The words Valentine’s Day can strike fear into the hearts of the best of us. Spend a fortune or ignore it? Make jokes about it or take it seriously? Flowers or candy? A night on the town...or a romantic dinner at home? How much is too much? Is a card enough?
Whether you are single or married or just want to celebrate with your family or friends, Valentine’s Day is not going anywhere. So as any good Boy Scout will tell you it’s important to “Be Prepared.”
“Chicago Eats” is here to help.
For the chocolate lover
Is a piece of cake enough? Maybe, if it’s from Portillo’s--and it’s their famous chocolate cake. Better yet, if it’s Heat-Shaped. Baked fresh daily, the single-layer chocolate iced cake will be available at locations across Chicagoland. Heart-Shaped cakes will be available for purchase in-store February 7-16. Guests are encouraged to pre-order the cakes beginning on January 14 by visiting portillos.com or calling 1-866-YUM-BEEF.
The Chocolate Bar at Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel will be open Feb.14 - Feb. 16. $45 per person. A long standing tradition at Chicago's Peninsula Hotel is “Chocolate at The Pen,” where visitors can devour all they can eat chocolate from the hotel Chocolate Buffet in The Lobby.
Stan’s Donuts & Coffee is offering a variety of VD treats including: Chocolate Turtle Cake Donut (a classic vanilla cake donut topped with chocolate, caramel pecans and chocolate drizzle), Valentine's Day Themed Sprinkle Donuts and chocolate-covered Red Velvet Donuts. Available February 2 - February 14.
FOR THE FOODIE COUPLE
A French-Kissed Valentine’s Prix-Fixe At Cafe Cancale
Eat Your Heart Out at avec at their Valentine’s Day Dinner
Midwest-Inspired Seven-Course Valentine’s Day Menu At Blackbird
OR check out the “What We Love” Prix Fixe Menu at Publican
FOR THE HANDS-ON, DYNAMIC DUO
FOR FLOWER LOVERS
Head to the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Orchid Show featuring 10,000 brilliant blooms in unexpected ways: via a towering kaleidoscope, a floating carpet, and a dramatic chandelier, designed to be lit and transformed by the winter sun. The show also offers a weekend marketplace, special events and more. February 8 through March 26. 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe.
DINING SPECIALS AROUND TOWN
Acadia (1639 S. Wabash Ave.) Chef Ryan McCaskey’s two Michelin-starred South Loop fine dining restaurant welcomes lovers and friends to a Four-Course Valentine’s Day Tasting Menu.
Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan Ave.) Visit Spain without having to leave the South Loop. Mercat a la Planxa’s Valentine’s Day tasting menu, For the Love of Spain, which features six courses inspired by cities in Spain.
SafeHouse Chicago (60 E. Ontario St.) The restaurant and bar clandestinely located in River North invites guest to put their love to test with a serious of spy-themed challenges. Once inside guests can also indulge in SafeHouse’s signature Love Potion ($15) shared cocktail - a potent red-hued drink for two or their Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu featuring Grilled Shrimp, Caesar Salad with fried capers and peppered crostinis, and a New York Strip Steak with red wine butter and spaghetti squash alfredo.
The Signature Room (875 N. Michigan Ave.) Celebrate V-day with unparalleled views of the city, where Executive Chef Cardel Reid offers a four-course prix fixe menu from 5-11 p.m. Dinner begins with a choice of a Raw Bar For Two, Braised Short Rib, or Roasted Vegetable Platter; followed by soup or salad – Lobster Bisque or Tuscan Kale Salad; entrée choices include Pan Seared Sea Bass, Seared Scallops, Half Roasted Chicken, Grilled Filet of Beef, Roasted Lamb Shank, or Butternut Squash & Sage Ravioli; finished with a chefs’ Valentine Cookie for two. The Valentine’s Day menu is available on Friday, February 14 for $125 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Pricing includes one glass of Signature Room Sparkling Wine or sparkling grape juice.
Travelle at The Langham (330 N. Wabash Ave.) Travelle at The Langham is featuring Chef Jeff Vucko’s romance-inspired prix fixe menu. Start the evening with the “First Date” amuse bouche, showcasing a French Kiss Oyster. The first course, “Make My Heart Melt,” features lobster bisque, brioche, and whipped crème fraîche. The following course, “First Kiss” offers tuna niçoise, haricot verts, asparagus, tomato, and quail egg. Next, “Treat Me Like Royalty, I’m Falling for You” incorporates dover sole, caramelized cauliflower and is topped with Ossetra Royale caviar. “Nuts About Wag-You” features Wagyu tri tip, celery root and apple puree, roasted carrot, kumquat, hazelnut, and chervil. Finally, to end the evening, Pastry Chef Danielle Marelli presents “It’s What’s Inside That Counts”: a chocolate raspberry profiterole with roasted cocoa-whipped ganache, coconut foam, and raspberry ice cream.
WoodWind (259 E. Erie St., 18th floor) Woodwind’s Executive Chef Don Young offers a six-course dinner menu from 5-10 p.m. at the contemporary American restaurant perched 18 stories above Streeterville. The prix fixe menu includes Sable Fish with Champagne, brioche, and shiso; Capellini with black truffle, chives, and potato; Short Rib with passionfruit caramel, kabocha, and pickled slaw; and Milk Chocolate with almond, blood orange, and lemon basil. A shared cocktail for two is also on special for $28: Cupid’s Potion is made with Knob Creek small batch bourbon, Rosehip liqueur, Amaro Montenegro, and Aztec chocolate bitters. The Valentine’s Day menu is available on Friday, February 14 for $95 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Wine pairings are available for an additional $45 per person.
The Smith. The River North hotspot is keeping it casual this Valentine’s day with a specialty Valentine’s Day cocktail in addition to their a-la-carte dinner menu, in a location perfect for anyone attending a show following. The love-inspired cocktail blends gin, aperol, vanilla, raspberry, cassis and sparkling rosé into a beautiful pinkish hu ($13.50)
Bar Biscay . The West Town neighborhood’s ‘oasis of joy’ is celebrating with a six-course menU highlighting the comforting cuisine of the French countryside by award-winning Chef Alisha Elenz. The prix-fixe features choice of pan-seared scallops with mushroom risotto or bolognese, as well as roasted chicken with jus and an apricot, sage and pistachio chutney, or salmon en croute with asparagus, sherry cream and dill as mains, with a chocolate crepe cake for dessert. $75 per person with optional beverage pairings for $25. Reservations can be made through barbiscay.com.
V-DAY AT TIME OUT MARKET
- Trivia @ Tony's (Feb. 13): Hosted at Time Out Market's third-floor rooftop bar, participants will be treated to six rounds of love-themed questions and everyone on the winning team will snag a complimentary ticket to the Laugh Factory in Lakeview, courtesy of Brain Sportz Trivia. Plus, Time Out Market is sweetening the deal this month by giving the two winning teams Time Out Market cards.
- Floral Pop-Up Shop with Flowers for Dreams (Feb. 13 and 14): From 11am-7pm both days, Time Out Market Chicago will be hosting a floral market with Flowers for Dreams, located in the Demo Kitchen area on the 2nd floor.
- Valentine's Date Night (Feb. 14): Time Out Market Chicago is taking the pressure off of Valentine’s Day planning, offering food from 18 of the city’s best chefs and restaurateurs. The market team will take care of setting the mood with select tables decorated with candles, roses and special treats. Guests can end the night with a glass of wine at the bar and heart-shaped, raspberry-studded brownies from Sugar Cube. Register here.
- Raising the Barre: Date night + mixology class (Feb. 18): Couples will work it out and then stir it up at this 30-minute full-body workout class from Pure Barre, which focuses on low-impact, high-intensity movements. After working up a sweat, they will learn how to build one of Time Out Market’s signature cocktails with the pros behind the bar. Wear comfy workout clothes and bring your yoga mats. Tickets are $38 and can be purchased here.
NOT A FAN OF VALENTINE’S DAY
Recess. Whether you’re a single or a pair, if you hate Valentine’s Day, don’t miss the Anti-Valentine’s Day Stupid Cupid party at Recess in the West Loop on Friday, February 14. The party will feature pitch-black cocktails (available in party-sized water coolers) along with a special "Eat Your Feelings" menu filled with all the comfort food you crave. Release any anger and frustration with customizable inflatable punching bags available to be punched or posed with for pictures. In the mood to really break a heart? Recess will have heart-shaped pinatas filled with surprises for guests to tear apart. This event is open to the public, no ticket required. Reservations suggested through chicagoinrecess.com/
WHY GO HOME
Hotel Julian (168 N. Michigan Ave.)
Hotel Julian is creating a fairytale celebration for couples this Valentine’s Day with its “Cultured and Cuffed” romance package. Upon booking this package, guests can choose one of three offers inspired by the love stories of famous Chicago couples, including:
- Barack and Michelle Obama: Recreate their first date at The Art Institute
- Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone: Find love in laughter at The Second City
- Famed Architect Benjamin Marshall and Elizabeth Walton: Become immersed in Chicago’s architecture at the Chicago Architecture Center
CELEBRATE GALENTINES WITH THE GIRLS
Untitled Supper Club . All the single ladies are invited to Untitled Supper Club which is now on Thursday, February 13th! Don’t miss the special Galentine’s Boylesque and drag show, All The Single Ladies, featuring Chicago’s sexiest male burlesque performers, circus, contortion, aerial and variety performers, along with very special drag queen guests. The show starts at 8pm, reservations are encouraged.
JW Marriott Chicago (151 W. Adams St.) Get your girlfriends together and spend some quality, relaxing time with their Galentine’s Celebration Spa Day. Choose the Gal-entine’s Mini-Celebration package, which offers a choice of one 50-minute Signature Spa Service along with culinary and wine offerings to enjoy within a private suite. For a little something extra special this Valentine’s Day, choose the Luxurious Gal-entine’s Celebration, which includes choice of one elevated 80-minute Signature Spa Service inclusive of one enhancement followed by a luxurious Spa Manicure and Pedicure along with culinary and wine offerings to enjoy in a private suite. Contact Spa at JW Chicago for more information by calling 312.660.8250 to make a reservation.
Topaz Cafe will be offering a special Valentine's Day menu for $69.95 per person. This will only be offered on Friday, February 14 and the regular dinner menu won't be available. Menu highlights include crab cakes, rack of lamb and key lime tart.
Citrine will be open for regular dinner service with a couple of special menu items for the holiday. Reservations can be made online.
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Filed under: Chicago restaurants