CHICAGO | Geja’s Cafe is a Chicago institution, and is considered by many national publications to be one of Chicago’s most romantic restaurants. In fact it styles itself as “Chicago’s most romantic fondue restaurant”. Patrons of Geja’s Cafe will be delighted to learn that they have now expanded their dining space to include an outdoor space with fire pits, and we were recently invited to check out the new space.
Geja’s Cafe has been home to countless first dates and engagements since it opened in 1965. When it opened, Geja’s Café was considered to be Chicago’s first wine bar with a wine society founded by original owner John Davis. The inspiration for the name of the restaurant comes from the Moroccan Prince Geja. The Prince spent most of his childhood on Mt. Tizi in the Atlas Mountains, and when he was older, he opened up an establishment that served the finest wines and cheeses from all over the globe. Today, the wine list has a very European influence, with many choices from France, Germany, Italy and Spain amongst others from around the world and closer to home.
We had a fantastic time trying wines from the Harvest menu and enjoyed Geja’s signature cheese and chocolate fondue in a romantic and cozy atmosphere. The set consisted of marshmallows (roasted in the flame), crushed Graham crackers (for s’mores), strawberries, cherries, apple, pineapple, pound cake and rice krispie cake. It was all very tasty.
As for the atmosphere of the place, we were pleased to see that all of the classic décor and original bar from the Wells Street location has remained untouched. Current owner Jeff Lawler has said that “The Geja’s experience will now only be enhanced the moment you step onto the patio.” and “We feel that the addition of the outdoor patio with fire pits and garden flowers as guests enter will only add to the romance and ambiance that is Geja’s.” When we visited we saw what Lawler was talking about – the new space does enhance, rather than replace, the original. The atmosphere of the restaurant and intimate dining experience is perfectly complimented by the Flamenco guitarist who plays on the weekends.
There’s good reason that Geja’s is a Chicago institution, and the new addition captures this. Just one thing to be aware of for all of you Instagrammers out there – Geja’s is very dark, and it’s tough to get good photos as you can see from our shots. Our advice? Put away the camera and enjoy the romantic ambience and the company you’re with.
340 West Armitage Avenue
Mon – Thu: 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Fri – Sat: 5:00pm to 11:00pm
Sun: 4:00pm to 9:00pm