw bar here is a thing of beauty.

If the Chi-town weather gods are beaming in your favor, settle in on the sunny patio with a specialty cocktail like the ‘Black Sazerac’ an intoxicating mix of old Overholt rye whiskey, black currant, aquavit, and Peychaud's bitters, or the ‘Scattering Skies’ which features wahaka mezcal, select apertivo, pisco, blood orange, and lime.

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On a chilly night, snuggle up in one of their white leather banquets and take a moment to appreciate the refined rustic and nautical tinged decor. 

GT Fish & Oyster wholeheartedly believes in a holistic eating experience, so the drinks here were created to accompany their fresh, coastal cuisine.

Kick-off your order with an array of perfectly briny East and West coast oysters, or go for broke with a full seafood tower. Debate over who gets the last nibble of fresh-baked focaccia.

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served with smoked whitefish spread before moving on to hearty mains like the grilled swordfish or the impeccable Maine Lobster Roll. 

Exterior view of Bistro Campagne with its wooden sign above the windows in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: Bistro Campagne via Facebook

Bistro Campagne

Say ‘oui’ to the city of love when you spend an evening with your mon Cherie at Bistro Campagne. A trip to Paris may not be in the cards for a little while, but you can recreate the butter-induced magic of a French bistro with a visit to Campagne.

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A Lincoln Square staple, Bistro Campagne has been treating Chicagoans to a taste of gay old Paris for almost twenty years. This neighborhood spot manages to strike an effortless balance of European-inspired ambiance and low-key romance with their verdant garden patio, exposed brick walls, and draping fairy lights.

Satisfy your craving for crispy Pomme Frites when you dive into their delicious menu which is heavily committed to supporting the use of organic food products and the sustainable, low-impact agricultural movement.

Pique your appetite with the lovely Tartine aux Poires. These are made with caramelized pears, brie, pickled red onion, and arugula. Or instead, order a generous cheese plate accompanied by homemade pickles, fruit preserves, and candied pecans.

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Keep the French feeling flowing when you order a classic Cassoulet or Bouillabaisse stuffed full of:

  • Monkfish
  • scallops
  • mussels
  • clams
  • prawns
  • baby carrots
  • pearl onions
  • heavenly lobster saffron broth
Close up photo of egg rolls, dumplings and different types of sauces at Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar via Facebook

Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar

Fun, and funky with a cheeky nod to Chicago’s tavern history and homestyle American Chinese cooking, Chef’s Specialty Cocktail Bar offers a delicious wave of nostalgia.

An ideal haunt for a more casual night of dining, Chef’s specializes in tropical cocktails, and American-Chinese Food elevated by ultra-fresh ingredients.

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The restaurant's warm atmosphere and rotating array of music and DJ entertainment make for a trendy, fun-filled eating experience.

Transport yourself to an island oasis far away when you sip on the ChiChi Colada, a yummy concoction of mezcal, singani, lime, coconut, pineapple, and orange blossom.

Order a bevy of appetizers and entrees, as the food here is meant to be shared. Begin with the perfectly crisp, yet creamy Crab Rangoon and stuffed Wontons with pork.

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Take turns stealing bites of super spicy dry chili chicken and slurping their zesty Dan Dan noodles expertly seasoned with sesame paste, peanuts, and Sichuan peppercorn. Conclude your Chinese feast with the quintessential takeaway favorite - homemade crunchy almond cookies.

Wide shot of the lounge area on the roof top of the Nobu Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: Nobu Hotel via Facebook

Most Romantic Rooftop Restaurants in Chicago

The Rooftop at Nobu Hotel

Many sequels and spin-offs never live up to the height of the original. However, we are happy to report that the Rooftop at Nobu Hotel in Chicago was worth the hype and then some.

Spoil your significant other with a star-worthy supper when you break bread at this A-lister endorsed restaurant and hotel.

Prime your palate for hours of pleasure as you feast on the most inventive Japanese cuisine and sample striking cocktails.

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Appreciate the awe-inspiring city views offered by the Rooftop, or revel in the upscale luxury of the ground floor restaurant, or mezzanine Sushi Bar. Wherever you choose to imbibe, every dish or drink here is a testament to the limitless talent of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa.

Savor bites of their tender yellowtail sashimi, and salmon tartar with caviar before sampling their signature Black Cod Miso and Rock Shrimp Tempura.

For a real splurge indulge in the Lobster Tempura Truffle Amazu or 12oz Dry Aged Ribeye Truffle Butter, and don’t forget to pursue their extensive sake list for an ideal imported light-bodied accompaniment.

A dining area with grey chairs and wooden tables with lots of greenery surround it and a bar in the background with large light fixtures and a wall of bottle at Aba Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: Aba Restaurant via Facebook

Aba

Panoramic rooftop views, a historic Fulton Market locale, and a bevy of eclectic Mediterranean plates? Yes, yes, and yes! Aba’s mezze-inspired eatery is helmed by Top Chef alum CJ Jacobson and offers a stunning backdrop for a romantic rendezvous.

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Gaze out over the staggering industrial cityscape under a crescendo of draping greenery, or sidle up to the interior’s marble bar for an eastern-inspired spirit or cocktail under the twinkling lights of the chandelier. 

Incorporating influences and inspiration everywhere from Israel to Greece, the go-to move here is to order tapas style and share.

Standout plates include their crispy Short Rib Hummus, Muhammara, Jerusalem Bagel with Labneh, Char-Grilled Lamb Chops, and Skirt Steak Shawarma. Gluten-free lovers can get in on the fun with an entire menu dedicated to their options.

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Be sure to try out a signature cocktail, as the bar program here is run by the legendary Liz Pearce and highlights a wide variety of rare Mediterranean-inspired wines and spirits. 

Our pick for a perfect post-dinner aperitif? The Ancient Oak Espresso Martini, an exquisite rye-based vodka drink containing coffee liqueur specifically engineered to evoke the experience of New Orleans chicory coffee.

Wide shot of the bar at Virtue with a wooden top, black stops, and bottles on a shelf hanging from the ceiling in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: Virtue Restaurant via Facebook

Date Night Spots

Virtue

Chef and owner Erick Willimas has put a seriously sexy spin on Virtue with his charming Hyde Park eatery.

A bright and warm neighborhood ambiance that overflows with Southern hospitality and flavors, Virtue is on a journey to create a culture of kindness and honesty.

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Their menu of Southern American fare imparts familiar flavors using heritage techniques in a new and thrilling way.

Throw your own (diet) virtue to the wind. Order their homemade biscuits with pimento cheese, and green tomatoes with gulf shrimp. However, save room for the main entrees of blackened catfish. The catfish is served with Carolina gold rice and barbeque carrots. Or, instead, order the dreamiest shrimp with buttery grits.

Seating area with large leather couches and chairs on the right and a bar on the left with a fireplace in the back at The Darling in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: The Darling Chicago via Facebook

The Darling

Searching for your very own Mr. Darcy? Envelope yourself in the restrained romance of the English countryside at The Darling.

The restaurant gives off serious ‘Bridgerton’ worthy vibes. Meanwhile, the Darling’s manor-inspired decor and dimly lit ambiance delivers an injection of sophistication and swank.

Be wary of their reservation-only policy. Instead, you can choose between feasting at the avant-garde Library.  Here you are privy to an array of pop-up performances from musicians, dancers, and puppeteers, or partake at the movie set worthy Ballroom. 

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Linger over libations such as the ‘secret garden’. This beverage can also be ordered in pitcher form. Or order a classic prohibition era favorite such as the Bonfire Bee's Knees. 

Feeling particularly peckish? Then order a handful of ‘delectables’ to share such as:

  • pillowy soft vegan pumpkin gnocchi
  • portobello mushroom fries served with basil aioli
  • mouth-watering short rib and brie cauliflower crust pizza
Close up photo of a three fondue pots with lots of different things to dip in them and two bottles of wine at Geja’s Cafe in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: Geja’s Cafe via Facebook

Geja’s Cafe

Is there anything more romantic than long pulls of ooey gooey cheese? We think not! Partake in a classic fondue dinner at the legendary Geja’s Cafe in Lincoln Park. Long heralded as one of Chicago's (and America’s) most romantic restaurants, this establishment has been getting couples in the mood for over 50 years.

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During your evening, enjoy candlelight, live flamenco guitar music, and a variety of four-course fondue dinner combinations all factor in to fueling up that passion.

Nothing beats the communal bonding experience of fondue. Therefore, order your choice of:

  • beef tenderloin
  • Australian lobster tail
  • white shrimp
  • fresh sea scallops
  • boneless chicken breast

All combinations come with swiss gruyere cheese fondue. In addition, it is served with assorted bread, vegetables, and fruits for dipping. Also a house salad garnished with Geja's Dijon vinaigrette.

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Chocoholics will not be disappointed. Your night of dipping will conclude with a warm pot of Geja's famous Belgian chocolate fondue. In addition, it is accompanied by a variety of fresh fruit, pound cake, and marshmallows for roasting.

Wide shot of the bar and dining room with wooden counter top and tables and a large shelving area behind the bar at Monteverde in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: Monteverde Restaurant via Facebook

Monteverde 

Follow the flour! Pasta-loving partners seeking their own whimsical ‘Lady in the Tramp’ moment need only to pop on into Monteverde for the best Italian food. 

Fill up on the most delicious homemade carbs here. Each day their talented team creates a variety of handmade pasta. 

Chef Sarah Grueneberg gravitates towards Italian classics reimagined and pulls from international travel-inspired influences to experiment with bold new flavors.

Split a bottle of red in the wood and herringbone cloaked dining room before ordering some hearty pasta. 

The Chitarra alla Boscaiola is guaranteed to leave you speechless, containing prosciutto & porcini ragù, Tuscan pecorino, artichoke, crispy chicken skin, while the ragu alla Napoletana (stuffed full of sausage, soppressata meatballs, and a large braised pork shank) is nothing short of life-changing.

Eight different alcoholic beverages lined up on a white bar counter top with a wall of bottles behind them at Scofflaw in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: Scofflaw via Facebook

Romantic Affordable Restaurants in Chicago

Scofflaw

Date night doesn't always need to be a big production. Sometimes the simple thrill of getting dressed up, and savoring a deliciously mixed cocktail in a dimly lit bar is all you need to reignite those first date butterflies.

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Sidel up to your sweetie for a night of sophisticated imbibing when you snag a bar stool or table at the Victorian-inspired Scofflaw. Meanwhile, you'll enjoy a gin-focused cocktail bar located in the lovely Logan Square neighborhood. Scofflaw manages to marry baroque sophistication with a laid-back attitude.

Enjoy a ‘Bitter Lousiane’ cocktail. Or, warm up with a delicious Hot Buttered Rum before figuring out what appetizers to nibble on. 

Start with the delightful crunchy Chicken Karaage with black garlic ponzu and Lemon hummus. In addition, order the shabzi baba ghanoush to share.

Also, be sure to stick around till midnight when the bar busts out freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. 

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Close up photo of a table full of food at Duck Duck Goat in Chicago, Illinois, USA

photo credit: Duck Duck Goat via Facebook

Duck Duck Goat

A Chinese-inspired fever dream, the rouge-soaked interior of Duck Duck Goat immediately adds a sexy pinch of ‘eyes wide shut’ magic to any dining experience.

The brainchild of celebrated Top Chef Stephanie Izard and the restaurant group who spawned both Boka and GT Fish & Oyster, Duck Duck Goat is an Asian-inspired eatery breathing new life into the West Loop.

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Of course, every corner of this exquisite restaurant hums with visual appeal. From the jade-hued waiting area, to the crimson dripped dining spaces there is romance in every corner.

Clink glasses with your stunning companion. Meanwhile, trade sips of quirky cocktails such as ‘Boots with the Fur'. Or try the ‘Peach n’ Memes’ which features a sweet blend of:

  • Flor de Cana rum
  • Peychaud's aperitivo
  • amaro
  • peach
  • cinnamon

Fight over which delectable Dim Sum to order. Afterwards, settle on some Char Siu Pork Bao, or Xiao Long Bao (duck and goat soup dumplings). Then dive in to the unbelievably flaky scallion pancakes, served with shiitake slaw and hoisin.

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Twirl up tasty bites of Beef Slap noodles and Map Doufu. In addition, take advantage of seasonal specials like the sensational, Peking Duck (which you can pre-order).

From the warm glow of candlelight to intimate leather-bound booths, to sweeping views of the city skyline there are so many ways to set a romantic mood in the Windy City.

This midwestern metropolis is just overflowing with restaurants and eateries perfect for first dates, anniversaries, and any other type of amorous occasion.

Whether you are craving a celebrity-worthy sushi experience at Nobu, or an elegant evening of champagne and oysters by River North, Chi-town’s dining brings the sizzle for a night of passion. 

What Romantic Restaurants in Chicago Did We Miss?

Any of your favorite romantic restaurants in Chicago that we overlooked? Share with us in the comments below!

 


isis with mural in background

Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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