Like us on Facebook!

David Lissner
for restaurants

Nine ways to spend Valentine’s weekend in Chicago

Sashimi roses feature on the Valentine's Day menus at Chens in Chicago and Koi in Evanston.

Sashimi roses feature on the Valentine's Day menus at Chens in Chicago and Koi in Evanston.

“Yes, Valentine’s Day is this month, and we will be celebrating with all the city’s lovebirds, but why pin the ‘amour’ to only one day?” asks Chef Carol Wallack of Sola> in North Center and we agree. We got 150 press releases about Valentine’s Day, and you can bet that just about every eatery in town will be decked out in hearts and serving V-Day specialties tomorrow through Monday. So you have all weekend to celebrate. Or not, as the case may be.

But why pack all your love into a few days in this chilly month? Show your loved ones you care all the year round.

Here are just a few Valentine’s festivities that caught our eye.

  1. A rosy evening: Valentine’s weekend dinners at Chens Chinese and Sushi in Wrigleyville and Koi in Evanston start with sashimi rose, artfully constructed of tuna. The prix fixe also includes “Dragon and Phoenix,” crispy chicken in tangy sweet and spicy pepper sauce with sauteed shrimp and vegetables in white wine sauce plus chocolate cake and a glass of wine or sake, $25 per person.

  2. Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker: Shake up your Valentine’s Day at The Martini Bar in the Loop at 6 p.m. Monday, when Lisa Selman holds a couples cocktail class covering the French, “Rated X” and Godiva Chocolate martinis. Drinks, appetizers and recipe cards included, $30 per couple. (You can go stag for $15.)

  3. Cheap date: Friday through Sunday, redFLAME on the Clybourn Corridor serves up a $30 Valentine’s menu for two featuring appetizer or salad, one pizza and a bottle of wine. On Sunday, bring the kids — one child per adult eats free.

  4. A bit of the bubbly: Mirabell in Avondale offers a free split of champagne with every dinner this weekend.

  5. Enhance your desire at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in River North, Rosemont and Lombard and Holy Mackerel! in Lombard, all serving aphrodisiac-inspired menus full of champagne, caviar, oysters, asparagus, truffles, figs and chocolate, $57.95–$89.

  6. Romance in red: The Red Canary in River West serves a five-course, $80 dinner for two Friday, Saturday and Monday including a champagne toast and entree choices of beef tenderloin, Chilean sea bass or shrimp and scallop risotto.

  7. Get matched, Irish-style: At 8 p.m. Saturday, the Fifth Province Pub at the Irish American Heritage Center in Irving Park hosts its annual Valentine’s Day “Hooley,” a dance and party with refreshments, live music and a Lisdoonvarna matchmaking corner. Tickets, $12, include light refreshments, music by Joe Cullen and Teresa Shine, dancing and a cash bar.

  8. A little love for families: Harry Caray’s Tavernon Navy Pier invites kids to build their own heart-shaped pizzas Friday through Monday. For $7.95, children can create 6-inch pizzas, and they’ll throw in a Valentine’s Day sundae complete with heart-shaped sprinkles, whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Meanwhile, parents can indulge in chocolate mousse and a glass of champagne for $12 each, or a four-course Valentine’s prix-fixe dinner for $49.95.

  9. Think Cupid is stupid? The dateless can drink to the single life Monday at Fedora Lounge in River North, where drinks include “Black Heart Shots” (Goldschlager and Jagermeister) and “Black Mimosas” (champagne topped with Guinness) for $4; Matthew Longbons plays the blues and food specials include “Broken Heart-ichoke” fritters, sliders and nachos (all just $5).An Anti-Valentine’s Day package for parties of three, $39 all weekend, offers artichoke fritters, nine wings, three sliders, three domestic beers or mimosas and three shots.