Chicago North Shore Moms presents the 2023/2024 Date Night and Restaurant Guide! This is your go-to resource for a great night out with your partner and friends. All restaurant listings (and most experience listings) have been experienced and described by your CNSM site curator. We’ve done the research for you, just scan and pick. You deserve a great night out so get going!
Thank you so much to CNSM Date Night Guide sponsor, Renaissance Chicago Glenview Suites Hotel, without whom this guide would not have been possible. Opened in 2020, the Renaissance Chicago Glenview Suites Hotel’s distinctive style combines touches of luxury with local Illinois history to provide you with a unique guest experience. The Renaissance Glenview caters unparalleled amenities, such as an on-site fitness center, free Wi-Fi, luxurious indoor pool and innovative event space.
Hangar Two by Tangled Roots Brewing Company (TRBC) opened in January of 2021. This was the second location that Tangled Roots Brewing Company opened, with the flagship location, The Lone Buffalo, being in Ottawa, IL. Hangar Two is a nod to the US Naval air station that was once at the heart of Glenview, IL. All TRBC locations give a local nod to the community in which it serves. The menu contains dishes ranging from familiar favorites to our chef’s more adventurous creations. On draft are a variety of TRBC craft beers that rotate regularly. There is a beer for everyone with the wide variety of flavors, styles, and seasonal brews. The glass atrium is relaxing and vibrant at the same time and each dish is as delish as it is artistic.
Whether you’re in the mood for a festive ladies night, low-key dinner with friends or romantic, fine-dining experience with your partner, you can find the perfect night out in downtown Evanston. Check out the list of restaurants offering a range of cuisines, craft cocktails and beer, unique ambiances and more!
Located at the south entrance of The Glen Town Center, Wildfire Glenview opened in 2004. Since then, Wildfire has been serving Glenview the best steaks, chops and seafood. What we love about this place is visit after visit you can expect the same high quality dishes and beautiful wine pairings. You must dine on the heated patio when weather permits.
Blufish is precision sushi. It’s one of the best North Shore sushi spots we’ve found in terms of atmosphere and more importantly the quality and selection of fish. Every plate and every glass has been thoughtfully hand picked by the executive chef. The team at Blufish Sushi devotes itself to providing a unique dining experience through our modern interpretation of traditional Japanese cuisine at its finest. The Glenview location is nothing to special but once inside you’ll be transported to a fun city-like upscale vibe.
Libertad is a go-to date night restaurant, just off the beaten path. Its Latin American cuisine is simple and solid, and one could easily order just about everything on the menu with a large enough party. Sampling is the way to go here. At Libertad, indulge in the craft cocktails for the perfect compliment to your meal. In the warmer months, the restaurant doubles in size with a generous outdoor garden space away from busy street noise.
Koi offers fresh sushi, authentic Chinese cuisines from 8 different regions of China and Dim Sum Brunch with $12 bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary every weekend. The relaxing setting for date night, or just catching up with friends or sharing a family-style meal with the ones you love. And it’s delish!
Good to Go is a Jamaican Cuisine restaurant that fuses the mouth-watering taste of Caribbean food with exciting new tropical cocktails and craft beer. House specialties include Jerk Chicken, Oxtail, Brown Stew Chicken, Curry Goat and Jerk Pork. The tropical cocktails, imported Jamaican beverages, fresh squeezed vegetable juices and smoothies complete the island offerings. The interior is lively and fun and you’re sure to have a great time here and walk away stuffed!
Campagnola serves sophisticated, rustic Italian cuisine in a friendly neighborhood-restaurant atmosphere. Chef Vince DiBattista and his team are committed to sourcing the best in seasonal locally-grown ingredients, and presenting dishes in a simple, straightforward style. This is one our favorite Italian restaurants on the North Shore and the quaint atmosphere makes an intimate dining experience. Save some room after dinner and head down the street to Hoosier Mama Pie Company for their mouth-watering selections.
Since 1995, Tapas Barcelona has been serving fine Spanish cuisine in Evanston, IL at an affordable price. We believe that eating out is a celebration and want every guest to feel welcome whether they are on a first date, having a business meeting or a girls night out. The colorful decor gives way to a vibrant atmosphere with dishes that taste just like Spain.
Owner Jennifer Eisen shares her passion for food, family and style at House 406 in Northbrook. Lovingly named after the Eisen family’s Montana vacation home, the restaurant features locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, bringing a farm-to-table experience to the North Shore. This local establishment is serene and makes for a more demure night out. Oh and there’s a lovely outdoor patio in the warmer months here, too!
501 Local is a neighborhood bistro and the perfect place for friends and family to enjoy delicious food and drinks either on the beautiful patio or in the warm, inviting dining room. Who doesn’t love a good patio during the warm months?! Everyone will find something to love on our creative “American with a Twist” menu. We also offer a thoughtful selection of wine, craft beer and signature cocktails.
Pomeroy is a very special date night destination and they’ve got the 411 on French cuisine. If you’ve ever wanted to try (or already love) escargot, this is the place. The atmosphere here is that of a parisian bistro with upscale fair. With just over two years young in this location, Pomeroy is still tough to get into so book ahead.
Mino’s Italian in Winnetka is another great option for Italian cuisine. The interior is huge and can accommodate many, but once you’re seated the atmosphere is a combination of bustling and alive with quaint and intimate. Everything on the menu us good here and prepared with precision. Enjoy your night out here. Perhaps leave some room for dessert at Graeter’s Ice Cream which is 2 minute walk south of the restaurant.
Guanajuato Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar is the brainchild of Margarita Challenger and Jovanny Diaz. Born in Mexico, they missed the flavors of their home region, Guanajuato, when they moved to the north suburbs of Chicago. Focusing on fresh, seasonal ingredients and traditional cooking techniques, they have been bringing a little taste of Mexico to the North Shore for over a decade. This upscale Mexican cuisine never disappoints. The craft cocktails feature fresh whole ingredients and the atmosphere is upbeat and lively. Don’t miss the live music or a chance to dine on the patio.
Michael Paulsen, Executive Chef and owner, brings 20 years of experience and enthusiasm for cooking to all aspects of the Abigail’s dining experience. “Emphasis on fresh and local ingredients and a connection to place will be the credo here. We’re speaking to our customer and neighbors through Abigail’s kitchen. The food, the decor, the size and scale of the space and our staff working together creates the ideal neighborhood dining experience. Every dish served is very important to me because there are no strangers in a small restaurant.” And this place, friends, is a personal staple of special occasion dining and even carry out. Whatever you eat, don’t skip the little biscuits that are served in lieu of bread.
Call for reservations.
Photo courtesy of Longitud315
The Fusion of South American flavors concept was born as a result of Chef Tony’s culinary upbringing in Venezuela and cooking side to side with his grandmother who traveled to various countries in South America. The chimichurri sauce served with crispy plantains is so darn good you could drink it. But don’t fill up before your courses arrive! A not so secret secret about Longitud315 is that there is a private dining room upstairs and a outdoor patio in the back. The craft cocktails are another level here. Yum.
The interior to Miramar is eclectic and refreshing – everything pops and it just works! Miramar (named after an exclusive suburb of Havana) offers classic bistro dishes, executed at the intensely high level of quality loyal diners have come to expect a block away at Gabriel’s restaurant, as well as Cuban-style pressed sandwiches and American staples like a hamburger and oysters Rockefeller that are second to none. Don’t miss the chance to dine outside in the warmer months!
Photo courtesy of Authentico.
“At our Mexican restaurant in Lake Forest, IL, we serve authentic Mexican food cooked to perfection using fresh, high-quality ingredients. With each bite, you will enjoy the delightfully distinct flavors for which south-of-the-border cuisine is known. Visit our restaurant and treat yourself to a delicious meal.” Um, I concur. Love this place for a date night but also for a girls night out.
Photo courtesy of Le Colonial Lake Forest.
Founded in 1993, Le Colonial is a culinary innovation, offering an upscale French–Vietnamese fusion cuisine. The location in Lake Forest boasts 4 events spaces ranging from 12 to 50 guests. The upscale night club vibe is fun and refreshing and the cuisine will take you on a little trip without getting on an airplane!
Deer Path Inn, located in the heart of downtown Lake Forest, is luxurious comfort all in one cozy, warm place. Visit the The English Room for a special dining experience (the garden patio is vacation in a wine glass) and make sure to experience Afternoon Tea at least once! For a more casual experience head downstairs to The Pub for a delicious menu of English-inspired pub fair. Head the through White Hart Pub and into The Bar for a little of this and a little of that, including one of the best sushi options around. You’ll love it here.
Maevery Public House is fun and puts you in the heart of Lake Bluff’s adorable downtown. The ever-evolving menus highlight items that are chef driven, simple and straightforward. From the sausage to the ketchup, everything is house made. The bar program features thoughtfully crafted, smart riffs on classic cocktails. The wine list is composed of mostly American standouts by both the glass and bottle. Try one of our four wines on tap. Craft beers, domestic favorites and super local beers are also available.
We have a super cool music venue right in our backyard! This intimate space holds 240 concert-goers. Over the past decade, SPACE has welcomed thousands of local and national touring acts to our stage, including The Lumineers, Alabama Shakes, Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, David Lindley, The Weepies, Dr. John, Lucinda Williams and many more. The recording studio has served as a creative space for bands like The Strumbellas and The Lone Bellow to record, and offers musicians passing through a unique opportunity to rehearse and collaborate pre-show. Check out the line up here.
All experiences do require a minimum of four participants. For those who aren’t familiar, an Escape Room is a space that has been decorated, designed, and decked out with a theme and puzzles that you and a group of friends will have an hour to solve. Traditionally, the end-goal of an Escape Room is to, as the name suggests, Escape the Room by solving the puzzles and unlocking the front door. However, unlike other Escape Rooms, you won’t be locked into a room at Lock Chicago–you will be given alternate end-goals for each challenge, so this is a Challenge Room adventure rather than an Escape Room. Book your adventure here.
The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts annually mounts more than 40 productions in theatre, music theatre, and dance. Undergraduate actors, managers, and playwrights, alongside graduate designers, directors, and dramaturgs, collaborate on works both classic and contemporary for audiences of all ages. There’s not a bad seat in the house and we think you’ll be blown away by the level of detail and acting these productions exemplify. Search for shows here.
The Wilmette Theatre was established in 1913 as a single-screen movie theatre. In 1989 the theatre was divided into two spaces allowing for the opportunity to offer more showings. The theatre has since been updated to those cozy seats we all love. The Theatre has played host to many fabulous movies and film festivals over the years and is excited to continue the tradition. The Theatre hosts many live events including musical performances, comedy, dance, etc. As a Non For Profit space, the Wilmette Theatre is funded by grants, donations, and visits from our lovely patrons. Visit this link to find out what’s playing.
The NORTH SHORE CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS IN SKOKIE is a dynamic two-theater complex operating as part of the Village of Skokie plan to provide cultural, literary and educational programs to benefit Chicago’s North Shore. The facility features an 867-seat mainstage theater and a convertible 318-seat theater. The North Shore Center presents a Feature Series of entertainment spanning numerous genres and styles, and an educational performing arts program, Youtheatre. Visit this link to find out what’s playing.
Axe throwing? Sure, why not get a bunch of people who want to blow off steam and rage a bit in one cozy building. Ha! Perhaps this one’s not for everyone but if you’d like to try it, you’re not alone. In fact, this, um, sport, is picking up speed with Millenials. The Bullseye axe throwing facility not only has one of the best axes and targets but they pride themselves on an ambient atmosphere for all guests to enjoy. Just don’t axe-identally make anyone mad.
Oil Lamp Theater is an award-winning sixty-seat storefront theater located in the heart of downtown Glenview. They produce six mainstage theatrical plays per year, and offer special events such as our Speak Easy Nights. When you arrive at the theater, you are personally welcomed by the friendly box office staff. The lobby features warm decor and comfortable seating, reminiscent of a home. The theater’s intimate space and ambitious productions connect the audience and performers to create a truly unique experience. To top it all off, they offer complimentary cookies at all mainstage shows!
Pinstripes is your one-stop date night complete with a fabulous meal and entertainment to boot! Try your hand at bocce or throw a ball down a lane while devouring the legit delicious bistro-style menu items. Don’t miss out on the flat bread! Reserve ahead because they fill up in advance. Oh, and give that giant Sunday brunch buffet a try, too. Make your Pinstripes reservations here.
This brand new, gorgeous theater is luxe and fully loaded with entertainment. Stop in early to enjoy a fully stocked bar, a solid dish, play a little pool and watch a few sporting events on the HUGE screens. Then hop into a movie. Tell the sitter you need like 5 hours!
This quant wine shop is woman-owned and operated. Located in the West Elm district of Winnetka, Good Grapes offers tasting events throughout the year as well as a summer series that you won’t want to miss. The locations is off the beaten path and super quiet with tons of great dining and shopping options on foot. Check back often for updates.
Located in the heart of downtown Glencoe is a hidden gem that we think you should check out. Writers Theater presents a fully renovated world class theater and turns 31 this year! Since its founding in 1992, Writers Theatre has stayed true to its core values: valuing the power of the written word and uplifting the artists who bring that word to life. The company has produced over 120 productions—everything from inventive interpretations of classics to groundbreaking new work. In 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility designed by the internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to accommodate its growing audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. Check out what’s playing here.
If you’ve lived on the North Shore a while, you already know what a gem Chicago Botanic Garden is. The Chicago Botanic Garden opened 50 years ago as a beautiful place to visit, and it has matured into one of the world’s great living museums and conservation science centers. Every year, more than one million people visit the Garden’s 28 gardens and four natural areas, uniquely situated on 385 acres on and around nine islands, with six miles of lake shoreline. In the summertime the garden comes alive with weekly concert series, a garden bistro and cafe open until 9 most nights, beer garden and more. You could easily spend hours here over and over again. It’s a very special place.
Ravinia® is an internationally renowned, not-for-profit music festival, that presents outstanding performances by the world’s greatest artists. The enchanting 36-acre park boasts three venues and the popular Lawn where picnicking is an art. Boating four theatres in the park and fine dining, Ravinia is a go-to destination during the warmer months (and cooler months at the indoor theatres). You can go all out and pack the tables, chairs, linens and fake candles. Or you can bring just yourself and enjoy a lovely night of music and celebration.
Luna Rosa is a woman-owned and operated wine shop located in the heart of Highland Park. What’s unique about this wine shop is that owner, Diana Effio identifies wines that are created by woman-owned orchards and wineries. Check the event link for information on ticketed wine pair events that are both soothing and delicious. Pick up a bottle or join the wine club for a chance to experience something new each month and celebrate over and over again.
Highland Park is home to yet another winery and while Lynfred has been around for decades, Highland Park is excited to welcome this newest location, which opened in 2022. The calendar is full every month so check it out and head over to Lynfred for some pre-dinner tasting!
Borrowing from classic European cafes and casual American coffee shops, Beermiscuous offers a simple environment to just chill. Read a book by the fireplace. Pop your laptop open and use our free Wi-Fi to get some work done. Unwind after work with friends. Draft your fantasy teams. Host a knitting class. Play a board game. Impress your date with a place where conversations take center stage. Better yet, create your own adventure. Open until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, this is a great place chill after a nice meal in pretty much any restaurant within walking distance. A few suggestions: Tacos El Norte and La Plancha Loca.
What could be more romantic (and present a comedy of errors) than cooking together? Taste Buds Kitchen offers adults only BYOB classes that tend to sell out well in advance. Check out the schedule here and prepare to experiment.
Citadel Theatre is committed to producing exciting, compelling, emotionally and intellectually rich work of the highest caliber by bringing together gifted professionals from all theatrical disciplines. The intimate 100-person theatre presents compelling musicals and plays that will delight and impress you. Check here for tickets.
The Art Center Highland Park is located in the heart of Highland Park with great restaurant options within walking distance. A few ideas to do here: “We have new exhibition opening receptions once a month, usually 5:30-8pm, that are always free and open to the public. They are well attended and fun events, offering light bites, drinks and live music. We also have Late Nights at the Galleries in the Summer, usually 6-8pm, with live music – often popular local musicians and songwriters – and picnic/carryout on the lawn. Lastly, there’s also the possibility to book a group craft night in advance, to create pottery, mosaic trays, jewelry, etc… and have very special creative fun together. So much to do here!
Get to know our sponsor, Renaissance Chicago Glenview Suites Hotel!
Chicago North Shore Moms asked Fay Ander, mom of two and director of sales for Renaissance Glenview, a few questions about what makes this property such a great place to retreat for one night or many nights:
What makes your property a great staycation for busy couples?
Couples can stay here and not only get a great night of sleep but also enjoy the wonderful amenities on the property. Enjoy a walk in our indoor greenhouse, a dip in our year-round pool, an experience with your taste buds at our evening ritual all in one place. Indulge your night with space and privacy in our full suites hotel complete with living rooms and separate bedrooms in every hotel room. Finally, top off your mini getaway with your favorite drink at our Lobby Starbucks or enjoy a gourmet breakfast in our restaurant.
What are your favorite surrounding restaurants for date night?
Hangar Two offers curated brews, custom cocktails, and creative bites. Johnny’s Bourbon Kitchen and Tap has a lively atmosphere with rotating entertainment. Kong Dog let’s you get playful with your food.
How about stuff to do near Renaissance Glenview? Are there any great comedy stores, escape rooms, ax-throwing bars, etc that we should know about?
Located directly across the street is The Grove at Redfield Estate. Beautiful walking paths and meticulously designed gardens offer a delightful engagement with nature with zero impact on your wallet. Take our complimentary local shuttle to Pinstripes where you can get your competitive juices flowing with bocce and bowling or to Oil Lamp Theater where they provide a grand theatrical experience in an intimate space.