Valentine’s Day can be stressful and laden with expectations: Did you pick the right place? Is this the right outfit? It’s enough to suck all the romance out of the air, which is counterproductive to the day’s purpose. Take it easy this year with eight great spots for low-key Valentine's Day dates.
Yusho Imagine cozying up to a bowl of warm, delicious ramen. Now imagine doing it with your boo seated next to you isolated from the Chicago cold. Find it at Yusho, specifically the Poser Ramen with a side of sake.
Mindy’s Hot Chocolate This classic date place might be bumping on Valentine’s Day night, but get there at 5:30 before the lovebirds make their way in for a cup of hot chocolate and the macaroni and cheese, which is basically what you might call love cocaine. Once your bellies are full, head on over to the AMC on Western for some 50 Shades... or not.
A movie, sushi and wine in Lincoln Square The Davis Theater never gets packed, so grab a movie then a bottle at Fine Wine Brokers and head over to the newly opened Miku Sushi (BYOB) for dinner. Afterward, take a stroll through Lincoln Square for a romantic cap to the evening.
Oysters and Champagne at RM Champagne Skip the prix-fixe menus but still feel classy at RM Champagne. Get there early to snag a seat and dine on oysters and Champagne. If it’s too crowded, you can duplicate the experience at the nearby Mariano’s, which has a wine bar and oyster bar that will deliver to your seat. In case you weren't aware, oysters are a great aphrodisiac.
Fire and comfort food at Frontier Nothing says low key like shrimp and grits or hot crab dip next to a roaring fire. You don’t even have to pull out the slacks and tie for this one. Maybe get a little crazy and order the alligator.
Catch a great view of the city Let the others head up to Signature Room; you’ve got The J. Parker in Lincoln Park with its new enclosed rooftop to cuddle up to your honey and catch one of the best skyline views, good drinks and tasty food.
Make your own meal at The Chopping Block Show your date your culinary skills with a hands-on cooking class or demonstration at The Chopping Block. Choose from the Lincoln Square or Merchandise Mart locations. (Honestly, everyone just goes there for the drinking, just don’t cut each others' fingers off and you might advance to the next date.)
Laugh it up at Stage 773 Laughter increases blood flow and endorphins and is overall beneficial to your health—qualities that are attractive in a potential mate. Check out the calendar at Stage 773 for a Cupid-inspired show. Requirement: a hearty laugh.