First impressions mean a lot, and what restaurant you choose for a first date is pretty much going to make or break your chances of getting lucky, er, married. The Outback probably isn’t the best idea, but neither is Alinea. That means there are a whole lot of choices in between, and it’s up to you to choose wisely. Luckily, you have us here to help.
These are great spots for First/Early in the Game Dates, which is a bit different than Date Night with your long-term significant other. These restaurants offer a perfect balance between good food and good vibes, and are all free of unexpected wild cards that can ruin your night. Ultimately, each is great for getting to know someone over a good meal, and by that we mean getting to know some mostly made up, far more interesting version of the real person you’re having dinner with. Have fun out there.
Everything about Gemini Bistro screams “wholesome,” which is ideal if you want to come off like a nice guy or girl. This is the quintessential quaint Lincoln Park neighborhood gem that’ll make you and your date feel like regulars whether you actually are or not. The vibes makes for a comfortable situation of getting to know someone.
The hip, warehouse style room in Fulton Market is the perfect place to grab cocktails and Brazilian inspired food. But you don’t have to worry about the food being too exotic for anyone’s liking. The last thing we want is to put you in an “Along Came Polly” situation.
Davanti in Little Italy has exactly the charm you need. It’s ideal for sharing, and everybody likes a sharer. Well, when it comes to food at least. Maybe save the sharing about your weird relationship with your mom for date number two.
Think intimate French restaurant but in a more modern style. That means trendy atmosphere, great drinks, “almost French” food, and getting a little handsy. The French are always handsy, and realistically we know you’re trying to be too.
The eclectic Logan Square restaurant has been a staple since opening in 1999, and the neighborhood joint serves every need – first dates included. The dimly lit atmosphere at night has just the right level of romance without trying to take yourself too seriously. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
We love this small plates Greek spot in Wicker Park because it gets lively on the weekends. The well-priced Greek wine list will make sure you and your date can get in on the fun too.
Full-blown dinner date not your thing? Good news, Pub Royale is your spot. Grab a high-top table and ease into things with a cocktail – variations of Pimm’s Cup are their speciality. If it seems like food is in the cards, then the Indian inspired pub food is great for sharing.
Impress the pants off your date with a lively, unpretentious, yet sophisticated Italian restaurant. Figuratively speaking, that is.
For those of you who want to prove you know your sh*t when it comes to food, look no further than Parachute. The Avondale restaurant specializes in Korean-American cuisine, but they’re doing it in ways you’ve never seen. Hide your bad qualities with the fact you know where to find a great meal.
Vincent is intimate without being weird and quiet, nice without being too fancy, and full of a well-to-do crowd without being trendy in a way that says your shallow. Don't miss out on the mussels menu.
Dusek’s is literally a full-service date night. For starters, the food and the atmosphere are both funky, confident, and don’t take things too seriously. On top of that, you have your next move already built in. Head downstairs to Punch House where they make excellent punch-style drinks, or head next door to the attached Tack Room for some traditional cocktails and live piano music.
Make a move to the first floor bar area at Bar Siena. It shows your’re down with hanging out at places in the West Loop, which you should be, but also that you’re cool with eating basic stuff like pizza and pasta while having drinks. The loud atmosphere sets the tone so you don’t have to worry about awkward silence.