The Scene

Looking for a romantic dinner for your Valentine? Here are some exquisite options in northern Illinois

The Graceful Ordinary will host a holiday high tea event at their downtown St. Charles location on Saturday, Dec. 9.
There are two seating times available, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 3 p.m.

The most romantic day of the year is quickly approaching, and if you’re still looking for that perfect place for an enchanting dinner, here’s a look at some restaurants that would be great choices to make this Valentine’s Day unforgettable.

The Graceful Ordinary

3 E. Main St., St. Charles

The Graceful Ordinary in St. Charles.

This beautiful riverside restaurant in downtown St. Charles will offer lavish specials for a romantic, candlelit dinner. Some menu items include grilled Oysters Rockefeller topped with creamed spinach and herbed breadcrumbs, succulent Lobster Tortellini with butter-poached lobster and salmon roe and a Tomahawk Ribeye for Two, served with creamed spinach, au gratin potatoes and spicy horseradish cream sauce. In addition to the selection of local beers and a curated wine list, any drink from the bar will be sure to satisfy, whether it’s a strong, smooth sipper like the whiskey-forward How The West Was Won, crafted with a tart fig shrub, or something spirit-free like the Golden Gal, a fruity, fizzy drink made with grapefruit and basil. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

Ellwood Steak and Fish House

2219 Sycamore Road, DeKalb

Ellwood Steak and Fish House is a locally owned, upscale DeKalb restaurant with a varied menu for every taste. Appetizers include such dishes as saganaki, calamari, baked goat cheese and salmon cakes. The restaurant serves only Midwest-certified Angus beef in a variety of cuts, as well as pork chops, lamb chops, ribs, pastas and seafood. A full wine and craft beer list will complement your meal; and head to the adjacent 1879 Lounge for an after-dinner cocktail. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

The James

317 S. Third St., Geneva

The James, which opened on downtown Geneva’s famed Third Street in May in the former Fiora’s location, is a perfect place for a dreamy night out. Start your evening off with ahi tuna, potatoes and caviar, or try one of the many small plate offerings, including seared crab cakes, coffee-charred steak or crispy baby brie. From there, enjoy filet mignon, miso-glazed salmon or braised pork shank. Complement your meal with a side dish of butternut squash, grilled asparagus or wild mushrooms. The James also has an extensive wine list and full menu of craft cocktails. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

The Industrial

205 E. Third St., Rock Falls

The Industrial, located inside McCormick Event Center near the banks of the Rock River, prides itself on serving prime beef and Wagyu beef sourced from Crooked Horn Wagyu near Tampico, Illinois. The Industrial’s sophisticated atmosphere is the perfect backdrop for your celebratory meal. The special Valentine’s Day menu offers a choice of bourbon scallop rumaki, hot crab dip, Parmesan asparagus or Wagyu meatball trio for appetizers, while entrees include surf and turf, filet mignon, nut-crusted halibut, ribeye and chicken penne pasta. Special desserts will be love swans, chocolate peanut butter pie and spiced cherry, maple pecan or traditional cannolis. Reservations are recommended, but not required. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

CUT 158 Chophouse

110 N. Chicago St., Joliet

This trendy steakhouse, located directly next to the legendary Rialto Square Theatre, is your ideal destination for a high-end meal and craft cocktail with that special someone. CUT 158′s menu is packed with high-quality beef, seafood and veggie offerings, alongside an expansive selection of craft beers, house wines and whiskey. The menu offers specially sourced delicacies like steak tartare, grilled swordfish, 45-day-aged boneless ribeye 16 ounce and garlic-crusted roasted rack of lamb. Starters include Oysters Rockefeller, crab cakes, shrimp, tuna and comfort favorites like cheese curds and Caprese. The cocktail menu spotlights a wide variety of martinis and classics like a Brandy Old Fashioned, Manhattan and Daiquiri. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

Addison’s Steakhouse

335 Front St., McHenry

This family-owned restaurant creates a special Valentine’s menu that will be available Feb. 13 to 15. Some appetizer highlights are raw oysters, grilled avocados and mozzarella rolls. Entrees include a variety of surf-and-turf combinations, steaks, pork chops and roasted vegetable cavatappi. A Valentine’s meal wouldn’t be complete without a delicious dessert, and Addison’s has fudge cake, cheesecakes, carrot cake, tiramisu and more on the menu. A variety of cocktails and wines also will be available to complement your meal. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

1776 Restaurant

3987 W. Virginia St., Crystal Lake

This farm-to-table, 100% gluten-free restaurant is home to a made-from-scratch kitchen with appetizers like lentil cakes, octopus, crab cakes and lamb meatballs. Entrees feature roasted acorn squash, osso buco, filet mignon, salmon, lamb Bolognese and more. Soup and salads are also on the menu. Pair your meal with a selection from the 15-page wine list, or a specialty cocktail, bourbon flight or craft beer. Don’t forget to end your evening with a delectable dessert, whose choices include apple turnovers, beignets, brownies and homemade frozen custard. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

113 Main

113 Main St., Oswego

The restaurant 113 Main, in the heart of downtown Oswego, conjures a modern, industrial feel coupled with an “eclectic American” menu. Some of the options for your Valentine’s dinner are steamed mussels, smoked brisket poutine, cheese curds and smoked brisket egg rolls to start. Entree choices encompass a variety of burgers, barbecue ribs, jambalaya and much more. Pair a craft beer or craft cocktail with your meal before topping it off with a fudge brownie, carrot cake or lava cake. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

Al’s Steak House

1990 W. Jefferson St., Joliet

This upscale American restaurant, one of the oldest in the city, is famed for its classic charbroiled steaks and variety of fresh seafood. Al’s is a top destination for mouthwatering Grecian-style cuts of steak, made exclusively with Angus beef and served with a double-baked potato. Appetizers include Oysters Rockefeller, Shrimp de Jonghe and fried calamari. Choose your entree from a variety of steaks, chops, seafood and chicken dishes. Enjoy tiramisu, turtle pie, brandy ice, carrot cake or chocolate cake to end your celebratory dinner on a sweet note. For more information or to make a reservation, visit


1491 S. Randall Road, Algonquin

Montarra Grill’s upscale atmosphere and design make it an ideal place for a cozy meal for two. The small plates menu includes delicacies such as maple-cured, bacon-wrapped sea scallops, cherry and goat cheese croquettes and lamb rack lollipops. Main courses feature a variety of hand-cut steaks and chops, as well as seafood, vegetarian and vegan options. A full wine list is available. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

Uptown Grill

601 First St., La Salle

This Illinois Valley staple has been serving “polished, casual American cuisine” since 1985. A newly remodeled interior provides a chic, sophisticated atmosphere for you and your date, as well as a lounge featuring live music and full bar service. The bar menu includes an extensive wine, whiskey, beer and cocktail list to suit any taste. Appetizers spotlight oysters on the half shell, crab Rangoon, truffle fries and seared tuna nachos. An expansive array of salads, burgers, sandwiches, steaks, chops, seafood, foie gras, pasta and chicken entrees will tempt taste buds. Some of the delectable desserts on the menu include white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, creme brulee and cookie and gelato. Enjoy a coffee, adult milkshake, spiked hot beverage or aperitif to finish off your special evening. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

Camp Aramoni

Camp Aramoni in Tonica will host a Valentine’s Day dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 14. Couples can enjoy a special menu and live music by piano/vocal duo Ben & Kate. Reservations are required, and can be made for 6 to 7:30 p.m. The full bar opens at 5 p.m. with Valentine’s Day cocktails. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

Sorrento’s Restaurant

50 W. 187 Route 64, Maple Park

A long-time favorite for many folks in Kane and DeKalb counties, this old-school Italian steakhouse has been serving guests since 1974. Sorrento’s will have a special Valentine’s Day menu, featuring their famous prime rib, filet mignon, strip steak, lobster tail, salmon, chicken dishes and more. All dinners come with a choice of soup, salad and potato. Call 815-895-5466 to make a reservation. For more information about Sorrento’s, visit

Galena Steak House

1101 N. Galena Ave., Dixon

This fine-dining restaurant in Dixon has been serving homemade dishes, steaks, chops and more since 2001. The vast menu offers such appetizers as fried pickles, fried mushrooms and saganaki, while entrees include seafood favorites like scallops, salmon and cod dishes, along with filet mignon, rack of lamb, ribeye, prime rib and additional specialties. Other dinner options highlight varied chicken dishes, pasta and burgers. Dinners include salad and soup bar, and choice of side dish. A varied wine list has something to perfectly match any meal, but if you prefer a beer or martini, they have you covered, too! Round out your evening with a specialty coffee drink. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

Monte’s Riverside Inn

903 E. Norris Drive, Ottawa

A classic, old-fashioned restaurant along the Fox River in downtown Ottawa, Monte’s Riverside Inn offers a special Valentine’s menu available Feb. 14 to 16. Choices include calamari, cheese and crackers and shrimp cocktail for appetizers, plus Japanese Waygu ribeye, lobster tails, prime rib, chicken piccata, fresh sea bass, filet mignon and more. Surf & Turf options encompass king crab legs, beef mignonettes, prime rib and lobster. Desserts tempt with tiramisu, key lime pie, homemade chocolate chip skillet cookie and New York cheesecake. To make a reservation, call 815-681-2940 or visit

Aimee Barrows

Aimee Barrows

Aimee Barrows is the editor of The Scene, Shaw Local News Network's entertainment section. The Scene is your go-to destination for all things fun in Northern Illinois. Prior to The Scene, Aimee was the editor of the Kane County Chronicle for five years, and a freelance reporter for Shaw Media for four years.