Chicago’s Best Restaurants for a Cozy Dinner for Two
Whether it’s Valentines Day or the Fourth of July, sometimes you just want a cozy dinner with someone you care about. Still, some of Chicago’s best restaurants are not what you’d call cozy. The spectacular Alinea is cool, but not warm in the way a cozy place should be, and the game-changing Blackbird, with it’s all white and hard surfaces, lacks in coziness what it gains in amazingly creative and satisfying food.
Maybe you can’t have it all.
Or maybe you can.
Here are a few of the best Chicago restaurants where you can have a cozy dinner with your SO…and some delicious food.
Geja’s. Ask any Chicagoan where they might find the most romantic place to eat, and most will say, without hesitation, Geja’s. This long-running fondue restaurant has the low light, the soft furnishings, the candles and the shared dining experience that make almost any dinner there automatically cozy. It’s uncertain why there’s something so romantic about two people dipping bread on a long fork into a pot of bubbling cheese, by candle light, but there is. It works.
Margeaux Brasserie. In the Waldorf Astoria, Margeaux Brasserie offers a warmly lit, quiet and undeniably intimate setting for some of James Beard-winner Michael Mina’s French-influenced creations. Though “French food” many times seems to be synonymous with “fancy,” Mina serves up much that is cozy and comforting. Among some of his most warm and homey dishes is a Whole Roasted Green Circle Chicken for Two and a Lobster Pot Pie.
Alhambra Palace. Soft surfaces and hushed tones greet you as you step into the Moorish surroundings of Alhambra Palace, named after the stronghold of the North African monarchs in Granada, Spain. The rooms may be big, but the service is intimate, and the food, excellently prepared. Favorites include Moroccan comfort food like the Lamb Tagine, tender pieces of meat slow cooked in couscous, and Paella with seafood and rice, a reflection of the time the North African Berbers lived in Spain, forever influencing the local cuisine.
Potter’s, Chicago’s Burger Bar. Who said a burger can’t be romantic? To some, there’s nothing cozier than sinking teeth into an All-American classic: ground meat on a bun. At Potter’s, Chicago’s Burger Bar, the hamburger is served in a dizzy number of innovative expressions, including Pilsen (diablo sauce, guacamole and pepper Jack cheese), River North (smoked gouda, crispy onions, and creamed spinach aioli), and Logan Square (aged cheddar and Bourbon bacon). There are many other creative takes on the simple combo of meat on bread. Potter’s has many tables for two: you get the picture.
Mason. Plush banquettes, white tablecloths, many tables for two and old school service. Now that’s cozy. Add to that a roster of classic cocktails (Manhattans, gimlets, and many unique drinks) and classic meals for two (Dover Sole, Beef Wellington), and you have a scene that is at once sophisticated and undeniably cozy. Want to make it cozier? Sit together on the banquette rather than across the table from one another.
Everest. A restaurant perched 40 floors up on the top of a downtown building may not feel, at first, like a place that would be cozy. Classic chef French Jean Joho, however, well knows how to make you feel right at home with Alsatian-inspired dishes like seared foie gras, choucroute and pumpernickel, and Kirsch d ’Alsace gelée. At night, when the lights of the city illuminate the landscape, and you’re sinking into your cushions while enjoying a beautifully sauced French-inspired dish, you will think one thing: cozy.