Upgrade date night or plan an anniversary dinner at these intimate, memorable dining destinations

Maybe it’s the candlelit tables or the lengthy wine list. Or perhaps it’s the cozy booth seating that squeezes you even closer to your dining companion. The most romantic restaurants in Chicago crank up the heat and set the mood for an intimate evening out. Over the years, we’ve kept a running list of the city’s best date-night spots—from a secret sushi haven to a fancy French steakhouse to an old-school fondue den. As an added bonus, most offer excellent wine selections and cocktail menus. These 15 eateries are excellent choices for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary dinner or any old Friday night.

Aba

Come summertime, Aba is the place to be in the West Loop, thanks in part to its spacious patio that’s dotted with fire pits. But for a special evening out with your partner, request a seat in the lush sky-lit dining room and order from chef CJ Jacobson’s menu of Mediterranean-inspired menu. We’re big fans of splitting an order of spicy hummus and a few skewers from the grill. Top off the night with crème brûlée pie, which is just as amazing (if not better) than it sounds.

Naoki Sushi

Romance isn’t all French fare and fondue. When done right, sushi is a passionate affair, and no one does raw fish better than Naoki. Savor fatty bluefin tuna, sea urchin and yellowtail while sipping sake-centric cocktails at this Lincoln Park restaurant. And because it’s located through a secret passageway inside the Belden-Stratford apartments, you’ll feel like you’re on a secret mission with your sweetheart.