These days, date night might mean a Zoom chat with someone you met on an app, or dinner with a person you’ve lived with for years who you now suspect might be a spy. Either way, you should still make an effort by ordering food from one of these 21 restaurants. Take a night to remind your partner of how romantic you used to be before we all got put on lockdown, and life was taken over by sourdough bread and watching episodes of Quantum Leap.
Nothing sounds better right now than sitting in a quaint French bistro together, preferably in France. But there’s a lot about the above statement that’s not happening anytime soon. At least you can still create the illusion by ordering food and wine from Le Bouchon - a charming French spot in Wicker Park. Go a la carte, or get the three-course prix fixe option for $35.
The food at Mi Tocaya can make you (briefly) forget that the person you’re quarantining with chews their ice and stopped wearing socks. That’s how great this Mexican restaurant is, and why we couldn’t be happier that they recently started offering carryout. Order family-style meals like the mole pollo or skirt steak, and get one of their margarita cocktail kits. Just try to ignore any ice chewing after their drink is finished. After all, you’re trying to have a nice night and you really need to let this go.
Wherewithall is a wonderful, casual tasting-menu spot with offerings that change daily - unlike your partner who’s been wearing the same pajama bottoms for 11 days. And the carryout-only version of this restaurant basically keeps the same formula, meaning a delicious four-course meal that now changes weekly. You can expect a variety of dishes, like chicken picante, brown sugar baby-back ribs, jalapeno hush puppies, and German chocolate cake.
You were planning on going to Oriole for your anniversary and planning to sell your Dream Team McDonald’s collector cups to pay for it. No need to worry about that now. Instead of a $300 tasting menu, you can order one of their new family dinners. The menu changes every week, but you’ll find options like pulled pork with black-eyed peas and pound cake. The best part - now you can order a cocktail kit and still get to drink it out of your Josh Stockton tumbler.
Remember when a date meant being whisked away on a private jet, and nights filled with vodka and caviar? OK, that probably never happened. But now is as good a time as any to start role-playing, and Heritage is a good place to start. It offers its caviar menu for carryout and delivery, along with family meals that rotate every day. Because maybe in your fantasy, you’re an international jet setter with screaming kids.
Right now, there’s no shortage of fancy tasting menu spots that have started doing carryout and delivery. And while it’s pretty cool to get casual things like po’boys from Schwa and pulled pork sandwiches from Oriole, sometimes you want a fancy meal. Temporis is sticking to its fine-dining roots. And for date night, you can order a la carte, or get a $70 dinner for two like short ribs with jasmine and coconut rice or seared salmon with spring pea risotto. Just remember to pull out the bean bag chair for your date, and toss out those empty bottles of Mountain Dew.
OK so technically Jeong isn’t Jeong - it’s actually a Hanbun pop-up, which is its suburban stripmall predecessor. The good news is both restaurants have fantastic Korean food, and are perfect for sharing with someone. Mainly because it’s so great you end up feeling guilty keeping their pork buns, noodles, and spicy tteobokki to yourself. Best part? You don’t have to go out to the suburbs.
Along with sushi, Momotaro is also offering meals for two and cocktail kits. Dinners include yakitori miso salmon or ramen, which is probably not the most attractive choice if your date is on Zoom. But the most important thing is that all options include the matcha tiramisu, which is a dessert we would happily go on a date with by ourselves.
For an experiential date night, consider “Darling To Go.” It’s a dinner-and-drinks kit from The Darling that includes flowers, links to musical performances, candles, and an LED projector. It’s $65 per person (minimum two) and comes with a four-course meal. Is it trying too hard? Maybe, but it’s been a while since we’ve put on shoes, so the extra effort is appreciated.
We used to tell anyone who would listen that Monteverde is an excellent utility restaurant, and that applies to date nights under lockdown too. The best Italian restaurant in Chicago is offering its fantastic fresh pasta, sauces, baked goods, veggies, and some groceries. So if you want to have a romantic Italian dinner, cook a meal, or relive the days when you would run errands together, order from here.
The care packages from Dorian’s makes for a lovely evening. They include your choice of wine or cocktail (the “daiq pack” makes four daiquiris and comes with two tiki mugs) and a mystery record that Dorian’s picks out for you. And nothing says romance like booze and Otis Redding on vinyl.
S.K.Y. is one of our favorite restaurants in Pilsen and this hasn’t changed. And their “S.K.Y. at Home” menu allows you to pick a meal for two people from their greatest hits. You choose a salad, main, and side, and everything comes with their black truffle croquettes and cornbread madeleines. It’s a delicious spread and a meal for two is only $39, so you can save your money for your move to the biosphere they’re building on Mars.
Some of us are sheltered in place with our families, and unless you want to lock your children in a cabinet under the stairs like Harry Potter, you might need to accept that date night will be a family affair. The Duck Inn is offering family-style meals for delivery and carryout. Specials change daily, with things like pizza and hot dogs, but there’s an a la carte menu with dishes like burrata, pretty salads, and braised short rib.
Prior to the shutdown, we would never have considered Lao Peng You for date night, unless your idea of a date is hanging around a keg debating why Luke Longley didn’t get any facetime on The Last Dance. But take away the loud, crowded house party space, and there’s something very romantic about eating their plump handmade dumplings and 67 foot-long noodles on your comfortable couch.
We’re not sure how Ciccio Mio does it, but somehow the food alone channels its dimly lit, red velvet-filled dining room. Maybe it’s the soft round edges of the circular lasagna, or the silky pasta. Either way, the Italian food here is rich and delicious, making it ideal for a date night that includes multiple bottles of red wine.
When we first found out that Mott St. was offering delivery, we were mainly excited that we could get the burger whenever we wanted. And yes, that’s fantastic, but there are a lot of other great options here, too. For example, the entire small plates menu (with dishes like kimchi udon and wok-smoked gal lan) and meals for two - like the Chiang Mai chicken or five-spice ribs.
Are you, or do you aspire to be, the type of wholesome couple who visits the farmer’s market together, and then goes back home to cook what you bought? If so, you’ll be happy to know that Daisies exists, offering delivery and curbside pickup. You can get prepared dishes like lemon ricotta ravioli, pasta meal kits, and various grocery items. They even have a Sunday Market, which is basically a tiny farmer’s market you can shop at on Sundays.
If you’ve been in Chicago for any amount of time, you’ve probably gone on at least one date at Avec. And it turns out that carryout Avec is (in some ways) even better. Mainly because you don’t have to witness your date’s awkward attempt to avoid hitting someone in the face with their ass as they navigate the small communal dining room. You can order from their greatest hits (like the stuffed dates) or meals for two (like their rotisserie chicken). Either way, make sure you have some honey on hand for the taleggio flatbread, and order a bottle of wine.
People who are still dating the person they met in grade school freak us out a little bit. But in case you find the idea of being with the same person for your entire adult life incredibly sweet, consider getting the cheeseburger dinner from The Loyalist. It includes their outstanding burger, a salad, chips, and a chocolate cookie. It sounds like something that would be on a lunch tray at school, and you two can pretend you met there instead of at Slippery Slope.
Here’s your date night plan: have All Together put together a fancy cheese plate for you and let them select a bottle of wine to go with it. Then order a family meal (like pot roast with roasted vegetables, grilled asparagus, and sourdough) that you don’t eat because you both ate way too much cheese and wine. Which honestly, sounds like a perfect night.