Eat Your Heart Out

Mon. February 6, 2012 12:00 AM
by Rick Karlin

To completely twist around the words of the bard, "If food be the music of love, play on."

Valentine's Day may be an over-commercialized holiday but it is one that should remain close to our hearts. St. Valentine fought for the rights of Christians to marry when it was against the morals and laws of the time. Ironically, many calling themselves Christians are the people most opposed to allowing same sex couples the right to marry. Choosing where and when to share a holiday meal with your beloved can be an overwhelming decision, one made easier by our culling though the hype and finding the most romantic places to share a Valentine's Day date with your sweetheart. Of course, reservations are necessary.

Carnivale, 702 W Fulton, helps bring out the Latin lover in you. The lush, over-the-top décor and a menu featuring foods thought to be aphrodisiacs, such as oyster shooters, can lead to a lusty evening of divine decadence. (312) 850-5005, carnivalechicago.com

What could be more romantic than sharing a drink and appetizers while the city lights twinkle at your feet? Cityscape, the bar, located on the 15th floor of the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza, is a quiet little spot and, for Valentine's Day is offering cocktail, wine and champagne specials along with a specialty appetizer. (312) 836-5000, cityscapebar.com

Normally I wouldn't suggest a lakefront cruise in the middle of winter, but there is something magical about sharing a bottle of Champagne and looking at the skyline. If it snows you're in for a real treat as it makes the city look like a snow globe. Check out the dinner and brunch tours available on the Spirit of Chicago, which include a buffet and dancing. (866) 273-2469, spiritofchicago.com.

Doing good for others is sexy and at any of the Stefani Group restaurants (Phil Stefani's 437 Rush, Riva's, Tavern on Rush and all Tuscany locations will donate $1 for every special Valentine's dessert being ordered to the Stefani Children's Foundation. In addition the various locations are all offering special holiday menus. stefanirestaurants.com

Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club keeps in mind that not everybody is paired up as if they were boarding Noah's ark. In addition to a $45 four-course prix fixe meal for Valentine's Day weekend and a special Valentine's version of its diva-liscious brunch, the club is featuring a "Stupid Cupid" singles party on Monday, February 13. Guests will enjoy a savvy 50-percent discount on their entire bill while mingling with potential mates.
(773) 525-1111, kitkatchicago.com

Henri, 18 S. Michigan, provides everything needed for a romantic dinner. Lush décor? Check. Intimate lighting? Check. A menu heavy on aphrodisiacs? Check! Chef Dirk Flanigan will present special modern preparations of ancient aphrodisiacs. (312) 578-0763, henrichicago.com

Celebrate like a Trump. Sixteen (at Trump Tower) offers a choice of a six-course tasting menu ($165 per person, or $235 with wine pairings) or an eight-course version ($335 per person) which also includes wine pairings, guaranteed window seating, an arrangement of red roses and an after-dinner cordial. (312) 588-8030

What says "I love you," more than giving your honey the very best? The Peninsula Chicago, voted best hotel in the world, offers a prix fixe five-course dinner which couples ingredients together to create the ‘perfect pair' for each course and a dessert bar. (312) 573-6685, peninsula.com

For nearly 50 years, Geja's Café, 340 W. Armitage, has been regarded as one of the most romantic Valentine's Day locations. For eleven days, from Sunday, February 5th through Monday, February 15th, its celebration event includes special meal packages on Valentine's Day as well as the "Double Anniversary Discount" on Monday, Feb. 6. With proof of total years married, couples will receive a double discount on their food purchases. For example, couples wed 15 years will receive a 30% food discount. (773) 281-9101, gejascafe.com

Autre Monde Café, 6727 W. Roosevelt, proves that the city doesn't have a monopoly on romantic dining spots. A special, three-course dinner consists of customer favorites from the lauded Mediterranean menu for $45 per person. Additionally, each couple will have the chance to win a beautiful necklace of white topaz, keshi pearl and 18-carat gold, generously donated by Hurst's Berwyn Jewelers. Every couple in attendance will also receive a gift certificate for $100 towards a future purchase from the jeweler. (708) 775-8122, autremondecafe.net

Red is the color of love and romance, so a trip to the Latin-Indian fusion originator Vermillion, 52 W. Hubbard, seems a perfect match, especially when the restaurant is presenting a five-course menu that includes crab, lobster, steak, chocolate, and vegetarian options. (312) 527-4060, thevermilionrestaurant.com

Finally, if budget is no object, consider the ultimate Valentine's Day escape; heading to the world's most romantic city, Paris. Hotel Fouquet's Barrière glamorous palace hotel is an urban oasis in the heart of Paris on the corner of the Champs Elysées and Avenue George V, perfect for a romantic escape while still being able to take in the beautiful setting of Paris. A combination of glamour, cutting-edge technology and end of the century grandeur, Hotel Fouquet's Barrière puts a strong emphasis on service, with butlers taking care of guests' every need. The hotel's sumptuous U Spa is a haven for peace and tranquility, offering a wide range of treatments and a unique aqua slimming trail. Its Valentine's Day package includes: a luxurious room or suite (including a bottle of Champagne and Fouquet's caviar), American-style breakfast, a romantic Valentine's Day dinner for two at Le Fouquet's restaurant and access to U Spa including swimming pool, aqua slimming trail, gym, sauna & steam room. Prices begin at €900. 33 (0)1 40 69 60 00 fouquets-barriere.com