Friday 16 April 2021
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Table for two: The Gold Coast Girl shares her favorite Chicago date-night dinner spots

Maple & Ash

By Samantha Kramer

Samantha Kramer is the founder and author of the popular blog Gold Coast Girl, a personal fashion and lifestyle guide. She resides in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago with her husband and young daughter. Read more at


This Gold Coast restaurant is not only super swanky, but also the food and service are spectacular. They always make things extra special and bring out fun appetizers, sides and even desserts to share. They really know how to treat their customers well and always greet you with the season’s signature cocktail in the cutest mini martini glass. Some of my favorite dishes from the menu include the roasted beet salad, meatballs, classic steak frites, agnolotti pasta and, for dessert, their sundae service, which is super fun for groups and celebrations. 8 W. Maple. 312-944-8888.


This restaurant is located in River West and has the most beautiful outdoor garden in back for when the weather is warmer. It honestly makes you feel like you are in Italy itself. They have the most amazing homemade pastas and pizzas. Some of my favorite dishes include the spaghetti neri, margherita pizza, bianca con rucola, paglia e fieno and the branzino. 464 N. Halsted. 312-421-0077.


This place is a classic little gem located in the heart of Lincoln Park. They also recently renovated the space to give it a bit of a more modern look. I love the mini wedge, G burger, steak frites, and lobster pasta. It is cozy and perfect for a delicious weeknight out. 2075 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-525-2522.


Hugo’s in the Gold Coast has such great classic food. They have the most amazing crab cakes, and all their entrées come with either a salad or soup to start. Also, their desserts are gigantic and their steaks are fantastic, but I also really love their grilled and marinated shrimp, Alaskan king crab legs, double-baked potato and garbage salad. Don’t forget to try the crab cakes! They are the size of hockey pucks and come with a tasty spicy pink mayonnaise sauce. 1024 N. Rush. 312-640-0999.


This classic French bistro in Lincoln Park has been around for a while, and whenever I’m craving French food, this place always comes to mind. They have great food, amazing service and a relaxing atmosphere. We also love the pretty outdoor area in the summertime. Some of my favorite dishes include the steak frites of course, as well as the French onion soup, mussels, chilled seafood platter and caramelized sea scallops. 2300 N. Lincoln Park West. 773-348-8886.

The decor of this Gold Coast spot is exactly how I want my living room to look one day: cozy plush chairs, gallery walls and a casual elegance. A girl can dream, right?


This restaurant is super sexy and located in the heart of the West Loop. I love both the romantic outside as well as the cozy inside. They have fun cocktails and a great menu for sharing. Some of my favorites include the steamed mussels, lobster deviled eggs, steak tartare and coq au vin. Also, if you are ever in the neighborhood for dinner, it’s a great place to stop by afterwards for cocktails and desserts. 116 N. Green. 312-243-1199.


The decor of this Gold Coast spot is exactly how I want my living room to look one day: cozy plush chairs, gallery walls and a casual elegance. A girl can dream, right? I love the Ralph Lauren clothing brand, so of course I would love the restaurant too! The menu has a lot of amazing classic food including their escargot, avocado & crab, lobster bisque, Caesar salad, RL burger and dover sole. 115 E. Chicago. 312-475-1100.


The ambiance is always fun at this West Loop hotspot, and the room is beautiful! My husband and I like going here for special occasions because it is a bit on the pricey side compared to my other selections, but I promise you that you won’t be disappointed. Besides their amazing steaks, I also love the crispy rock shrimp, onion soup, beef wellington (expensive, but meant for two) and the crispy fingerling potatoes. 1000 W. Fulton Market. 312-733-9420.


If I’m doing a favorite restaurant roundup, then obviously LuxBar in the Gold Coast would make that list. This place is pretty casual, has a huge menu, and also a great, low-key vibe. When it comes to cheeseburgers, this place has my favorite. Their LuxRoyal burger is well worth the calories (that is always how I justify it). I also love their truffle fries, buffalo chicken salad, Moscow mules and dirty martinis. 18 E. Bellevue. 312-642-3400.


This L.A. import is a newbie to the Chicago scene. I love sushi, and currently Katana in River North is my favorite. I love the vibe of this restaurant, and they have a fun outdoor area as well. Can you tell by now that I love a good restaurant with outdoor space? Anyways, the food is great too, and my favorites include truffled edamame, popcorn rock shrimp tempura, any of the skewers from the robata grill and any of their sushi rolls. 339 N. Dearborn. 312-877-5544.