Valentine's Day Dining Guide

Judging by the surge in candy hearts and boxed chocolates, Valentine's Day is upon us. One of the biggest restaurant days of the year, couples go out in droves to celebrate their romance over candlelit meals. The idea of picking out the perfect restaurant can be challenging, though, so we've selected a few solid options.


Pinstripes heart pizza

For the Procrastinator

If you're the type to forget about making Valentine's Day reservations until the last minute, you can prevent divorce by enjoying Bistronomic's Valentine's Day prix fixe all weekend long. Available February 13 through February 15, chef Martial Noguier's three-course affair showcases Bistronomic's attention to seasonality and locality, but with more of an alluring touch. Each course features several options, from lobster Thai soup to artichoke salad for starters, to diver sea scallops and thyme-roasted rack of lamb for entrees, and passion fruit meringue tarts and pear- and pistachio ice cream-filled meringue omelettes for dessert. The cost for dinner on Valentine's Day is $69 per person, or $179 for two people, which includes a bottle of sparkling wine. The cost for the prix fixe on February 13 or 15 is $45 per person, and a la carte menus are also available those days only. 

For the Romantic Carnivores 

Those looking for a complete 180 from the typical Valentine's Day route would be wise to take heed of Chop Shop's Valentine's weekend butcher class. The restaurant/butcher shop is offering a whole hog butcher class on February 15. The live demonstration will teach attendees all about the different cuts, techniques, and culminate with four pork dishes to enjoy: meatballs, sausage, porchetta, and pulled pork. Reservations for the class can be made by calling. If you miss this one, there's another butcher class on March 15.

For the Big Spender Not Afraid of Heights

Does the thought of enjoying a romantic meal 95 stories above ground give you a thrill? The Signature Room at the 95th is the place for you. The skyscraping restaurant offers a surely memorable Valentine's Day prix fixe option for $99, which almost evens out to $1 per floor. The four-course menu by chef Cardel Reid includes dishes like sautéed prawns and braised goat, roasted chicken and stuffed acorn squash, and red velvet cake and triple berry cobbler. The menu is available February 13 through 15. Reservations can be made by calling..


For the Pizza-lover

Nothing says "I love you" like a heart-shaped pizza. Plus, it shows that you're not too rigid and serious, and you're the cool couple secure enough in their relationship to eat pizza as their Valentine's meal. Pinstripes offers just the ticket, a weekend-long roster of V-Day specials that include heart-shaped pizzas, Frangelico chocolate cake, and Champagne toasts.

For the Cocktail Aficionados

One of Chicago's preeminent craft cocktail bars is getting all romantic on us this year. The Violet Hour is offering a special holiday package this year, wherein guests can bask in the romantic candlelit ambience with three cocktails per person, a complimentary Love Potion to start things off, and one food item per guests. Seatings are available at 6:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and the package costs $100 per person. Contact to make a reservation. 

For Those Who Like Their Aphrodisiacs on the Exotic Side

Oysters with sea beans and pomelo, foie gras with chamomile and apple butter, shrimp with sea urchin and sunchoke, and pretzel with chocolate and dulce de leche are some of the dishes on hand at envelope-pushing Table, Donkey and Stick. The Alpine-inspired Logan Square haven is featuring an eclectic five-courser for Valentine's Day at $75 per person. Live on the wild side and show your partner how exciting you are either February 13 or 14.

For Those Looking to Booze it Up All Evening Long, But in a Classy Way

If you're looking to sweep your lover off their feet with the aid of liquor, CH Distillery has you covered. The distillery/bar/restaurant is offering various experiences this Valentine's Day, beginning with a pre-Valentine's Day chocolate and spirit tasting on February 10, in partnership with Ethereal Confections. With sessions at 5:45 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., guests can expect five truffle and spirit pairings, plus a distillery tour, all for $35 per person. Reservations can be made here. Then on February 14, CH Distillery will launch their CH Cherry Eau De Vie, a colorless fruit brandy, a sneak peek of their local fruit series due to launch in June. The spirit will be available for $60, and beverage director Krissy Schutte will create a Valentine's Day punch bowl for two called Game of Footsie (aww), featuring Cherry Eau De Vie, CH Amaro, CH London Dry Gin, CH Orange Curacao, lime, pineapple, and grenadine. Reservations for Valentine's Day can be made by calling. 


RPM Steak
RPM Steak

For the Indulgent Steak-lovers

Few things say "romance" quite like a 42 oz. Wagyu tomahawk steak brushed with butter and designed to share. It can be yours at RPM Steak. Seasoned simply, the steak comes sliced off the bone and served with pickled cherry peppers. It costs $155 for two, but you guys are worth it, right? For dessert, go ahead and finish with the 14K gold chocolate cake. Reservations can be made by calling. 

For Couples Who Share

Tapas are the perfect approach to Valentine's Day, because they're all about the sharing, and if you can't share with your partner, then you know it's over. So it's a good test for your relationship. Nacional 27 is the perfect destination, featuring its prix fixe menu at $75 per person on Valentine's Day. Shared tapas begin the meal, followed by entrees and dessert. In other romantic Nacional 27 news, the restaurant will also preempt the holiday with complimentary tango lessons by dance coordinator Rickey Copley-Spivey on February 11 at 7:30 p.m. Nice way to work up an appetite. 

For Those Looking to Travel to Paris Without the Airfare

Parisians know a thing or two about romance, which is what makes an elegant French-inspired restaurant such as Cafe des Architectes the quintessential Valentine's Day destination. The elegant setting transports diners to France through exquisite food, finesse, and a cheese course from Chestnut Provisions, the restaurant's in-house cheese and charcuterie program. For Valentine's Day, there's a can't-be-beat five-course degustation for $95 per person. Dishes include foie gras torchon served with spiced doughnuts, Maine lobster with truffle salsify veloute, beef tenderloin with fennel gratin, and dark chocolate torte with passion fruit and citrus caramel. Reservations can be made by calling. 

For the Classic American Experience

The atmosphere and American fare at Tavern on Rush is straightforward but classic, offering an array of well-executed American dishes to choose from on Valentine's Day. Executive chef John Gatsos is offering a special romantic dessert for the holiday as well, wherein chocolate fondue for two arrives with fresh and dried fruits, nuts and poundcake. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 312-644-9600. 

For the Surf and Turf-obsessed

Seafood and meat combine in elaborate, beautiful ways at GT Fish & Oyster, the perfect downtown setting at which to enjoy a hearty (no pun intended, but happy that worked out) dinner for two. The nautically minded restaurant offers a six-course prix fixe this Valentine's Day, featuring alluring items such as seafood starters, hen breast, beef tenderloin, and rose cake for dessert. Call to make a reservation. 

- Matt Kirouac