A Valentine’s Day Guide to Chicago

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For all you lovebirds out there, that special day is quickly approaching. The day that can make or break a blooming relationship or add some much needed sparks to a more established one. I’m talking about February 14 of course, also known as Valentine’s Day. Now I know lots of people think it’s a commercialized holiday that was invented to make you spend money, but guess what…it doesn’t matter what you think! Chances are at least one person in the relationship values that day and wants it to be a day and/or night to remember. And if you happen to be in one of these situations, going to Target the day before to pick out a card and whatever left over box of chocolates they have just won’t cut it. Because I’m a good guy and I know the struggle that is Valentine’s Day planning, I have compiled an incredible list of Chicago Valentine’s Day ideas. No matter what phase of the relationship you’re in – i.e. puppy love, serious relationship, marriage, etc. – I’m sure there is something on the list for you. Don’t miss the sweet list of featured treats from Magnolia Bakery at the bottom!


Eddie Merlot’s

The premier steakhouse Eddie Merlot’s is the perfect setting for couples that can’t confine their love to just one day. From Monday, February 10 to Sunday, February 16, guests have a chance to prolong their culinary love affair with an array of classic dishes, including Twin Lobster Tails, Bison Rib-eye Steak topped with in maître d’hôtel butter, and a housemade Peanut Butter Cup. Lovebirds can raise a glass to Saint Valentine, with specialty pours of Joseph Drouhin Chorey-les-Beaune Burgundy, available by the glass and by the bottle. All menu items are offered a la carte at Chicagoland Eddie Merlot’s locations in Burr Ridge (201 Bridewell Dr., Burr Ridge, IL), Lincolnshire (185 N. Milwaukee Ave., Lincolnshire, IL) and Warrenville (28254 Diehl Rd., Warrenville, IL). For a full menu of offerings, or to make reservations, please visit www.eddiemerlots.com.

Filini Bar and Restaurant

Filini Bar & Restaurant (221 N. Columbus Dr.) celebrates the most romantic day of the year with the “Share the Love” Valentine’s Day menu. At $75 per person, hopeless romantics can indulge in a four-course dinner accompanied by a complimentary bottle of Prosecco. The menu caters to seafood and meat lovers with options like Lobster Bisque with lobster meat and prawn; Filet Mignon with polenta, wild mushrooms, and a red wine reduction; Lobster with vegetable risotto; and a choice between Chocolate and White Mousse Cake or Amaretto Ricotta Cheesecake to top off the meal. Filini is open on Valentine’s Day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m. with the special holiday menu offered for dinner from 5-11 p.m. Guests can make reservations by calling 312.477.0234 or online at www.filinichicago.com. For more on Filini, visit Facebook and Twitter.

Howells and Hood

Spend this Valentine’s Day enjoying a romantic meal at Howells & Hood (435 North Michigan). Dine with your loved one and nosh on savory seafood dishes such as King Crab Bisque with apple crème fraiche ($12) or Fruit de Mer Risotto, highlighting celery root, wild mushroom, king crab, scallop, lobster, and winter truffle ($32). It wouldn’t be a Valentine’s Day without chocolate, so the restaurant offers a decadent special dessert: Chocolate Puff Pastry with charred blood orange curd, dark chocolate cardamom ganache, pistachio fennel meringue, and topped with a delicate Cava espuma ($10). The offer is available Friday, February, 14 and Saturday, February, 15 from 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling 312.262.5310 or online at howellsandhood.com. For more on Howells & Hood, visit their Facebook or Twitter.


This Valentine’s Day, guests kick off their meal at Kabocha (952 W. Lake) with Beef Heart Tartare from Chef Shin Thompson. The Japanese Brasserie invites diners to celebrate with an indulgent six-course meal featuring Scallop & Crab Motoyaki, Roasted Peking Glazed Pheasant with abalone mushroom and baby beets, and Strawberry Yuzu Cheescake with chamomile ice cream. Kabocha’s special Valentine’s menu is $75 per person, and $35 for beverage pairings, exclusive of tax and gratuity. The menu is available Friday, February 14 from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 312.666.6214. For more on Kabocha, please visit www.kabochachicago.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

Lawry’s The Prime Rib

At Lawry’s The Prime Rib (100 E. Ontario St., Chicago) valentines are greeted with a red rose welcome gift and a three-course meal including traditional steakhouse dishes such as Lawry’s Famous Spinning Bowl Salad; Prime Ribs of Beef with mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and creamed corn and spinach; or Roasted Scottish Salmon with sweet pepper-ginger medley, Swiss chard, and fingerling potatoes. Guests can satisfy their sweet tooth with a Red Velvet Torte, while sipping on a complimentary glass of Champagne, house wine, or specialty cocktail. Promotion is offered February 13-16 for $125 per couple, plus tax and gratuity. Valentine’s Day hours are from 5 p.m. to close. Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling 312. 787.5000 or visiting LawrysOnline.com. For more on Lawry’s The Prime Rib Chicago, visit Facebook and Twitter.


Chef Joseph Rose of Lockwood Restaurant serves up romance with his elegant tasting menu for Valentine’s Day. Lovers will enjoy an eight-course tasting menu including Oysters with ginger dressing; Truffled Potato Leek Soup; and Black Bass with mushrooms and cilantro in a tom yum broth. For dessert, Pastry Chef Fabrice Bouet prepares a Strawberry Twist with rose gelato and chocolate, and Chocolate Cake with white chocolate mousse, bananas, mascarpone, and coconut gelato. The tasting menu is offered at $120 with wine pairings available for an additional $40. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 312.917.3404.


Who: Found

What: Experience some of history’s greatest love affairs with Executive Chef Nicole Pederson’s inventive lineup of dishes inspired by five famous duos who truly spoke the language of love, as evidenced by the quotes couples will find inscribed on their Valentine’s Day menus.

Where: 1631 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL

Menu Standouts: Raw Oysters and Fried Escabeche (John Lennon and Yoko Ono); Spicy Fried Hominy with crema, fresh chilies, and cilantro (Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera); Cudighi Sausage with winter greens and sourdough (Robert and Elizabeth Browning); Poulet Rôti with herbs, butter, and winter vegetables (Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre); and Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Bacon (Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton).

Price: Cost is $65 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity, with optional wine pairings for an additional $35.

Reservations: Required and may be made by calling 847.868.8945.


Who: Sepia

What: For those looking to celebrate love at a less formal affair, Head Bartender Griffin Elliott offers a special Valentine’s Day Reserve Cocktail Menu. Each craft cocktail features enticing aphrodisiacs and seasonal citrus, an intoxicating combination that complements Sepia’s sexy vibe and special prix-fixe menu.

Where: 123 N. Jefferson St.

Price: Drinks are $16 each, exclusive of tax and gratuity.

Reservations: Recommended and may be made by calling 312.441.1920.

Perennial Virant

Who: Perennial Virant

What: Treat that special someone to an evening of sweet and savory indulgences with a decadent four-course dinner created by James Beard Award-nominated Chef Paul Virant in the heart of Lincoln Park.

Where: 1800 N. Lincoln Ave.

Menu Standouts: Lobster Pierogi with  lobster  broth, citrus, and basil; Gunthrop Farm Duck Combo, prepared smoked and confit, with ground cherry aigre-doux; CDK Beef Tenderloin with blue cheese flan, red wine beef sauce, onion soubise, and Bordeaux spinach; and ending with an unforgettable Cookies and Cream dessert.

Price: Cost is $75 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity, with optional wine pairings for an additional $25.

Reservations: Recommended and may be made by calling 312.254.4672.


Who: Vie

What: James Beard Award-nominated Chef Paul Virant will wow guests with a rustic five-course tasting menu showcasing the season’s best ingredients along with unique flavors from around the globe in an intimate and elegant setting.

Where: 4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs, IL

Price: Cost is $115 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity, with optional wine pairings for an additional $55.

Reservations: Required and may be made by calling 708.246.2082.




At Azzurra (1467 North Milwaukee) Valentine’s Day diners can start their meal off with one of Azzurra’s specialty cocktails including Sgroppino, a frothy cocktail made with housemade lemon sorbet, prosecco, vodka, and mint ($9) or Bacio, made with Hendrick’s Gin, Thyme simple syrup, blood orange, soda ($9). Azzurra will also present its seasonal a la carte menu – featuring favorites such as Grilled Octopus with potatoes, red onion, chilis, lemon and olive oil ($11), Bucatini Amatriciana with guanciale, chillis, tomato, red onion pecorino ($14) and Chianti-Braised Beef Short Rib with Brussels sprouts, pancetta, soft polenta($19) – as well as a special prix-fixe menu ($30 per person), which will include:

First Course

Choice of:

Spinach Salad with Roasted Mushrooms & Pancetta Vinaigrette or

Tuna Carpaccio

Second Course

Choice of:

Lobster Bisque or

Beet Ravioli with Butter, Parmigianino & Black Sesame Seeds

Third Course

Choice of:

Veal Saltimbocca with Spiced Potatoes or

Crab, Fregola, and Spinach-Stuffed Rainbow Trout with Preserved lemon vinaigrette

To finish off the meal, Azzurra will be serving Zuccoto for the weekend, a traditional dome-shaped chocolate cream-filled cake ($7).

Reservations for Valentine’s Day are highly recommended and can be made online or by calling (773) 278-5959.



401 North Wabash

(312) 588-8000

Executive Chef Thomas Lents of Sixteen promises an unforgettable dining experience this Valentine’s Day. While dining under the sparkle of the restaurant’s four-tiered Swarovski crystal chandelier, guests will enjoy unparalleled views of the city with panoramic views of Chicago’s famous skyline, the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.

A special seven-course Valentine’s Dinner Menu will be served Friday, February 14 through Sunday, February 16. Menu highlights include a crudo of Maine diver scallop with uni butter and blood orange; 45-minute oyster with Ossestra caviar and salsify cream; soft poached farm egg with black winter truffle rice; and langoustine and buckwheat pasta with seaweed vin jaune nage.

Created for sharing, main courses will serve two with options of whole roasted poussin with foie gras, savoy cabbage and porcini; and waygu ribeye with bone marrow, oxtail custard and caramelized brussel sprouts.

The seven-course menu costs $185 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. A special Champagne pairing may be added for a total cost of $310 as well as a premium wine pairing that features the Coravin wine system for a total cost of $935. Dinner is served at Sixteen nightly from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m. To view menus or to make reservations, please visit the restaurant online or call (312) 588-8030.

Roka Akor


456 N Clark St

(312) 477-7652

Romance and Roka Akor go hand in hand this Valentine’s Day. Roka Akor invites guests to celebrate the day of love with an expertly crafted tasting menu of fresh sushi, premium seafood and succulent steak all in a chic and sexy setting. Roka Akor will feature a five-course tasting menu from Executive Chef Brett Vibber available from Thursday, February 13 to Sunday, February 16. The menu is priced at $125 per person, and beverage pairings (guests’ choice of wine or sake) can be added for $40.

First Course: Shrimp Shooter with Yuzu and Cherry Blossom and Truffle and Sweet Corn Souffle.

Sake/Wine Pairing: Deep Water Sake/ NV Henriot Brut Rose, Champagne, France

Second Course: Lobster Sashimi with Ikura, Lime and Lobster Oil and Cured King Salmon Maki with Avocado and Uni Aioli

Sake/Wine Pairing: Chrysanthemum Water Sake/ 2009 Los Triolet Pinot Gris, Vallee D’Aoste, Italy

Third Course: Robata Grilled Yuan Marinated Halibut with Grilled Cherry Tomato and Sun Choke Chips and Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Wafu Dressing and Bonito Flakes

Sake/Wine Pairing: D-Y 50 Sake/ 2006 Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling, Alsace, France

Fourth Course: Robata Grilled Austrian Tajima Wagyu Beef and Ginger Soy Glazed Baby Potatoes

Sake/Wine Pairing: Demon Slayer Sake/ 2009 Markham Philanthropist Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, CA 

Fifth Course: Delight Chocolate Lover’s Cake with Jasmine Tea Filling

Sake/Wine Pairing: Crazy Milk Sake/ 1998 Domaine De Rancy, Rivesaltes Ambre, France

mk The Restaurant


868 N. Franklin

(312) 482-9179

For the holiday of love, mk the Restaurant has developed a special tasting menu. Guests looking to dine in an atmosphere filled with romance can enjoy the following menu and wine pairing options the evening of February 14.

Valentine’s Day Tasting Menu

prosciutto: shaved la quercia prosciutto, frisée, ricotta cheese, pickled red onion, cracked hazelnuts, new olive oil

2011 Scarpetta, Friulano, Friuli Colli Orientali

crab: warm alaskan king crab, citrus poached fennel, shaved watermelon radish, saffron aioli, fennel pollen

2011 Loimer, Riesling, Kamptal

kobe:kobe ribeye grilled over hardwood charcoal, crushed yukon gold potatoes, wilted swiss chard, roast garlic purée, hen of the wood mushrooms, rosemary scented bordeaux sauce

2008 Château Villa Bel-Air, Graves

chocolate passion: chocolate ganache, passion fruit sabayon, chilies

cocoa nib crumble, coconut-lime sorbet

2011 San Giuliano, Moscato d’Asti

The special menu will cost $79 per person, $119 with wine pairings, exclusive of tax and gratuity. For reservations, please call (312) 482-9179.


Talbott Hotel and Little Market Brasserie


The Talbott Hotel (20 East Delaware Place) and Little Market Brasserie introduce Love Notes this Valentine’s Day where everyone feels the love. Book an overnight stay at the Gold Coast boutique hotel on February 14 and enjoy a special 4-course menu for two at Little Market Brasserie that evening. On Valentine’s Night all guests dining at the hotel’s popular restaurant will receive a special “love note” offering a variety of prizes to redeem from the restaurant or hotel on a future visit. Prizes include:

Complimentary One-Night Stay in a One-Bedroom Suite at The Talbott Hotel

plus Breakfast in Bed from Little Market Brasserie

20% off your entire check at Little Market Brasserie

50% off the food portion of your check at Little Market Brasserie

Ice Cream tasting served family style for up to five guests

Complimentary bottle of wine under $50

And more!

Rates for a Standard King Room and 4-course dinner for two starting at $275. Love Notes package is only available on February 14. To book guests must call 312-944-4970. Please see the Valentine’s Day menu below.


Beverages must be purchased separately from the dinner menu. Tax and gratuity are not included. For more information on The Talbott Hotel’s Valentine’s Day Love Notes package please visit www.talbotthotel.com.

Godfrey Hotel Chicago

This Valentine’s Day, The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, opening on February 1, 2014, offers couples the chance to upgrade to a romantic suite for just $1 when they book a standard room. Guests may also book the Romance Package to celebrate their significant other with a complimentary bottle of wine and breakfast for two, or enjoy the Spa Relaxation Package for a 60-minute couples massage and $50 voucher to I|O Urban Roofscape. For more information on amenities, suites, and more visit www.godfreyhotelchicago.com, Facebook or Twitter.

JW Marriott Chicago

For Valentine’s Day, the JW Marriott Chicago (151 W. Adams) offers perfect pairs the opportunity to meet their culinary match with the Wine Him/Her Over package. Within luxury accommodations at the landmark hotel in the heart of Chicago’s Loop, couples enjoy an in-room JW Wine Ambassador Pairing of three bites specially crafted by Executive Chef Michael Reich to match the wine varietal of the month. Each JW Wine Ambassador Pairing is presented on a tasting mat and accompanied by expert tasting insights from the JW Wine Ambassador Team—the perfect souvenir of the weekend. A 50-minute couple’s massage in the deluxe suite of the VALEO spa, in addition to free parking, late checkout, and in-room breakfast for two complete the relaxing, romantic getaway. The Wine Him/Her Over package is available February 13-16 and can be booked by calling 312.660.8200 or online with the code VADD. Package rates begin at $478.

Kinzie Hotel

For lovers looking for a bit of excitement mixed with romance, visitors of the Kinzie Hotel (20 W. Kinzie St.) can take advantage of the newly renovated property’s Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang package. The package includes deluxe overnight accommodations, as well as a $100 dining credit to the guest’s choice of Chicago’s most romantic destinations including Keefer’s Steakhouse, Kinzie Chophouse, and the Tortoise Club. Additionally, guests purchasing the package will receive an in-room floral arrangement and two tickets to the Untouchables Tour. The Kinzie Hotel is currently taking reservations for its February launch via the Amalfi Hotel website at www.amalfihotelchicago.com or by phone at 877.262.5341. For more on Kinzie Hotel, visit www.kinziehotel.com, or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Radisson Blu Aqua

This Valentine’s Day, the Radisson Blu Aqua (221 N. Columbus Dr.) pulls out all the stops to ensure a romantic evening (fit for a proposal!). With Valentine’s Day falling on a Friday this year, couples can enjoy a full weekend of romance without even leaving the hotel. The Do Not Disturb package offers a dinner for two and a movie screening of the star-studded rom-com “Valentine’s Day” in the hotel’s very own movie theatre so guests can avoid the overcrowded theatres around the city. In the room, a jelly bath, aromatherapy scented sticks, and a bottle of Prosecco await. Last but not least, the package provides lovebirds with access to the Business Class floor, at which they can indulge in complimentary hot breakfast, snacks and refreshments throughout their stay. Rates start at $349 per night and reservations can be made online at www.radissonbluchicago.com or by calling 800.333.3333.


Make this Valentine’s Day special with a romantic Chillcation—an escape solely dedicated to chilling and detaching from the winter monotony with a quick jaunt to unwind, relax, and reset. Participating hotels Conrad Chicago (521 N. Rush St.), Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan Ave.), and Palmer House Hilton (17 E. Monroe St.) offer Just Chillin’ packages to help guests fall in love all over again. Guests can enjoy perks such as complimentary breakfast for two, free or discounted parking, a selection of DVDs for in-room movie nights, and two Chillcation insulated mugs to receive unlimited refills for coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Rates start at $103 per night. Visit www.chillcation.com to book.

Allerton Hotel

A gift from the Allerton Hotel (701 N. Michigan Ave.) to lovers everywhere, the It Must Be Love package is available throughout February so couples can celebrate their love in the heart of the city any of the 28 days of the month including Valentine’s Day. With accommodations in a luxurious hotel room, guests can take in the view of the Magnificent Mile, while enjoying chilled champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Also included is late checkout at 2 p.m. so guests can sleep in and wake up to a romantic breakfast in bed. Rates start at $154 per night and reservations can be made online www.theallertonhotel.com or by calling 312.440.1500.


Red Velvet Cake

Magnolia Bakery, the famed American bakery’s Chicago location in Block 37 on State Street, has announced its Valentine’s Day dessert options for the most romantic time of the year. 

Sugar Cookies: Three heart-shaped buttery sugar cookies in three sizes, covered in red and pink sanding sugar. $6/bag

Magnolia Bakery’s Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes: A dense, rich fudgy chocolate cupcake topped with light and fluffy pink vanilla bean meringue buttercream. $3.50 each.

The Love Note Box: Sweep someone off their feet with six utterly charming classic vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream that spell out your L-O-V-E. Wrapped in pale pink tulle and sweetly tied with bakery twine and a vintage tag. $32.00. Available in stores only and for advanced orders only.

Red Velvet Cake: Magnolia Bakery’s famous cake made red with coca, a little vanilla and a lot of southern mystery. With it’s own special whipped vanilla icing (pink icing available upon request). 6″ 3-layer $36, 9″ 3-layer, $65. Available in store only.

“Sweet Sayings” Cupcakes: A sinfully rich devil’s food cupcake, topped with chocolate ganache and a sweet saying inscribed on top. $3.50 per cupcake.

Valentine’s Day Cupcakes: Vanilla, chocolate or red velvet cupcakes with chocolate or vanilla buttercream, beautifully decorated with red and white hearts, Valentine picks and sprinkles. $3.50 per cupcake. Available online or in store.

Magnolia Bakery’s Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes: A dense, rich fudgy chocolate cupcake topped with light and fluffy pink vanilla bean meringue buttercream. $3.50 each.

“Sweet Sayings” Cupcakes: A sinfully rich devil’s food cupcake, topped with chocolate ganache and a sweet saying inscribed on top. $3.50 per cupcake. Available online and in stores.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies: Two heart-shaped mini red velvet cakes, sandwiched with pink whipped vanilla icing. $3.50

Individual Ice Box Cakes: $4.00 – A personal portion of our handmade chocolate wafers layered with freshly whipped sweet cream or strawberry puree whipped sweet cream. Sprinkled with pink, red, and white hearts.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pie: $3.50

White or pink vanilla buttercream sandwiched between two handmade mini red velvet cakes.

Lil’ Bits of Love: One dozen of our classic chocolate and vanilla minicupcakes with pink and white vanilla buttercream, decorated with red, pink and white hearts.