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Best Restaurants in Chicago for Valentines Day

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I thought that I would give you a gentile nudge and let you know that Valentine’s Day is a month away. While you still have plenty of time to make your plans, if your plans involve going out to eat, you should make your reservation soon. Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year, which means that people will be celebrating throughout the weekend. I have rounded up a list of the best Chicago restaurants to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Here are my recommendations:


Bar Siena – This has become our go-to restaurant lately. The atmosphere with the twinkle lights hints at romance while still being casual. This is a nice pick for people who want a more low key Valentine’s Day. Bar Siena serves both brunch and dinner so you can celebrate any time of the day.


Mindy’s Hot Chocolate – Every woman in Chicago loves this restaurant. The menu is fun, and it includes several hot chocolate options. This is the place to be if you want an amazing culinary experience in a casual atmosphere. It’s a low pressure place to spend Valentine’s Day.

Mon Ami Gabi

Mon Ami Gabi – This charming, romantic, and cozy restaurant serves up classic French cuisine on the edge of Lincoln Park. The menu features lots of steak and seafood options, and make sure to save room for the profiteroles.


Travelle – If you are dating a foodie, they will love the sophisticated fare served up from Travelle’s open kitchen. The menu is bursting with creative options like black bean fries, bbq octopus, and tuna and avocado tartar.

Pump Room

The Pump Room – I think that this is the most romantic restaurant in the whole city, and the food is wonderful too. Dining at The Pump Room is an occasion – the space has a formality that makes it feel special. This is the reservation to book if you want to impress your date.

RPM Italian

RPM Italian – Great food, amazing wine, chic atmosphere, and a convenient location for going to the theater. RPM is a hard reservation to get, so act fast.

Want to really impress your date by suggesting the perfect food and wine pairing? Leslie LaRue Lamont, Formento’s Sommelier, gave me three food and wine pairings from B Hospitality’s restaurants:


At Formento’s, Leslie suggests Quail Saltimbocca and 2014 Dashe Evangelho Vineyard Carignage. “Formento’s now offers Dashe Cellars 100% old vine carignane by the glass. One of two restaurants in the entire country. This wine has vibrant red and black fruit with an alluring floral and savory spice note on the finish. The bright acidity of the carignane cuts through the richness of the proscuitto wrapped quail and plays off of the lovely herbaceous of the toasted sage.” I think that Formento’s serves up some of the best Italian food in Chicago, and I love the more upscale and elegant atmosphere. While West Loop eateries tend to be more casual, Formento’s is the exception. The pastas are fantastic, and I love the chocolate hazelnut cake.

Order Duck Fat Fries and NV Ruinart Blanc de Blancs at The Bristol. Leslie says, “Champagne is the perfect partner to almost anything (I 100% agree!). Champagne is the Little Black Dress of the wine world. No matter the situation, you throw on that LBD and it will be a crowd-pleaser. Same with Champagne. One of my favorite situations that calls for Champagne is with rich, fried, salty foods. The Duck Fat Fries at The Bristol are one of my (many) guilty food pleasures and become even more spectacular when enjoyed alongside a glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne. The Ruinart refreshes the palate after each wonderful bite of this perfectly fried snack.” This is why I love Leslie’s wine suggestions – what could be more delicious – or more fun – than champagne and fries?!
Balena Cacio e Pepe
At Balena, have the Chicken Liver Mousse and Schmaltz Onions pairs with NV Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Grasparossa di Caselvetro “Amabile”. Leslie explains that “there is a combination of three words that always makes me weak in the knees: Chicken Liver Mousse. Balena has a great rendition with schmaltz onions, shaved radish and parsley that I can’t help but order every time I’m there. The savory richness of the chicken liver begs for a beverage that can brighten every bite so I turn to my old friend, Lambrusco. With notes of rustic, wild strawberry and a hint of sweetness, the subtle effervescence of the Cleto Chiarli plays as a great contrast to the salty, fatty goodness of the chicken liver mousse.” If you are unfamiliar with Lambrusco, it is a sparkling red wine, and it is one of the most delicious things in the world. Balena is one of my favorite restaurants, and they just started serving brunch – and they take reservations for it, making Balena a great place for a Valentine’s Day brunch too.

If you need even more Valentine’s Day dining ideas, you can read my 2015 restaurant round ups and recipes. Last year I broke my recommendations into Brunch and Dinner, and you can read more here. Or if you want to cook at home, you can cook one of these brunches or one of these dinners.

Mary Kate

Friday 15th of January 2016

Bar Siene is one of my favorites! There's a great italian place in Wicker Park, Via Carducci, that's wonderful too! It's small (aka cozy with amazing lighting) and has wonderful food!

Mary Kate

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