V-Day's on the horizon, so use this guide and avoid getting trapped in an expensive prix-fixe, as obviously you're already trapped enough.
Mastro's (520 N Dearborn, at Grand; River North; 312.521.5100) Take in the tones of the central grand piano at the opulent steakery while dining on classics including snow crab claws, oysters Rockefeller, and a double-cut Porterhouse served bone-in, hopefully an omen for your evening.
Steak your claim at MastrosRestaurants.com
Onesixtyblue (1400 W Randolph St, at Loomis; West Loop; 312.850.0303) Hit the West Loop's sleek den for seasonal mod-American plates of acorn squash ravioli w/sage brown butter, slow-braised short ribs w/yellow grits, and toasted chestnuts/braised cabbage alongside roasted Wisconsin pheasant, which nonetheless won't set you back much cheddar.
You won't be blue if you nab a table at OneSixtyBlue.com
Le Colonial (937 N Rush St, btwn Walton and Oak; Gold Coast; 312.255.0088) The upscale French-Vietnamese mainstay's potted palms and photos of 1920s Saigon set the backdrop for wok-seared lemongrass chicken and bouillabaisse infused with coconut and aromatic herbs, who despite their pleasant smell are still dateless on V-Day.
Get your 'Nam on at LeColonialChicago.com
The Florentine (151 W Adams St, at LaSalle; Loop; 312.660.8866) Cozy up to a plush bookshelf-backed banquette before getting down Italian-style on antipasti like hamachi crudo w/ preserved lemon & pine nuts, and pastas including bucatini carbonara made with a duck egg, leaving the goosing up to you.
Use your noodle and check out The-Florentine.net
Sono Wood Fired (1582 N Clybourn Ave, at North; Lincoln Park; 312.255.1122) Feel the warmth of the wood-burning oven as you nibble on bruschetta layered with wild mushrooms & taleggio before exploring the globally sourced wine list and dozen handmade pizzas, such as the spicy sopressata/charred onion-topped Diavola, though if you're feeling really devilish you finish with the Mousse-olini.
Get her fired up at SonoWoodFired.com
Devon (39 E Chicago Ave, at Wasbash; River North; 312.440.8660) Migrate to the modern seafoodery for formerly swimming fare like scallops w/ crispy short ribs and chive gnocchi; grilled salmon panzanella (goat cheese, balsamic red onions); and macadamia-crusted opah w/ orange beurre blanc and grilled asparagus, which even under intense interrogation refuses to reveal why it makes your pee smell.
Life is the bubbles at DevonSeafood.com
Mercat a la Planxa (638 S Michigan Ave, at Balbo; South Loop; 312.765.0524) Exec chef'd by native Chicagoan and Iron Chef Jose Garces, Mercat's two-story views of Grant Park and colorfully modern Spanish decor set the tone for iron-grilled tapas particularly popular in Catalonia, so don't expect any Franco influences.
Get your tapas on at MercatChicago.com