Chicago

5 Chicago Restaurants to make Reservations at right now

Looking for places to dine at with friends? Or even on a date? Here are 5 places to make dinner reservations at in Chicago.

April 2019

Let me first say that we don’t get out too much these days, but when we do decide to get out for a date night, we try to go to more ‘adult’ places because sometimes that’s just what you need, you know?! I tried to come up with a list of a variety of places for you from trendy to casual, a little something for everyone. Hopefully you will find a restaurant for a night out for you, your friends or date! Go make those reservations right now…

chicago dinner reservations

Geja’s Cafe

This has been around for over 50 years, I really don’t know what took me so long to get here! It’s one of those places my parents came when they were dating, so I was really looking forward dining here.

We had our first date here after having Mila and it’s the ideal setting for a special occasion. It’s one of the most romantic restaurants in Chicago and honestly loved our experience. It’s a 4 course dinner that starts with creamy Swiss Gruyere cheese fondue, served with breads and fruits for dipping. Then a salad, followed by meats that you cook over a hot stone, everything from lobster to sea scallops. Finishing with Belgium chocolate fondue.

Everything we had was really good and was paired perfectly with a malbec, but their wine list is quite impressive, along with a full bar and lot’s of cocktail options.

The ambiance is very romantic, think candlelight, a spanish guitar player, and low lighting. Hence, the reason there are no photos here, but I have some highlights on my Instagram highlights under ‘date night rec’s’. Reservations are recommended. When we were there, there as a 2 hour wait on a Friday night.

Monteverde

Holy pasta! If you are a pasta fan (I am not sure who isn’t?!), it’s absolutely amazing. Plus, it’s a head female chef, which is always a plus for me. Chef Sarah Grueneberg, former Iron Chef contestant, makes fresh pasta dishes like Cacio whey pepe or Gnocchetti with pesto that are mind blowing. We went for our 5 year anniversary and could only snag a 9:30pm reservation on a Friday night, but let me tell you, it’s worth waiting that late for a big meal. We started with crostinis like artichoke and octopus, shared pasta dishes (my favorite was the Cacia why pepe) and ended with the warm ganache tart. So, so so, good.

Aba

Sister restaurant to Ema, I went recently for a friend’s birthday and it’s astounding. With a very similar menu, just with more of a focus on protein. But the decor and rooftop dining is GORGEOUS. It’s trendy, airy and great for dates or a night out with friends. We had a two hour dinner and didn’t want to leave. Menu is set up for sharing, so we ordered a lot and shared. Some things we had are lamb with eggplant, marinated olives, chicken kefta, brussel sprouts, sweet peas and sugar snap hummus and of course, frozen yogurt with olive oil and sea salt. The best! I also highly recommend the aloe and mezcal cocktail. Like a smoothie cocktail!

We made the reservation a week out and were only able to get a 5:15 pm slot, so make those plans ahead of time!

Aba is one of the 5 places to make reservations at in Chicago right now
Aba is one of the 5 places to make reservations at in Chicago right now

Eden

For awhile, I had heard really great things about Eden and got a chance to visit with some blogger friends recently, and it really does live up to the hype. First, it’s beautiful inside. It’s got a very light, California vibe inside that matches the clean, American, fresh menu.

One of the coolest parts of Eden is actually outside of the restaurant. They have a greenhouse right on site. Their ingredients are directly sourced from there or local farms, which really makes them different from most places I have been to in Chicago.

We had many plates, but some stand outs were the ricotta herb gnocchi, grilled white asparagus, and pork belly, octopus, & countneck clams. My favorite was the gnocchi, but everything was outstanding. With a large cocktail and wine menu, our waiter paired everything perfectly.

The brunch menu is also really popular and I plan on heading back to try it. We were there on a Thursday and did not have a reservation and there was not wait, but reservations are recommended on Friday and Saturdays.

Eden is one of the 5 places to make reservations at in Chicago right now

La Gondola

Let me first say that I was invited here by the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce to help kick off Lakeview’s first Restaurant Week. But I had always driven past it and knew it had been around for a long time. It is located in a strip mall and sometimes places like that are hard to stand out. When I went onto Yelp to see the reviews, I was surprised to see so many amazing reviews. They definitely have some loyal customers.

Upon arrival, I had not idea it was going to be so small. Like maybe capacity is 18 people? That’s why it would be great for a date and not for kids. It’s intimate. It’s honestly nothing fancy. Small room, simple decor, but expansive menu. I had a an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. The meat and cheese plate and salad were good, but the PASTA. Let me say, it is AMAZING! I was so impressed. The shrimp scampi had huge shrimp with a garlic, lemon sauce. The lemon tiramisu is nothing I’ve ever had before. Plus, the portions are HUGE and shareable, although there is a sharing fee. It’s just good, Italian food without any frills. Sometimes places like this are are the best for a night out!

La Gondola is one of the 5 places to make reservations at in Chicago right now
La Gondola is one of the 5 places to make reservations at in Chicago right now

I highly recommend it, but definitely make reservations!

Some places on my list next:

Pacific Standard Time, Etta, Gibson’s Italia, Giant and Mi Tocaya.

Chicago is filled with so many wonderful places, I could probably keep going. But these are just a few I’ve been over the years, some new and some that have been around for awhile. I hope you find some of these suggestions helpful. I’d love to hear any places you guys like to go on date nights. Add your comments below or DM me on Instagram. And as always, thanks for following and you can sign up for weekly email updates here.

Until next time,

Christine

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