Courtesy of North Pond
Amy Tara Koch
October 27, 2014

When you're looking to express amore, where you eat is as critical as what you eat. Lighting should be soft and flattering. The menu should be sophisticated but not too precious (what if she/he can’t identify an ingredient? Awkward!). To encourage flirtation, the vibe should be warm, cozy and inviting; not crowded and chaotic.  The spot needs to honor reservations—after all, waiting for a table is not particularly sexy. And,  ambiance, of course, is the make-or-break element. While Chicago has penty of hipster-friendly eateries that don’t always conjure an atmosphere of intimacy—watch descriptors like “industrial” or “minimalist”— the Windy City has more than enough seductive hideaways. Whether celebrating a wedding anniversary, in the midst of a heated courtship or on a first date, there are an array of restaurants that serve up excellent food and equally seductive settings. 

Sixteen

As you might expect from a Trump property, a meal  at this restauarnt in the Trump International Hotel is very much about glamour. Focusing on progressive flavor profile, Chef Thomas Lents‘s top-tier American cuisine (two Michelin Stars, Forbes Five Star, AAA Diamond) is enlightened. The panoramic skyline vista afforded from 30-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows are as stunning as the food. 

North Pond

Dining at a restored “warming house,”  once for ice skaters—at the edge of a pond in the middle of Lincoln Park gazing up at the Chicago —s a visual treat.Add James Beard Award winning chef Bruce Sherman’s ever-changing farm-to-table food to the mix and you’ve got an incomparable Michelin-starred meal. 

Le Colonial

Swank French colonial décor studded with palm trees create an enticingly chic backdrop for romance. Sip champagne in the soft candlelight and indulge with Chao Tom (grilled shrimp wrapped around sugar cane), Bo Sate (sautéed filet mignon over yams and string beans)  and the signature Ca Chien Saigon (Vietnamese crisp-seared whole red snapper).

Embeya

Traditional Vietnamese flavors get a haute makeover at his West Loop spot, where chef Thai Dang turns out dynamic dishes such as poached egg, pork belly, gai lan and confit onion. Carved teak panels, comfy upholstered banquets and artsy-fab chandeliers that resemble icy squid imbue Embeya with a decidedly au courant vibe. 

Bavette Bar & Boeuf

What do you get when you cross -exposed brick, softly ambient lighting, the sexy thrum of Nina Simone and classic steakhouse fare? A dining experience that offers a prelude to a kiss. The heady combination of Jazz Age-style décor and a Chicago-centric menu (don’t miss the plateaux de fruits de mer) yields quite the romantic rendevous.

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