Non-Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner
My girl friends have all broken up with their boyfriends in the last two weeks. (It's been interesting) They're looking to me to find a fun/good food/non-romantic place for dinner. I'm at a loss. Does anyone have any suggestions?
I'd like to the following:
- Lincoln Park, Old Town, River North, Bucktown/Wicker Park location
- Full bar (cocktails will be a must)
- Not a romantic decor
- I'd like to avoid a pre-fix menu, if possible
- Great food - It doesn't have to be fancy, but I'd like the pasta be homemade if we're going Italian, the steak to be dry aged if we're going steak, etc
I'm having trouble focusing on what would be considered "non-romantic". For example, I generally consider restaurants that are spacious and quiet, offering a bit more intimacy, to be more romantic - but I also realize that many people feel that places that are more crowded and noisy are romantic, too.
My first inclination would be a place like Carnivale, which I realize isn't exactly in the geography you've specified, although it's not far from River North. Fun, noisy, great Latin fusion food. I see from their website ( www.carnivalechicago.com ) that they are having a few specials in addition to their regular menu.
What about Hugo's, for great seafood? They also have great steaks - same ownership (and same kitchen, I think) as Gibson's next door, but a bit less "clubby" and could be considered not as romantic. Serving their regular menu on the 14th. www.hugosfrogbar.com
Greek restaurants in Greek Town are usually fun and not necessarily romantic, although they're in the West Loop, not exactly in the area you specified but not far. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/119233
I would avoid Italian or steakhouses, as they're often considered romantic and are the most likely places to be full of couples.
Here are some thoughts from a girl-type person, but with a caveat: that for me good food is what makes it romantic. At least these are places that aren't totally dark and divided by lots of tables for two.
Feast in Bucktown
Crust in Wicker Park
John's on Webster (Lincoln Park? DePaul?)
Penny's either in DePaul or Wicker Park
Hatchi's Kitchen for sushi in Logan Square
Friendship Chinese in Logan Square
Kamahachi for sushi in Old Town
Adobo Grill in Old Town
Vinci on Halsted in Lincoln Park
chicgail's mention of a couple of places in Logan Square reminded me of another perfect place in that area - Fonda del Mar, for creative provincial Mexican food. Great food, lots of fun, bright colors (not dark at all) and not all full of tables for two. I see they've recently updated their website at www.fondaonfullerton.com and it now has a perfect (i.e. accurate) description of the atmosphere and the food. Just perfect for a fun, non-romantic dinner.