Happy Friday! For the past week or so, I’ve been trying to figure out whether I should do a roundup of recipes for Valentine’s Day, or an updated list of great date spots in the city. So it made me laugh when my poll on Wednesday revealed that there’s a lot of interest in both 😂 Needless to say, even though recipes won that poll, I also have my favorite restaurant in 10 different neighborhoods at the bottom… just in case you’re going out!
But let’s start with recipes! I think cooking for your significant other, or (even better!) cooking together, is such a fun way to celebrate the holiday. Below you’ll find a few of my favorite recipes, mixed in with a few ideas from some other talented bloggers. In fact, every single dessert suggestion is from a different blogger! This is because I just went back to watch this cooking video for Flourless Chocolate Cake… I thought it looked awesome when we filmed it (and it tasted great)… but that buckling on the sides?! Pretty sure Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would NOT approve of that if I made it on Great British Baking Show! Yes, I’m a nerd, but also… I’ll help you with delicious dinner recipes and let’s both look to the experts when it comes to desserts 😉
Valentine’s Day Recipes
This was just on the blog earlier this week, but I had to add it into this roundup too, because it’s PERFECT for Valentine’s Day. Everything cooks so fast, and you can have it on the table at a reasonable hour without leaving work early. Plus, it’s just so delicious!
Since I already made my risotto dish last week, I think we might try this recipe for Valentine’s Day! I mean… how good does that look?!
If you don’t like chicken, or you are vegetarian/vegan, this is a great Italian recipe. The sauce itself requires really minimal ingredients, it will make your kitchen smell amazing, and the cheese on top is totally optional.
I don’t eat steak, but if I did, I’d make this! Jocelyn is an absolute master, so it doesn’t surprise me that this marinade sounds AMAZING.
I always adored this recipe growing up, and for some reason I assumed it was hard to make. It wasn’t until a few years that I realized it’s one of those recipes that looks impressive without any of the stress. Total crowd favorite!
We just had vegan chocolate mousse at Little Beet Table last weekend, and it made me want to try to make it at home!
Cookie dough INSIDE the truffle?! I know a guy who would reallyyyy love me if I made these for him…
If you’ve been wanting to bring something fun to your office for Valentine’s Day, these couldn’t be prettier!
I know Portillo’s Chocolate Cake is easier to pick up and totally not judging if that’s your game plan, but if you’re looking for a slightly healthier option for the chocoholic in your life… here she is!
My Favorite Valentine’s Day Restaurant In 10 Chicago Neighborhoods
There are obviously a ridiculous amount of restaurants in Chicago, so it’s always hard to narrow down my favorites. But since my post about The Best Chicago Date Night Restaurants came out last year, I thought I’d give you a quick updated list based on different neighborhoods here in the city!
Maude’s Liquor Bar – The West Loop has a crazy amount of great restaurants, but I love Maude’s for Valentine’s Day. The ambiance is dark, cozy, and romantic – and it’s located right on Randolph. Even if you have to wait for your table, the drinks are amazing and the food is worth the wait. I recommend any of the smash cocktail, the escargot, and the French Onion Fondue!
Bavette’s – There are a lot of well reviewed steakhouses in the city, but none are quite like Bavette’s. It almost has a speakeasy vibe – way more intimate and hip than your typical steakhouse. And while you can get traditional favorites on their menu, they also have a ton of other options to choose from if you don’t eat steak. (There are a million restaurants in River North, so check out this post for more favorites!)
Le Colonial – This little gem has been serving the best Vietnamese food for 20 years. Even if you’re not sure you like Vietnamese food, it’s always fun to try something new, especially on date night! (But you will like it – trust me. It’s SO good!)
Cafe Ba Ba Reeba – We love to share when we go out for a date night, and tapas just make that so easy. Plus, the sangria is delish.
Etta – This Wicker Park hot spot has quickly become a favorite of ours. The space is open and inviting, and the food never disappoints. Don’t forget to get the bubbling shrimp – it’s the best thing on the menu!
Piccolo Sogno – To be fair, I don’t remember the last time I went here in the winter, because their patio is legitimately magical in the summer. That being said, I’ve never had a bad meal here, so if you love Italian food, add this to your list.
Tango Sur – I have to confess, I’ve never actually never been to Tango Sur! But since I don’t have a favorite date night spot in Lakeview, I thought I’d go with a reader favorite! So many of you rave about this Latin American Steakhouse. And it’s BYOB!
Wasabi – Okay, slurping ramen might not be everyone’s idea of romance, but I think it’s a great date night spot! Not only is the restaurant really cute, it’s also, without a doubt, the best ramen I’ve tried in the city. So. GOOD.
The Warbler – One of the benefits of moving up north has been discovering amazing restaurants we probably never would have known about otherwise. The Warbler is one of those. We stopped in one night to sit at the bar and try a few things, and ended up having a few cocktails, flatbreads, and veggies. I’ve been back a handful of times since, and it’s always good. If you like whiskey, get the Purple Martin cocktail, and don’t miss the Crispy Cauliflower!
Spacca Napoli – Last but not least! Our favorite date night spot in the whole city! We have taken a LOT of other couples here, and it makes me so happy when they inevitably give it their seal of approval, too. They serve authentic Italian wood fired pizzas, that we like to split along with an arugula and prosciutto salad. It’s just the best.