Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Mar 23, 2009 06:39 PM

Need suggestion for romantic restaurant, impeccable food and service.

Looking for a place to take my husband for our anniversary. Price range around $300. Good service is a must. We have already been to Tru, Avec and Nomi. Any suggestions are appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My answer is the same as the topic just below yours in the forum listing, from someone else looking for a romantic place.

    For the most romantic restaurant, price no object, I really like Everest, one of the very best restaurants in Chicago. Like all of the very finest restaurants, the food (contemporary French-Alsatian cuisine from Chef Jean Joho) is fabulous. The service is impeccable; in fact, it's the finest service I've ever observed in any restaurant. What makes it even more romantic is the setting, at the top (40th Floor) of the Midwest Stock Exchange building, with the entire city spread out below. It's dressy (jackets required for gentlemen) and expensive (figure $130-220 per person including moderate wine/alcohol and tax/tip, unless you go for the pre-theater special menu, 3 courses for $50 at 5:00/5:30 every day they're open except Fridays). You can read a detailed report at

    For a somewhat more casual experience (e.g. business casual attire), North Pond is spectacular. The food (contemporary American cuisine from James Beard award nominee Chef Bruce Sherman) is again excellent, and the service good (although not really comparable to Everest or Tru). What distinguishes North Pond is its setting and history. It's located in the middle of Lincoln Park (the park itself, not just the neighborhood of the same name), facing its namesake pond with the city skyline looming over the opposite shore. The renovated building at one time was the warming shelter for ice skaters on the pond. The small front room has floor-to-ceiling windows with that gorgeous view. Even the rear room is romantic, with an open kitchen along the rear side of the room. Figure $90-110/person inclusive.

    Both of these are very special places, perfect for that special occasion. Both accept reservations on which you can check and make a last-minute reservation. (And on the off chance that doesn't show openings, it won't hurt to try phoning the restaurant to ask.)

    1. Spiaggia would also be a good choice - I've had romantic dinners there and found the food and service to be spectacular. I also requested a table by the window with a view of Michigan Avenue and it set the mood perfectly.

      1. Haven't been myself but Sixteen is getting great reviews for both food and service.

        1. Really, all of our very top tier restaurants - the previously-visited TRU and NoMI, as well as Everest, Alinea, Avenues, Charlie Trotter's, Spiaggia, L2O, and Les Nomades - should provide a high level of service, a luxurious setting, and impeccable food. I too have heard good things about Sixteen that may place it within this group.

          However, if that $300 threshold is for two people including wine/alcohol, tax, and tip, it's going to be impossible to achieve at Alinea and Trotter's, and difficult at most of the others, with NoMI, Everest, and L2O generally the least expensive in this very expensive group. Part of what distinguishes expensive restaurants like these is that high level of service - hordes of staff who seem invisible most of the time, but magically appear the instant even the slightest thing is needed.

          As to choosing among them, I've been somewhat disappointed by the food at L2O and Les Nomades; it was good, but not great. Alinea is a bit of a different experience, in a way that I would describe as more theatrical than romantic. Any of the rest should qualify, except for the qualified statement about meeting the stated budget. To the extent the view adds to the experience, add points for Everest, NoMI, and Spiaggia (and Sixteen, I've heard).

          1 Reply
          1. re: nsxtasy

            I would narrow the list to TRU, Everest, Avenues, Alinea, Spiaggia, possibly Trotters, but I haven't been in a while and there have been some negative reviews here. Just another opinion, of course.

            1. re: ms. chow

              I ate at L2O a couple of weeks ago. The only reason I would consider it is if you would enjoy its contemporary, luxurious decor; otherwise, the food was good but not great, and while the food service was excellent, the wine service was problematic. It's a good restaurant, but not up to the high standards set by its competitors mentioned above. I posted a detailed report on my dinner at

              1. re: ms. chow

                I'm with you ms. chow, I love L2O. I've been 3 times and it's been varying degrees of great each time. I would recommend one of the shorter tasting menus, as the longest menu is just too much food.

                BTW, L2O has also been nominated for a James Beard Award in the category of Best New Restaurant,

                1. re: jesteinf

                  We went last August and I agree with nsxtasy. It's nice but not great. I had no problem with the wine service but there was just an underlying something that seemed off. To this day I can't really put a finger on what just didn't seem right. I can say that this restaurant is not equal to Everest, Trotter's and all the other usual suspects.