Chicago’s Best Restaurants for Celebrating Valentine’s Day
Chicago’s Best Restaurants for Celebrating Valentine’s Day
In love…or just want to go out for a superior supper on Valentine’s Day? Either way, we’ve got you covered with a range of Chicago’s best restaurants that span the culinary globe. Cuisines from Mexico, Argentina, France, Switzerland, Italy, the American South, the Middle East and the foods of many more regions are available for you – and your special someone – on a day reserved for love...including simply the love of food.
Here are over a dozen Chicago restaurants, guaranteed to thrill you and your loved one(s) on Valentine's Day. Click the name of each restaurant to find out more about the place and check out their Valentine’s Day menus.
Cantina Laredo. Assuming the mantle of “Taste of Modern Mexico,” Cantina Laredo in River North is not serving up just the much-beloved combo platters of tacos and enchiladas but rather finessed selections like poblano chilies stuffed with mushroom and shrimp, bone-in ribeye with tequila peppercorn cream sauce, and barbacoa hash. Of course, there are tacos and enchiladas, too, anything to make you and yours happy on Valentine’s Day.
Artango Bar & Steakhouse. It there’s a more romantic dance than the tango, we sure don’t know what it is. Watch two tango dancers sweeping and swirling around each other, like moving targets for Cupid’s arrows, as you enjoy special preparations from Buenos Aires’ Golden Age at Artango Bar and Steakhouse. Imported Argentinian steaks, Prohibition-era cocktails and wines from Europe and Argentina make going to Artango Bar and Steakhouse a real trip, romantic journey, and an exceptional dining experience.
Acadia. If quiet, civilized conversation and some of the very finest dining in Chicago is what you’re after, go to the South Loop and get a table at Acadia. With two Michelin stars, Acadia under the exceptional direction of Chef Ryan McCaskey offers some of the most spectacular dining experiences in Chicago. On Valentine’s Day McCaskey and his team are serving up five courses of lobsters, wagyu beef and other foods of the best possible quality to start your V-Day celebrations on the highest possible note.
Avec. When Anthony Bourdain came to Chicago during an early episode of “No Reservations,” he made a point of visiting with Paul Kahan, the man behind Blackbird, The Publican, Big Star and many other internationally recognized Chicago restaurants. At Avec, Kahan’s large communal tables and homey wood paneled walls make a perfect setting for the highest quality ingredients done simply and superbly.
BLVD. If a romantic step back into the past is what you’re looking for on Valentine’s Day, BLVD provides a portal back to an almost-forgotten period of romance and sophistication. With an elegant three-course menu, which includes top-shelf options like arctic char crudo and Wagyu A5 beef, BLVD will serve you and your love interest in style and with a flair you hardly find anywhere anymore. It’s an experience, and it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Aboyer. If you live on the Northshore or just want to have a moderately long, romantic (you hope) drive from downtown Chicago, Aboyer at George Trois in Winnetka is where you want to be. George Trois won the 2019 Jean Banchet Best Restaurant of the Year award and under the skilled hands of Chef Michael Lachowicz, you will understand why Aboyer – and under-the-same-roof sister restaurants George Trois and Silencieux – is well worth a drive; they are superb.
Geja’s Café. For about half-a-century, Geja’s Café has built its reputation as one of Chicago’s quintessentially romantic spots, featuring its famous fondues. Why a big pot of almost-boiling cheese plucks at the heartstrings, we honestly don’t know; but it works. Geja’s Café currently boasts an average two-to-three marriage proposals a week, but even if nuptials are not in the cards, you will at least have a wonderful, memorable experience with your significant other. To up the romantic ante, there’s live music nightly. Nice, right?
Sepia. Chicago is known as the city that has taken “modern American cuisine” to the next level, and Sepia is one of the most skilled practitioners and representatives of that culinary genre. Cured foie gras, dry-aged squab and ghee-poached shrimp are some of the exceptionally creative – but more importantly, delicious – dining options available on Valentine’s Day. Time and again, Michelin-starred Andrew Zimmerman shows you just how good modern American cuisine can be.
Davanti Enoteca. Italians are known for their romantic expertise, and Davanti Enoteca is preparing a Valentine’s Day dinner that demonstrates their chefs’ great skill with Italian-influenced creations that will set your heart all a-twitter. There’s an artichoke torte that is light and mildly seasoned, just right to start your meal, and the special Valentine’s Day choice of filet is seared and served with a cocoa Barolo demi-glace. Add to this a reasonably priced bottle of Montepulciano or Barbaresco or any one of the many other excellent vintages in Davanti enotecas cellar, and you’ve got yourself a Valentine’s Day dinner.
Virtue Restaurant and Bar. Opening in early 2019, Erick Williams’ Virtue Restaurant and Bar is one of the more exciting entrants in the annual Chicago race to be the “best new place to eat right now.” Williams’ focus is on dishes inspired by traditional Southern cooking, so for Valentine’s Day, he’s giving us preparations like crawfish and shrimp gumbo, crispy duck thighs and Key lime torte. If you haven’t been to Virtue yet, Valentine’s Day is a great time to begin experiencing this fabulous restaurant.
Vermilion. Owner Rohini Dey’s vision for Vermilion in River North was that it would provide a space for innovative culinary creations that merge Indian and Latin American traditions. Hip without pretentiousness, smart without preciousness, Vermilion fulfills Dey’s vision with Valentine’s Day offerings including a salad of candied rose, pomegranate and jicama, as well as a caramelized banana empanada with cardamom ice cream.
Brasserie Margeaux. In the Waldorf Astoria, arguably the swankiest hotel in the Midwest, Michael Mina’s Brasserie Margeaux is a beautiful combination of casual elegance and effortless sophistication. For Valentine’s Day, amidst 1920s ambiance, Brasserie Margeaux will be serving French-inflected plates including Caledonian blue crab bisque, loup de mer and Dover Sole for two. Do they have a superb wine list at Brasserie Margeaux? Bien sur!
Oda Mediterranean Cuisine [TBD]. Middle Eastern-inspired Oda Mediterranean Cuisine gives you some of the region’s greatest hits, prepared with the precision of a fine-dining chef, including char-grilled octopus (good any time of year), French steak Maxima (a chef’s special) and mushroom stroganoff (okay, not exactly Middle Eastern but vegetarian and delicious). A 2019 Diner’s Choice winner, Oda Mediterranean Cuisine offers a different take on Valentine’s Day, and we think you’re going to like it a lot.
Topaz Café [TBD] Seared Hong Kong-style crab cakes, cavatelli braised duck, rack of lamb, eggplant gateau…the list of Valentine’s Day special options goes on and on at the newly remodeled Topaz Café in Burr Ridge. A short drive from Chicago and surrounding suburbs, Topaz Café promises a “contemporary American menu” in a friendly urban-chic environment. Keep your eye on all the action at the chef’s table or sit in the charming lounge and enjoy an exceptional collection of martinis and wines and, of course, the company of your loved one.