Tomorrow is St. Valentine’s Day, when couples celebrate their love for one another by filling the coffers of Hallmark; and single people sit alone in their one-room apartments with the blinds closed, clutching a bottle of bourbon like mother’s milk.

It’s also one of the biggest days of the year for restaurants. A lot of places create special menus for the occasion, and hire bands, violinists, or whatever, in an effort to make their dining rooms extra romantic.

In the spirit of the occasion, I thought I’d list my top five most romantic restaurants in town. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts on which restaurant(s) you think I snubbed. This is just my personal opinion, and I sought no one else’s input. Though it’s doubtful any of these places have available seating for Valentine’s Day, there might be some room this weekend. So give them a call and see for yourself why they made the list.


1. Saint Emilion Restaurant (3617 W. 7th St.)
The dimly lit, intimate dining room transports its diners to a small village in the south of France. The atmosphere is quiet and sophisticated, but never stuffy. The food is classic French cuisine, and is sexy in its own right.

2. Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexicana (3405 W. 7th St.)
Lanny’s recently got some national attention for its Valentine’s menu, and rightfully so. But the West 7th eatery makes this list for its homey, relaxed candle lit atmosphere. And, yes, the haut Mexican food is amazing.

3. Piola Italian Restaurant & Garden (3700 Mattison Ave.)
The quaint bistro is nestled in a West Side neighborhood. The ambiance toes the line between cozy and elegant. The Italian influence of the menu adds to the romantic charm of the place.

4. Sapristi! Bistro and Wine Bar (2418 Forest Park Blvd.)
I almost didn’t put this on the list because I’ve been beating this place like a drum lately. But it wouldn’t be a complete list without it. It’s a fantastic neighborhood restaurant that oozes romance from its every pore.

5. Ellerbe Fine Foods (1501 W. Magnolia Ave.)
The chic South Side eatery is best known for its innovative seasonal menu, but it’s also an intimate urban retreat for lovebirds.

Feel free to tell me in the comments why I’m wrong, what restaurant I snubbed, or why I’m your hero.


  1. Are you kidding about us singletons? We singles will barely notice the day, except when the media bombards us with their cliched happy couples messages. The messages nearly always involve spending large amounts of money for a restaurant, candy, jewelry, cards, etc. Rather than clutching our bourbon, we will be joyfully clinging to the bills in our wallets.

    • I’m kind of kidding. I’m just harkening back to my own single days, and that sounds about right. To be fair, I spent pretty much every other day in my one bedroom apartment drinking bourbon.