Romance is a personal thing on Valentine's Day. Some of us love to celebrate and it is a deeply personal holiday to you and your loved one. Everyone has their own idea of romance as well, whether it be a tiny bistro, a cozy neighborhood joint that has been there forever or perhaps the once a year pampered service with champagne. Certain restaurants just fill our tummies and some fill our hearts.
Here is my pick for the most romantic restaurants in my area in the suburbs of Chicago.
NEAR, (108 Barrington Commons Court, Barrington, IL)
NEAR is something special! The food is so delicious and so authentic! This is the place for a special reservation! it is the heart of downtown Barrington and very unique. Great staff who are very informative and helpful. My favorites are the Grilled Octopus and any fish dish as I love them all. Be ready to share your dish with your loved one as you will served large platters of food. If you like, you can bring your own bottle and pay a corkage fee.
Francesca's Famigilia, (100 E Station Street, Barrington, IL)
I've been lunching at Francesca's forever I think! This Italian restaurant is located right in the heart of Barrington(although there are numerous locations throughout the suburbs) and offers the perfect location for lunch or dinner. Always excellent service and delicious food. The soups are always hearty and the seafood dishes are amazing.
ZaZa's Tavola Italiana, (5047 Shoreline Road, Lake Barrington, IL)
A hidden little gem of a restaurant and a wonderful surprise! This is definitely a place for a romantic dinner for two. You are greeted with very nice staff and seated with warm french bread and delicious olives and Parmesan cheese to start you out. The ambiance is quite romantic and very nice.
Ciao Baby!, (232 E. Main Str., Barrington, IL)
Just a tiny little gem downtown again! Italian restaurant with a cozy bistro feel. Great specials that are every changing and the regular menu items that are always delicious. The salads during lunch are literally the best I have ever had! There are only 13 tables, and they do not accept reservations, so go early!
D & J Bistro, (466 S. Rand Road, Lake Zurich Illinois)
I was first introduced to D & J Bistro over 25 years ago! I loved it from the first bite and I still love this casual French restaurant. The food really is still quite innovative and amazing. This Valentine's they are hosting a romantic setting for couples with a special Valentine's Day menu. Among my favorites are the Roasted Beets, Kabocha & kale Salad, Roast Leg of Lamb and Pistachio Crème Brûlée.
Chessie's Restaurant, (200 Applebee Street, Barrington, IL)
This is another local favorite that everyone has been to and still keeps returning to. I grew up eating at Chessie's and I went there all through college with my friends and took many a date there to introduce one of my favorite restaurants and now I take my children there. My kids adore Chessie's as it is home to a REAL train car inside their restaurant. Consistent, friendly and delicious. I actually get cravings for my favorite sandwich sometimes and have to jet in there, much to the delight of my kids, since they love to dine in the train car.
Ruth's Chris Steak House, (100 West Higgins Road, South Barrington, IL)
A couple could not have a more perfect night out when dining at Ruth's Chris Steak House. So delicious! This is one of my husband's favorite restaurants to got to for a great steak. The service alone makes this one special night out.
Cooper's Hawk, (100 West Higgins Road, South Barrington, IL)
Winery and restaurant in South Barrington. The food is contemporary American and never disappointing. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. There is a tasting room that is always super busy . . . I don't drink alcohol so I can't help you on this area.
Stoney River, (20504 N. Rand Road, Deer Park, IL)
If you are looking for a great steak, Stoney River is your spot. It is a national chain restaurant and not locally owned like the other great spots I have mentioned. But great steaks it does have! They have one of my favorite dishes, Chilean Sea Bass, it never disappoints me.
Kelsey Road House, (352 Kelsey Road, Barrington, IL)
Here is another local Barrington favorite! Everyone grew up going to Kelsey's. It looks like a small castle, still, with all the changes that have occurred over the years; as there is presently a Gino's Pizza on the upper level. The best place to select to eat is downstairs, dark and mysterious! You will be waited on by waitresses in red short skirts and white go-go boots! In college, I worked there and wore those teeny, tiny skirts and boots! Such a fun place to work and eat! During the Halloween and Christmas holiday, they put up the most decorations you have ever seen in your life! Cool atmosphere and the best pizza!