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Valentine's Day dinner

My boyfriend and I want to celebrate Valentine's Day somewhere unique. In the past few months, we've enjoyed restaurants such as Avec, Green Zebra, and Schwa. This year, we're looking for someplace particularly romantic, yet lacking in stuffiness. We were thinking of going out for fondue, but couldn't bring ourselves to go to the Melting Pot. Are there any exceptionally good fondue-specific restaurants in Chicago? Really, though, we're amenable to any cuisine. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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  1. Geja's Cafe in Lincoln Park has long been known for its romantic atmosphere.


    1. Beware restaurants on Valentine's Day. Some places use a "special menu", in which they jack up their prices much higher than usual.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Yes, we were aware (and wary) of that, but I usually stay in for Valentine's Day, so I wanted to do something different this year.

      2. For my birthday I was looking for something exactly as you described--great food without stuffiness. We wound up at Bistro Campagne, on Lincoln, just north of Montrose--hearty, yet elegant, french bistro food. It was truly lovely. The decor reminded me of Chez Panisse in Berkeley--dark wood paneling, candlelight, very romantic and everyone was very welcoming. The food was delicious, the service was good, pretty casual, and the meal ended up being VERY reasonable, and we ate and drank A LOT. We had a glass of champagne at the beautiful bar before we sat down and everything really was perfect. I would recommend it highly.

        1 Reply
        1. Geja's is the only non-chain fondue place I know in the city. I think there is another in the Northwest suburbs, but I don't know the name.

          If you decide you don't want fondue, Scylla might be a good option. It's small and intimate, with very good food, but not stuffy.

          2 Replies
          1. re: SuzMiCo

            I've never heard of Scylla, but I will definitely keep it on my list now!

            1. re: SuzMiCo

              I actually ended up going to Scylla this past weekend, and it was lovely! Thanks for the recommendation.

            2. There is another fondue place on Peterson, Fondue Stube. Not as romantic as Geja's. However, I will also caution against going on Valentine's Day. Places tend to be packed--I mean really packed. EVERYONE has very high expectations, servers tend to be rushed, the kitchen tends to be rushed, and what you're generally asking for is a disaster in the making. You may get lucky, but I wouldn't stake a nice, romantic evening on it. We learned the hard way a couple years ago and have not gone out on February 14 to celebrate Valentine's Day since. Just a thought...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Gypsy Boy

                I definitely understand the hesitation; I worked at a huge chain restaurant awhile ago and it was awful during the holidays. This V-Day may turn me off the idea of going out on holidays for good! We'll see, though.

              2. My wife and I go out often, and have eaten at several of the places you mentioned above; we also love the romantic dinner as much as the next guy. We have enjoyed Fondue at both Gejas and The Melting Pot. This sentiment may be against the grain, but we both enjoyed The melting pot more-- Their tables are more roomy, and the dining space more intimate than those of Gejas. Gejas also struck me as sort of loud both of the times we ate there. Also the whole place reeks considerably less of burning oil. You aso have the choice of cooking your food in vegi broth instead of oil-- somthing that my wife and I enjoyed alot.

                That being said, we had a great time eating at Gejas, and I guess it is more of a preference thing-- I mean how can you really go wrong diping fod into molten cheese, boiling oil, and melted chocolate!!

                On Valentines Day, I agree with the previous poster (gypsy boy)-- My wife and I have saved our $ for another day, and chosen to make a nice romantic dinner for eachother at home-- We pick the pace, no crowds, and we can eat in our PJ's!

                good luck!


                1 Reply
                1. re: coopercj

                  Thanks for the suggestion; Gejas looks like a good option to try at some point, if not on Valentine's Day.

                2. I would agree with the last post. Both are very nice.
                  Gejas is old world and has a fantastic cheese platter for a starter, as well as, the cheese fondue. The food is abundant at both and you won't leave hungry!
                  If you want a romantic dinner for two, the Melting Pot is the way to go. The booths or tables will provide a much more intimate setting. The Downtown location is very chic with a great bar area and excellent wine selections.
                  If you do not mind sharing your intimate, romantic conversation with the next table and if you don't mind your date smelling like oil, then Gejas will work nicely.

                  Try them both for two totally different experiences. But on Valentine's Day, I recommend the intimacy provided by the Melting Pot.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ahanatou

                    Hm ... thanks for the suggestion. I guess we wanted to try something new, since we've already been to the Melting Pot, but perhaps sometimes it's best to stick with the restaurants with which we're familiar.

                  2. A second for Fondue Stube. It is kind of kitschy but the place is very consistent and has that nice 70s feeling that fondue places should have.