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Valentine’s fun: The Lake Shore Lady’s top five romantic restaurants in Chicago

By Lauren Nolan

This article is courtesy of
Lauren, who has appeared on the Today Show and WGN News, is the founder and author of the popular Chicago lifestyle blog,

Maude’s Liquor Bar

I love Maude’s because it has everything you want in a date-night restaurant. The ambiance is dark, cozy and romantic — and it’s located right in the heart of the West Loop. Even if you have to wait for your table, the drinks are amazing and the food is worth the wait. I’d recommend a smash cocktail (or two!), the escargot and the French onion fondue. 840 W. Randolph St. 312-243-9712.


Don’t want to fight the crowds downtown? You don’t have to, as this Wicker Park gem 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. 1840 W. North Ave. 312-757-4444.


This restaurant is hard to get into for a reason! Obviously, we all can’t take advantage of their gorgeous patio in February, but the lush décor inside will help you forget that it’s winter outside. I also love that their Mediterranean-inspired menu is meant to be shared, making it a fun date-night experience. Be sure to try the whipped feta appetizer and the frozen Greek yogurt for dessert. If you can’t get in here, check out their sister restaurant, Ema. 302 N. Green St. 773-645-1400.


Another option if you don’t want to avoid downtown for a romantic night out. This critically acclaimed Lincoln Square restaurant is cozy and warm, with an open-kitchen design so can see the chefs at work. And if you need to wait for a table, grab the Purple Martin cocktail at their other restaurant next door, The Warbler. 4539 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-506-9300.

Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf

There are a ton of places to get a good steak 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 expect traditional favorites on their menu, they also have a ton of other options to choose from. 218 W. Kinzie. 312-624-8154.

Want some more ideas? Check out Lauren’s full roundup of the Best Date Night Spots in Chicago at!