Valentine’s Day Dining Options in the Chicago Area


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Enjoy a traditional Biryani prix-fixe menu from Bhoomi Modern Indian Grill this Valentine's Day.

Valentine’s Day Dining Options in the Chicago Area

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For Chicago restaurateurs and managers, COVID-19 and the cold winter are a waiting game — and they’re hoping special occasions like Valentine’s Day will help speed up the time.

Christopher Sullivan, owner and chef of Twilight Kitchen in Rogers Park, runs a flexible kitchen specializing in catering, delivery, special events and pop-up dinners. The restaurant veteran opened the kitchen last November and has made sure to adjust it to the times, constantly retooling and figuring out what works in a pandemic-era restaurant business.

However, he said the impact of COVID-19 was “brutal”.

Sullivan and many other restaurateurs are hoping Valentine’s Day will provide a much-needed boost to their pandemic-weary Chicago restaurants.

Unlike most Chicago restaurants, Sullivan is hosting an anti-Valentine’s Day dinner, aptly named “I Hate Love!” dinner. The meal will be a multi-course family feast. Sullivan said: “This is a place for anyone who wants to have a fun dinner with friends and bring a drink without thinking too much about what they might or might not miss if they weren’t in a relationship. ”

Sullivan said that as the omicron variant saw an increase in COVID-19 cases, he saw business decline and even had to cancel the New Year’s Eve event. This holiday season, he hopes to see a rebound.

Consumers remain wary of returning to dine-in restaurants: According to a recent survey by Morning Consult, only 43 percent of celebrants planned to eat at restaurants, compared with 69 percent who said the same before the pandemic.

“Valentine’s Day is always a big week for us,” said Adam Guillaume, director of operations at Geja’s Cafe, a Linkin Park location known for its romantic atmosphere.

“We’re also a place to celebrate, so people still celebrate anniversaries and birthdays and things like that,” Guillaume said. “So we still have business on weekends, but in terms of weekdays, we’re seeing a big drop.”

Enrique Torres, manager of Gemini, a modern American bistro in Linkin Park, says his restaurant has been doing better recently.

“I think people were scared at first,” Torres said, adding that the mask and vaccine regulations appeared to be hampering business a bit. “But lately, it’s pretty normal — it’s what most restaurants are at this time of year.

“In the midst of a severe pandemic we live in, we just want to make it as special as possible.”

Here are some Valentine’s Day dining options at local restaurants. Menu item descriptions are provided. Many restaurants require reservations, so check the website before you arrive.

Aba: West Loop Mediterranean restaurant serves a four-course mezze feast for two, including halloumi cheese with spicy turmeric cream and grapes, grilled shawarma shrimp kebabs with fennel and herb salad, crème brûlée and a bottle of Giuliana Prosecco for $139.95, plus tax and tip. The feast will be served from 12-14 February at 4pm. The restaurant also offers takeaway packages, available for pick-up or delivery throughout the weekend, including coconut rice and pomegranate nasi lemak, lemon dill basmati beef tenderloin kebab rice and Isot double chocolate cake. 302 North Green Street, abarestaurants.com/chicago

Andros Tavern: Chef Doug Psaltis will be offering a la carte Valentine’s Day specials from February 12-14. Dishes are designed to be shared for two and include oysters and caviar, seafood orzoto, biftekia with black truffle or the amazing whole roasted xinomavro duck, crispy on open embers and served in one of Greece’s richest red wines Slow roasted. 2542 N. Milwaukee Avenue, androstaverna.com

Avenue Steakhouse: Enjoy a three-course menu and special champagne in a romantic Hollywood-inspired restaurant. The Valentine’s Day dinner menu is $80 per person and includes Chef Johnny’s Onion Soup Fondue with Caramelized Onions, Veal Soup, Gruyere and Crostini. Lobster Bisque with Sweet Sherry Cream and Muffins; or an 8-ounce Butcher’s Filet Mignon. Choose strawberry cheesecake sticky toffee pudding for dessert. 817 West Lake Street, blvdchicago.com

Enjoy a traditional Biryani prix-fixe menu from Bhoomi Modern Indian Grill this Valentine's Day.

Enjoy a traditional Biryani prix-fixe menu from Bhoomi Modern Indian Grill this Valentine’s Day. Courtesy Bhoomi Modern Indian Grill

Bhoomi Modern Indian BBQ: The Loop restaurant offers a three-course fixed menu for takeaway, with two biryani options. The first course will include a spiced sweet potato and pomegranate salad, and the main course will be the traditional goat biryani or morel biryani (vegetarian options). Dessert options include Mango Coconut Cake or Paprika Flourless Belgian Chocolate Cake. The goat option is $100 for the three-course menu and the morels option is $125. Menu pickup will be available on February 12th and February 14th. Orders must be placed 48 hours in advance by contacting orders@eatbhoomi.com. 15 W. Washington St., Inside Urbanspace, Chihuo.com

Crab cellar: Restaurant serving unlimited steamed Maine lobster, blue crab dip and cocktail shrimp on February 14 from 4-7pm; $95 per person plus tax and tip. 1962 N. Halstead Street, Crab Cellar Network

Demera: Ethiopian Restaurant is offering a delicious three-course Valentine’s Day menu per person from February 11-14. It comes with vegan options. 4801 North Broadway, demerachicago.com

Emma: Dinner specialties throughout Valentine’s Weekend include filet truffle garlic yogurt, to-go options include pistachio and Aleppo pepper whipped feta, red wine sauce and truffle butter filet mignon, chocolate shortbread dough, and stills or Sparkling Choice Rose; $139.95. Takeaway orders must be placed by 5pm on February 10. 74 W. Illinois Street, emacicago.com

Found Kitchen + Social House serves shaved fennel and citrus salad.

Found Kitchen + Social House serves shaved fennel and citrus salad. ©www.neiljohnburger.com

Find Kitchen + Social Home: A set menu for two is available February 13-14 from 5:30 pm to 9 pm for $68.95 per person (plus drinks, tax and tip). The Cucumber Pomelo Fanny Bay Oysters are on the menu. Roasted red beets and rapini with bagna horsetail, shavings fennel, and citrus salad (pink grapefruit, caracalla orange, and mint); choose monkfish with spiced pumpkin puree, black garlic brown butter, and pickled walnuts for main course, or grilled whole-Japanese eggplant Served with yogurt tahini, lemongrass oil, kefir, mint and sesame seeds; or braised lamb shank, Gruyere fondue potatoes, fontina, melted with white wine and garlic; and dessert (to share) panna cotta, Kruger Farms cherry and graham cracker crumbles. 1631 Chicago Ave, Evanston, foundkitchen.com

Geja’s Cafe: This Linkin Park fondue cafe offers a romantic candlelit ambience, accompanied by the sounds of flamenco and classical guitar. The Valentine’s Day set menu is $130 per person and includes a main course selection of cheese fondue, beef tenderloin, Australian lobster tail and bay prawns, as well as dessert, Belgian chocolate fondue. 340 Armitage Avenue, gejascafe.com

Grapes and Grains: The intimate dining room features exposed brick, vintage chandeliers, Chesterfield sofas and dim lighting, serving a three-course menu for two February 11-12, featuring champagne toast, handcrafted charcuterie plate and chocolate covered strawberries. The reservation fee is USD 50 per person. 858 W. Lake Street, ggwestloop.com

Gemini: The Linkin Park restaurant offers a three-course pre-selected menu for $85 per person, in addition to the a la carte menu, it also offers fried oysters, wagyu beef tartare, lamb shank, and Alaskan halibut. 2075 North Lincoln Avenue, geminichicago.com

Porcellino: An à la carte menu of Italian-American comfort foods including prosciutto with aged balsamic vinegar and arugula, lobster ravioli with smoked ricotta and tomato cream sauce, Barolo braised pork ribs with garlic raw potatoes and strawberry cheesecake. Dining options vary in price. A takeaway menu is also available. 59 W. Hubbard Street, ilporcellinochicago.com

Kinzie Chophouse: Celebrating Feb. 14, the iconic steakhouse offers a five-course fixed-price menu for $120 per person, including Fruit de mer (oysters, shrimp cocktail, salmon sashimi, and accessories); with ginger and cardamom-scented butternut squash, served with goat cheese bruschetta; duck and quinoa cake, beetroot texture, porter/blackberry juice; plus an entree option (choose one) roast beef tenderloin with Xinomavro red wine glaze ; or beef cheek braised in Xinomavro red wine with smoked eggplant puree, onion sauce and cumin baby carrots; or orange Mio black cod fillet with chives/fennel and potato with sauce persilade; or ceal tagliata “au poivre” with fresh Mushroom and Sage Sauce, Roasted Broccoli and Potato/Parmigiano Foam. Desserts include passion fruit mousse, dark chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, cookie crumbs and kirsch, reservations required. 400 N. Wells, kinziechophouse.com

bin Laden: A deli cheese board for two, $85, includes five meats, four cheeses, and comes with homemade macaroons and chocolate truffles. Boards are available for pickup February 11-14. 2200 N. California Avenue, lardonchicago.com

mont amigabi: From February 10th to 16th, we will be offering a three-course special French feast for dine-in and to-go. For $65, enjoy Lobster Bisque, Braised Beef Short Ribs with Celery Root Puree, Butternut Squash and Gala Apple, and Raspberry Macarons for dessert. 2300 N Lincoln Avenue, monamigabi.com/chicago

Osteria Via Stato: Enjoy a multi-course dinner in the candlelit dining room or in a personal heated conservatory from February 12-14. The meal features Italian speckled with Pecorino Toscano and Bosc pears, sage and brown butter hand-rolled gnocchi, prime sirloin, butterscotch budino and more for $74.95 per person plus Tax (excluding gratuities). For a take-home option, place your order by 5pm on February 10th. 620 North State Street, osteriaviastato.com

press room: The restaurant offers a fixed-price Valentine’s Day package developed by Chef Noah Zamler. For $75 per person, guests can choose from the à la carte menu or add wine pairings for an additional $50 per person. Choose from heart-shaped beet ravioli, seafood tower, dry-cooked duck breast, and more. 1134 W. Washington Blvd, pressroomchicago.com

Premium crab and oyster pooh: Enjoy a New England-inspired seafood feast this Valentine’s Day weekend, including a four-course dinner, dine-in or to-go, including oysters, shrimp cocktail, tuna spines, cucumber Caesar salad, Alaskan king crab legs, coconut cake. The special price for a set meal for two is $139.95, plus tax (not including tip). An optional four-course wine pairing with your dinner is $39.95 per person, plus tax. 1962 North Halstead Street, qualitycrabandoysterbah.com

roca acor: A four-course sushi dinner including beef tartare, sashimi platter, lobster tempura and wagyu filet, with chocolate lava cake for dessert. The specials are available Feb. 13-14 for $124 per person, with the option to add a wine flight. Reservation required. 456 North Clark Street, rokaakor.com

RPM Italian: RPM Italian will be offering a la carte specials as well as regular menus on February 14, including specialties such as bluefin tuna carpaccio and juniper-smoked venison. Takeaway and delivery services will also be available. 52 West Street, Illinois, rpmrestaurants.com/rpm-italian-chicago

RPM Seafood: Discuss Veuve Clicquot’s champagne selection with master sommelier Jill Zimorski, subtly paired with dishes such as cured salmon carpaccio and winter black truffle risotto. Tickets are available for purchase at 7pm on February 12 and February 14 for $225 per person, plus tax (excluding gratuities). Additionally, RPM Seafood will be open for regular dine-in,…

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