It’s been a busy year. With a government shutdown, a polar vortex, a mayoral election, and, you know, daily life to deal with, I can’t really blame anyone who didn’t make Valentine’s Day a top priority.
Don’t worry: I’ve got your back with some great ideas for how to impress your sweetie and have the most delicious V-Day possible.
Snag a hot table
Yes — a nice dinner is the most obvious way to celebrate the occasion, but it’s also one of the most fun. Lots of places are already booked or running special events, but there are still some great options left.
One of my favorite new spots of last year, Bar Biscay (1450 W. Chicago Ave., Noble Square), has tables available on the big day. Sepia (123 N. Jefferson St., West Loop), which can be both luxe and super romantic, also has some prime-time seats open. Steadfast (120 W. Monroe St., the Loop) has a great vibe for a date, and you can’t beat the food at Table, Donkey & Stick (2728 W. Armitage Ave., Palmer Square).
If you want to really impress, go order all the caviar at Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar (2700 W. Chicago Ave., Humboldt Park). It’ll be a good night for everyone.
Dine and shop
Not every Valentine’s Day has to involve a romantic dinner in a classic restaurant. Go for something delicious but still a bit quirky and offbeat, like dining and shopping. Why not try Eataly (43 E. Ohio St., River North)? Start by wandering and fantasy shopping, grab a glass of wine (or two) and a plate of oysters, and then head over to Osteria di Eataly, where you just happen to have a reservation (they're still available).
Soak in some casual dining vibes
Sometimes, the most memorable dinners can be the ones that aren’t in typically “romantic” places. You can make romance wherever you go if you try hard enough! That’s why I often love doing something casual or going somewhere with counter service, and elevating it with flowers or a nice bottle of wine.
You could go to Revival Food Hall (125 S. Clark St., the Loop) and stake out a cute table in the corner with some flowers or arrange a surprise romantic lunch at Tempesta Market (1372 W. Grand Ave., West Town). Just pick something you know your sweetie will love and throw in an extra romantic touch. I’ve dated guys who would have proposed on the spot if I suggested we gorge ourselves on Nando’s for Valentine’s Day.
Go Total Baller
I know I just said that casual was the way to go, but sometimes, you want to throw down a little for your significant other. I’m surprised they’re still available a week out, but the Milk Room (the intimate eight-seat cocktail bar at the Chicago Athletic Association) still has tickets for an amazing Valentine’s program. For $200 a person, enjoy a special set of Paul McGee-crafted cocktails, a seafood platter, a charcuterie platter, and a box of chocolates to take home. Plus, experience one of the most intimate and exclusive atmospheres in the city.