Hey friends! It’s funny – when I first started writing these Chicago roundups, I had no idea this one would be the most popular. It makes sense though, right? Whether you’re single or in a relationship, most of us are always looking for a good date night recommendation. First dates, 5th dates, Anniversary dates, no kids allowed dates… it’s such a fun excuse to try a new restaurant in the city!
Since my Top 15 Date Night Spots are always changing, and tend to revolve around what’s most convenient for me, you can scroll down to see reader favorites, too! And to make it all a little bit less overwhelming, there’s a map at the very bottom so you can decide where to go based on what’s walking distance or closest to your go-to train line. And lastly, let me know in the comments if you try any of these, or if you have any others to add to the list!
Top 15 Chicago Date Night Restaurants
1) The Warbler
If you live on the North side, you MUST try The Warbler. Adam and I have grown to love this little Lincoln Square hotspot so much, because the food is just as good as places downtown. If we forget to make a reservation, we usually just snag seats at the bar, order a glass of wine or the Purple Martin cocktail (whiskey and beet juice – trust me on this one!), and put an order of crispy cauliflower in before we even look at what else to eat. In short, everything we’ve ever had there is beyond delicious. We’re such huge fans!
2) Maude’s Liquor Bar
I love love love Maude’s Liquor Bar because it has everything you want in a date night restaurant. The West Loop location is great, and the ambiance is dark, cozy and romantic. Plus, even if you have to wait for a table, the drinks are amazing and the food is worth the wait. Make sure you order the French Onion Fondue and a smash cocktail. So good!
3) Café Ba Ba Reeba
Adam and I love sharing plates, which makes tapas at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba perfect for us! We actually went to Cafe Iberico on one of our first dates, but since then we’ve both agreed that Cafe Ba Ba Reeba has better food. The last time we were there, we were going to meet friends but they had to cancel last minute… don’t worry, Adam still asked for multiple orders of bacon wrapped dates, and we had the best time ordering slowly with multiple rounds of drinks. It might not be anything groundbreaking, but you’re bound to have a great time.
Firstly, Beatnik is GORGEOUS! Everything about the decor is goals and the food is awesome, too! I haven’t been for dinner in a while, but I remember loving the wild mushrooms, broccolini, and halloumi (similar to my recipe, actually!)!
5) Oyster Bah
If you love oysters, add Oyster Bah to your list! The food is great, but the atmosphere is really chill and casual. Definitely not a stuffy seafood restaurant at all. For instance, start by splitting some oysters and garlic shrimp!
6) Ada Street
Ada Street is a hidden gem…. no, but really, it’s actually hidden! If you weren’t actively looking for this restaurant, you wouldn’t find it. But you should look for it, because the food is delicious and the cozy interior is the perfect escape on a winter night.
7) Spacca Napoli
If you love authentic wood fired pizza, nothing compares to Spacca Napoli – besides actually going to Italy. It’s owned by the sweetest Italian man, it’s always packed (make a res!), and nothing about it is pretentious. It’s perfectly neighborhoody, and who doesn’t want to be comfortable while eating pizza?! Also, if you go on a weekend, you’ll get a free cannoli as you walk out. Whatever you do, DO NOT turn it down. It’s the perfect post-dinner treat!
8) Le Colonial
The original Le Colonial was beautiful, but their new location is next level. Because they’re on the third floor, you can dine while overlooking Oak Street, which is especially pretty when the trees are lit up at night around the holidays. But beyond the ambiance, they serve the best Vietnamese food in the city. You can’t go wrong!
9) Gilt Bar
I’ve only ever been to Gilt Bar once, but I understand why it’s so popular with you guys. It feels like a little romantic hideaway in the middle of bustling River North. Moreover, the food is really impressive, too!
10) Mon Ami Gabi
We went to Mon Ami Gabi for Restaurant Week last year and absolutely loved it. Amazing french bread, delicious entrees and escargot so good we almost placed a 2nd order. If you like french food, this place is a must!
11) Fat Rice
After going to Lisbon, I found out that Fat Rice makes pastel de nata in their bakery… which launched it to the top of my list. Shortly after that, I was invited to an event there that blew me away, so naturally I planned a date so I could bring Adam! The food is described as “Portuguese cuisine from Madeira to Macau” which means the menu is super inventive and interesting. Highly recommend, especially if you’re going on a date with someone who isn’t afraid of trying something new!
12) Swift & Sons
I don’t eat steak, so I normally avoid steakhouses… but Swift & Sons is different. Everything on the menu is good, so he can order a steak, you can order some seafood, and you’re both happy!
13) Chicago Q
When you want date night and your man wants BBQ, Chicago Q is a great compromise. I personally love it more in the summer because their patio is so cute, but it’s a solid date spot no matter what!
Bavette’s definitely isn’t a cheap option, but that’s because it’s swanky AF! Think dim lights, exposed brick, leather seats and a huge Le Boeuf section for the meat lover in your life.
15) Tango Sur
Tango Sur is a Latin American Steakhouse up in Lakeview that literally everyone raves about. A cute neighborhood spot with amazing food that’s also BYOB? Jackpot.
Bad Hunter (great for vegetarians)
Bar Siena (West Loop)
Coda di Volpe (Southport)
Cafe Robey (Plus, drinks on the 13th floor)
Ella Elli (Lakeview)
Folklore (Argentinean in Wicker)
Frasca (wood fired pizza)
Gemini Bistro (Lincoln Park)
GT Prime (steakhouse)
Kai Zan (sushi bar + omakase menu)
Lula Cafe (Logan Square gem)
Momotaro (Japanese in the West Loop)
Monteverde (everyone says this is the best Italian food!)
The Hampton Social (happy hour and oysters)
The Press Room (come here for drinks while you wait for a table at Monteverde)
The Signature Room (amazing views of the city)
RPM Italian (order Mama DePandi’s Bucatini)
Siena Tavern (comfort food for cold nights)
Somerset (new Gold Coast hot spot)
Sushi San (new sushi restuarant)
Did I leave any of your favorites off of these lists?
Are you adding any to your personal lists? Also, was this post way too long or do you like seeing all of the reader favorites? Let me know!!
PS. You might also like The Best North Center/Ravenswood/Lincoln Square Restaurants, The Best Patios, and The 12 Best Rooftops!