AVLI ESTIATORIO Leisurely Greek hospitality in a warm, “Opa!”-free space in the back of Winnetka’s Laundry Mall—now that’s cozy. 566 Chestnut St., Winnetka; 847-446-9300

BISTRO VOLTAIRE When the weather outside is frightful, a little torchon de foie gras and the golden glow inside this charming River North boîte is, well, you know. 226 W. Chicago Ave.; 312-265-0911

CHEF’S STATION Serving bright contemporary food, Chef’s Station gets extra credit for turning the space underneath an Evanston Metra station into somewhere you’d want to hang out. 915 Davis St., Evanston; 847-570-9821

COURTRIGHT’S A roaring fireplace and a wintry menu prepared by a talented French chef wrap a frosty night in a blanket. Around Christmas, you can practically hear the reindeer on the roof of this south suburban hideaway. 8989 S. Archer Ave., Willow Springs; 708-839-8000

MOON PALACE This spiffy storefront in Chinatown treats every customer like a treasure, and the kitchen never, ever runs out of hot-and-sour soup. 216 W. Cermak Rd.; 312-225-4081

OLD OAK TAP Maybe it’s the come-hither fireplace or the amber lighting (or the robust Fat Boy Pie), but something about this welcoming Ukrainian Village spot just feels right in the winter. 2109 W. Chicago Ave.; 773-772-0406

RICCARDO TRATTORIA The wood floors and unpretentious décor score high on the cozy scale. By the time your fork sinks into the lasagna, you’ll expect your nonna to pop out of the kitchen. 2119 N. Clark St.; 773-549-0038

TABLE FIFTY-TWO This snug 19th-century carriage house survived the Great Chicago Fire; 140 years later, it’s still toasty. Rib-sticking Gold Coast versions of Southern treasures like buttermilk-fried chicken certainly help. 52 W. Elm St.; 312-573-4000

TELEGRAPH Logan Square’s Telegraph manages to be both hip and intimate with its rustic-chic vibe, its moody lighting, and an irresistible bar that turns into a communal table. 2601 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-292-9463

III FORKS The modern fireplace is glassed in. Where’s the allure in that? In the stunning views of Lakeshore East’s architecture, in the juicy, tender rib eye on your plate, in the flickering flames reflected in the eyes of your beloved. So that would be everywhere. 333 E. Benton Pl.; 312-938-4303


Photograph: Chris Guillen