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ROMANTIC CANDLELIGHT DINING

EVERYONE (AND EVERYTHING!) LOOKS BETTER BY CANDLELIGHT AT THESE ROMANTIC CHICAGO RESTAURANTS.

Impressing a new love or that special someone is easy to do in Chicago—home to many romantic restaurants made all the more intimate by the glow of candlelight. Reserve a table for two at one of these romantic eateries.

GEJA’S CAFE

©Geja's Cafe

Live classical guitar music, cozy curtained booths and candlelit tables set the scene for romance at Geja’s Cafe in Lincoln Park. For more than 50 years couples have celebrated special occasions at this wine cellar-like fondue restaurant, which was voted America’s Most Romantic Restaurant in a 2015 USA Today reader’s poll. Preparing a fondue meal together is key to the intimate dining experience. And everything is cooked in a sizzling fondue pot right at your table, from the creamy Swiss gruyere cheese appetizer to the velvety Belgian chocolate dessert (with fresh fruit, marshmallows and pound cake for dipping).

BAVETTE’S STEAKHOUSE & BAR

©Bavette's Steakhouse & Bar

More French bistro than steakhouse, Bavette’s feels like a throwback romantic rendezvous, with its red leather banquettes, Art Deco-style decor, lilting jazz and glowing candles scattered everywhere. The menu is old school as well, with selections that include a classic shrimp cocktail, baked blue crab cakes and ribeye steak frites. Toast your love with a champagne cocktail or share the sinful hot fudge sundae royale.

GILT BAR

©Gilt Bar

This River North hideaway beckons with dark leather booths, a gilded bar and soft, sexy candlelight. The contemporary American dishes are made for sharing, and include the signature tenderloin steak tartare, ricotta gnocchi and grilled farm chicken with roasted garlic. House craft cocktails include the Bee’s Knees (gin, lemon and honey). End your meal with a digestif like Campari or split a slice of diner-style lemon meringue pie.

SEPIA

©Sepia

Located in a former 1890s print shop, Sepia is all about elegant detail, from its Art Nouveau tile floor to the handcrafted millwork and vintage stemware. Subtle candlelight illuminates this stylish space, which manages to feel warm and welcoming as much as it does chic. Acclaimed Chef Andrew Zimmerman’s taps into local artisan growers for his seasonal menu items, such as the beef shank with okra, green tomatoes and blackberries. Creative libations include the Days of Wine and Roses (sake, gin, lemon, ginger and sparkling wine). Don’t miss delectable desserts like the peanut butter mousse with salted caramel and chocolate sorbet.

THE SIGNATURE ROOM AT THE 95TH

©The Signature Room at the 95th

Talk about a dining room with a view! Located on the 95th floor of 875 N Michigan (formerly the John Hancock Center), the Signature Room is known for its breathtaking city views, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows subtly illuminated by candlelight everywhere you turn. For 25 years, The Signature Room has been the go-to spot to pop the question in Chicago. Start with the raw bar for two (which includes a half Maine lobster) or save your appetite for the surf and turf. Split the flourless chocolate cake with pear chutney for dessert, or head upstairs to The Signature Lounge at the 96th for an after-dinner cocktail like the apropos Skyscraper (Bacardi rum with pineapple and cranberry juices). 

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