Who said lunch was dead? We dare to disagree! There are so many good things about a lunch outing: the portions are smaller, so you never need to worry about food comas. A few fresh cocktails midday will keep the conversation going throughout the rest of the day. Finally, being outside of your apartment while the sun is still shining? Yes, please. And we know you’ll ask: what are the best places for a perfect lunch date in Chicago? Here are our top 7 picks!


74 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654

Located in River North, EMA is one of the city’s most popular Mediterranean restaurants. With a focus on fresh, wholesome ingredients with bold flavors, EMA’s menu offers a variety of dishes that are perfect for splitting. From dips and spreads to small plates and entrees, EMA’s flavors are influenced by Israel, Greece, Lebanon, and more. The modern atmosphere offers a perfect backdrop for a romantic lunch date that might keep you together well into dinner hours. 


Pizzeria Portofino

317 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654


Not only does Pizzeria Portofino offer one of the best views in the city, but the hand-tossed pizzas will pair perfectly with the casual, friendly ambiance of a lunch date. With menu options like pasta, fresh seafood, and delicious craft cocktails, you and your date will have fun flipping through the menu and discovering new favorites to try. With colorful and coastal decor, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to an amorous location right along the coast of Italy.  


449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

If you’re looking for a more casual date with food that’s absolutely mouthwatering, check out XOCO. Created by celebrity chef Rick Bayless, this restaurant takes on Mexican street food in a way you’ve never experienced before. Take time with your date to decide what delectable dishes you’ll try, and be sure to end the affair with a hot chocolate featuring XOCO’s house-ground chocolate. Both your heart and your tastebuds will be fluttering. 

Ramen San 

219 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607

Now that the weather is taking a turn (hopefully), we’re all eager to find some spots that offer al-fresco dining! Not only does Ramen-San have outdoor booths, but the wide open windows give you and your date the chance to breathe in some fresh air while chowing down on delicious ramen. If you guys like something a little spicier, opt for the fried chicken and kimchi ramen – you’ll thank me later. PS: They also recently opened a Lincoln Park location for your pre- or after-zoo lunch date in Chicago! 


401 N Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60642

Just recently open for brunch, Tabú in the West Loop has an atmosphere that will bring a new spark to your relationship. With bright, floral decor, the ambiance truly matches the excitement that you’ll find in the food. With offerings like Concha French Toast, Pork Belly Breakfast Tacos, and corn fritters that are to die for, you and your date can spark up the romance while you bond over luscious lunch. 

South Branch Tavern & Grille

100 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

There is no better lunch date in Chicago than sitting by the river, sipping on a glass of wine, and watching people come and go as the gentle breeze lifts your hair and steals your date’s heart with your perfect profile. Nestled among the city’s skyline, South Branch lets you full views of the Chicago River.

Their food is a great combination of fail-safe classics and innovative items. Indulge in some buffalo rolls or challenge your taste buds with the tuna poke nachos. Share their delicious salads, wraps, tacos, and handhelds, or treat yourself to a full-size entree. In the mood of a stroll along the river? South Branch has plenty of cocktail and beer cans for you to choose from!

Porter Kitchen & Deck

150 N Riverside Plaza, Chicago, IL 60606

Offering a unique destination conveniently located along the Chicago River between Lake and Randolph, Porter Kitchen and Deck has reopened for lunch and dinner, with riverside patio dining. Porter’s menu features a vibrant selection of signature dishes and two standout outdoor areas. Enjoy Chicago’s beautiful spring weather on their expansive patio overlooking the river or the rooftop-esque deck with breathtaking views of the city.

Featured Image: Tabú

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