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Chicago Classics: Geja's Cafe

By Anthony Todd in Food on May 21, 2008 4:15PM

Gejas.jpgRestaurant reviewers and food writers are always focused on the newest, the hippest and the trendiest of restaurants. The new place that opened last week often becomes more important to us than the establishments that have stood the test of time. Periodically, we want to make sure some of these Chicago classics get their due.

Geja’s Café has been serving up romance and great food for over 40 years. The restaurant has so many awards for “most romantic dining location” on its walls that it’s hard to see the wood paneling behind them.

The awards are entirely warranted. The restaurant feels like a world apart. Even when it’s bright and sunny outside, walking into Geja’s makes you feel like you’ve entered a secret club on the other side of the world. Adding to the ambiance, Geja’s has a number of skilled flamenco/classical guitarists that perform nightly.

Marshmellows.jpgUnlike other popular fondue restaurants, all you have to choose at Geja’s is the varieties of meats and vegetables that you want to cook – the other choices are made for you. You can choose from chicken, aged beef tenderloin, lobster tail, jumbo shrimp and scallops, as well as an assortment of fresh vegetables. Dinners at Geja’s come as a package starting with a savory cheese fondue (complete with bread, grapes and apple wedges to dip), a salad, your meat/fish/veggies cooked in oil and a decadent chocolate fondue for dessert. Furthermore, your server will light a layer of orange liqueur atop your chocolate fondue on fire so you can roast marshmallows.

The food is simple and interactive. While some may complain about the irony of cooking your own food at a restaurant, we think it’s fun to try many combinations of sauces, meats and vegetables. For diners looking for something less pricey, Geja’s offers a package with just the cheese fondue, salad and chocolate for $20/person. You’ll walk out completely stuffed with food. Next time you’re looking for something different or have to choose a date spot, check them out.

Geja’s Café is located at 340 W. Armitage. Reservations are strongly recommended. Valet parking is available for $10.