Valentine’s Day in Chicago: I’ll take all the cookies – and beet ravioli, and cuddle bear cake, and cruises, and… :-)

An assortment of Valentine’s Day cookies from Delightful Pastries

What are you doing this Valentine’s Day? We have a doctor’s appointment in the morning, but then the afternoon is open to all sorts of plans, which I have yet to figure out (ooops!). Luckily, Chicago restaurants offer plenty of romantic menu choices this Valentine’s Day, and I have compiled a list of the most exciting ones below. Any other Valentine’s Day specials worth talking about? Let me know in the comments! 😉

  • ALTHEA

Matthew Kenney’s visionary plant-based restaurant will offer its guests a special tasting menu ($65 pp) which includes a complimentary champagne toast and delicacies such as Purple Sweet Potato Bisque, Beet Ravioli, Wild Mushroom Cioppino, and Yellow Cake for dessert (the latter including poached quince – yum yum!). I am very excited to see beet ravioli on the menu because it features Chef Kenney’s stellar macadamia ricotta. I tried this vegan ricotta on pizza at the official opening of ALTHEA last year, and I was blown away by its flavor and amazing creamy texture. Highly recommended!

  • Prairie Grass Cafe

Valentine’s Day is always a special occasion at Prairie Grass Cafe, and this year, chef-owners Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris are spreading the love even further by supporting World Central Kitchen (WCK). Founded by chef and restaurateur José Andrés, WCK is an organization of “Food First Responders” that serves millions of meals every year to people in need after natural disasters, and in response to poverty and hunger. To emphasize this important mission, Prairie Grass Cafe will be selling flowers, Chef Stegner’s hot cocoa mix, and heart sugar cookies on Valentine’s Day. All proceeds from these sales will be donated to WCK.

Prairie Grass Cafe’s Valentine’s Day dinner menu will include some hearty and delicious specials: BBQ Braised Brisket with Mashed Potatoes & Mirepoix of Vegetables; Grilled Ora King Salmon with Sautéed Garlic Broccoli; and for dessert, Mom’s Cherry Pie.

Prairie Grass Cafe’s Chef Sarah Stegner
  • ETA Restaurant + Bar

Whether you want to spoil your significant other, enjoy a fantastic meal with friends, or treat yourself, ETA Restaurant + Bar is bound to impress this Valentine’s Day, thanks to its menu ($56 pp) which features Winter Squash Risotto (brown butter / bandage aged cheddar / truffle), Filet + Colossal Shrimp (chive pomme purée / farm carrots / romanesco / béarnaise), and Rose Rouge (manjari chocolate biscuit / strawberries / veuve clicquot gelée). All splashed with a complimentary glass of prosecco!

Image courtesy of ETA Restaurant + Bar
  • Geja’s Café

The renowned “Restaurant of Romance” is planning the most romantic Valentine’s celebration in its 55-year history. From Sunday, February 9 through Monday, February 17, Geja’s Café will be elegantly decorated and will feature a selection of rosé sparkling wines & champagnes and delicious fondue cuisine, complemented with entertainment throughout the evening from live flamenco and classical guitarists.

  • State and Lake Chicago Tavern

Led by award-winning Executive Chef Nathan Sears, contemporary gastropub State and Lake Chicago Tavern will be offering the ultimate dessert treat for couples this Valentine’s Day. Guests who visit may indulge in a delicious Cuddle Bear Cake comprised of devils’ food cake, rum roasted bananas, vanilla bean mousse and strawberry crunch for just $15. The creation was artfully constructed by Chicago’s Queen of Pastry herself, Chef Toni Roberts.

State and Lake Chicago Tavern’s Executive Chef Nathan Sears
  • Raised

Raised, An Urban Rooftop Bar is offering a selection of Valentine’s inspired cocktails including the Rambling Rose, with rose vodka, manzanilla sherry, and a strawberry simple; Shake It Off, mixed with fino sherry, aperol banana liqueur, and lime juice; and Run and Tell That, complete with buttermilk, raspberry puree, chocolate liquor, rum, and blueberry vinegar. Patrons can also complement their cocktail selections with Champagne Strawberry Almond Cake (yum yum!)

  • Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime will be offering a special menu addition for Valentine’s Day diners crafted by Executive Chef Jason Shelley: Roasted Sea Bass over Alaskan King Crab Gnocchi with decadent Champagne Cream. The dish is topped with a Baby Carrot Salad in a Preserved Lemon Pepper Vinaigrette.

  • The Rose Hotel

To celebrate love this Valentine’s Day, The Rose Hotel located in Rosemont is showcasing a special pairing dinner ($80pp) on February 14, featuring a menu crafted by Executive Chef Nicholas Malloy. The evening will include a cocktail hour beginning at 6 p.m., and a seductive dining experience paired with exquisite wines beginning at 7 p.m. including the following: Scallops with Parsnip Puree, Poached Apple, Shaved Asparagus, Pancetta and Micro Greens; Smoked Short Rib with Cranberry Polenta, Rainbow Chard, Onion Ash and Garlic Confit Chimichurri; Braised Lamb Shank with Pita Skordalia, Fried Rosemary, Pearl Onion and Lamb Jus; Red Wine Cheesecake with a Red Wine Strawberry Reduction.

  • Delightful Pastries

Founded in 1989, Delightful Pastries is family-owned and operated, and it’s one of Chicago’s most well-known bakeries.  Delightful Pastries Valentine’s day special offerings include Plum Brandy Truffles, Hazelnut Praline Rocher Truffles, Almond Keto Truffles, Sugar Cookie Hearts with Royal Icing, and Linzer Hearts with Raspberry Preserves or Passion Fruit Jelly, among others.

Vegans and non-vegans alike will definitely appreciate Delightful Pastries’s Vegan Chocolate Bark with Pistachios, Cherries, Hazelnuts, Cranberries and Apricots. Such a delicious sweet treat!

  • Hornblower Cruises & Events Chicago

Hornblower Cruises & Events Chicago is hosting several Valentine’s Day Weekend cruises ($79.90 – $149.90 pp) on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River on Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15. Guests of each two or three-hour cruise will enjoy a private table, a freshly-cut single rose per couple, and the opportunity to dance the night away following a buffet or plated meal. Both lunch and dinner menus feature a first-course Caesar Salad, a second-course Lobster Bisque, and an array of options for dessert. Lunch entree options include Jumbo Forest Mushroom Ravioli, Maple & Mustard Glazed Chicken Breast, Oven Baked Fresh Atlantic Salmon Filet and Braised Beef Short Rib. Dinner entree options include Jumbo Forest Mushroom Ravioli, Oven Roasted Frenched Chicken Breast with Rosemary & Thyme or six-ounce USDA Choice Filet Mignon & Jumbo Shrimp.


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