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Where to Eat in The West Loop

Chicago’s hottest dining neighborhood

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The West Loop
| Photo by West Loop Community Organization

When it comes to the best food neighborhood in Chicago — and, quite possibly, the country — the West Loop nears the top of all lists. With decades-old mainstays holding down Randolph Restaurant Row and new openings occurring every month, diners needn’t look far when booking a world-class dinner in these parts. They just need to book a table far in advance.

From the old-school Italian and Brazilian-inspired, to tasting-menu destinations and Scandinavian-simplified, here are 15 of the West Loop’s best bets for eating and drinking. Listed from west to east.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Elske

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1350 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-1314
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Elske, from the husband-and-wife team of David and Anna Posey, focuses on Danish and Scandinavian influences. It’s an expertly-executed hybrid that landed them a spot on Eater National’s Best Restaurants of 2017. The menu is comprised of hyper seasonal nods to simplistic cuisine, from a duck liver tart with buckwheat and salted ramps or soft scrambled eggs with confit chicken thigh and crispy grains, to a sunflower seed parfait with sour honey, licorice, and bee pollen.

Marc Much

2. Macello Ristorante

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1235 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 850-9870
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This restaurant has been serving up regional Italian cuisine since its opening in 2007. Puglia is the focus of their efforts through and through, an approach that reveals itself by way of dishes like Pugliese pizza with mortadella and burrata, orecchiette with rapini, red pepper flake, and garlic, and lamb chop casserole with risotto, potatoes, capers, and Kalamata olives. Grain-averse crowds are covered, too, thanks to a medley of gluten-free pasta options.

Posted by Macello - Chicago on Saturday, April 29, 2017

3. Mad Social

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1140 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 243-2097
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Gina Stefani’s first restaurant has the locals line the seats for classic American fare with a twist. The menu includes Havarti mac and cheese — with sweet corn, wild mushrooms, and crispy Brussels sprouts — and chicken and waffles with chicken breast Milanese, hot sauce, pork belly, and maple syrup. Even the burger gets gussied up in the hands of chef Alex Theodoroff, as evidenced by the likes of house ground wagyu, Chihuahua cheese, Cajun onion strings, and a brioche bun.

Marc Much

4. Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio

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1020 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 888-3041
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Monteverde chef and Top Chef alum Sarah Grueneberg is no stranger to the spotlight, and this year was no exception — she took the title for “Best Chef: Great Lakes” at the James Beard Awards for her work at this buzzing Italian eatery. An in-house pastificio means pasta reigns here (just one bite of the cacio whey pepe or ragu alla Napoletana proves it), but there’s plenty of impressive accompanying eats, too, from skate schnitzel, to PBT — prosciutto butter toast with Broadbent Berkshire Country Ham, European-style butter, and lemon marmellata.

Marc Much

5. Bonci Pizzeria

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161 N Sangamon St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 243-4016
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Chicago lucked out with the August opening of this Rome-based restaurant, the first Bonci outside of Italy. Gabriele Bonci has allowed his famed al taglio-style pizza — a crispy, airy crust — that comes in 20 different varieties. Cut-to-order portions are perfect for every appetite, and a menu stretches beyond pies with sandwiches, salads, and suppli — Roman-inspired rice and pasta balls stuffed with cheese and meats.

6. WonFun & 2Fun Chinese

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905 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 877-5967
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Though Chicago sports a vastly underrated Chinatown, some of the city’s better Sichuan cuisine can be had at the curiously-named WonFun, the second restaurant from Austin Baker, one of Brendan Sodikoff’s proteges. Get a dose of mala with spicy chicken wings or spring for the barbecue duck hanging in the kitchen. 2Fun is the second-floor lounge where there’s karaoke and more.

Marc Much

7. J.P. Graziano Grocery

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901 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 666-4587
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Randolph Street is filled with fine-dining restaurants, but Graziano’s continues to thrive. The old Italian grocer has pivoted toward using those artisan ingredients in some of the city’s best sandwiches. The Mr. G is their signature submarine, something all Chicago carnivores should try.

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8. Leña Brava

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900 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-1975
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Rick Bayless and team opened this restaurant with the goal of familiarizing guests with the Baja region of Mexico, an area dedicated to seafood and plenty of wood-fired cooking. The menu follows suit, featuring ocean fare like ceviches, aguachiles and laminados alongside wood-burning oven favorites like grilled heirloom corn flatbread and black cod “al pastor,” with pineapple-shiso salsa and spicy Napa salad. Don’t miss their drinks list, complete with more than 150 mezcals and the country’s largest list of Mexican wines from the Valle de Guadalupe. Bayless’ neighboring microbrewery, Cruz Blanca, caters to craft beer nerds.

9. El Che Bar

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845 W Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 265-1130
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Chef John Manion is behind the Argentinean-inspired fare at this off-the-row restaurant, a sister spot to Brazilian eatery La Sirena Clandestina. Kick things off with grilled Delaware oysters (complete with garlic aioli, Anaheim mignonette, and crispy potato) before working through an array of flame-grilled meats, including the pork chops — thinly-cut portions with sliced grapes, chopped scallions, mustard, peanuts, and cilantro. Larger groups can top it all off with the Pinguinos Punch, the restaurant’s large format punch that rotates seasonally.

Marc Much

10. Momotaro

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820 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-4818
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The well-heeled and in-the-know are found on the nightly at this Japanese restaurant from Boka, where a main dining room and lower-level izakaya provide equally exciting menu options from chef Mark Hellyar. Wherever the table is, bring a group and order generously — between crowd-pleasers like summer ramen, cedar-roasted kurodai, and Momotaro tartare (with sweet tomato and Japanese milk bread), it’s best to employ a “try everything” kind of approach here.

Marc Much

11. Girl & The Goat

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809 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 492-6262
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Out-of-towners and locals continue to line up for a table at Iron Chef Stephanie Izard’s first restaurant, an outpost for the Top Chef winner’s playful takes on contemporary American cuisine. For Izard, that means plates that are just as approachable (e.g. roasted cauliflower, pan fried shishito peppers, pan roasted halibut), as they are daring (wood oven roasted pig face, goat carpaccio, braised beef tongue).

Marc Much

12. Au Cheval

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800 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 929-4580
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Brendan Sodikoff has been drawing crowds to this corner fixture for elevated, diner-style fare ever since he opened up shop five years ago. Around-the-corner lines can mostly be chalked up to one dish, in particular, though — the burger, a coming together of two beef patties that are topped with melted sharp American cheese, house-made pickles, finely diced red onions, and dijonnaise on a toasted bun.

An Au Cheval Cheeseburger
Marc Much

13. Oriole

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661 W Walnut St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 877-5339
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Within just a year this restaurant acquired some of the biggest accolades in the industry, from two Michelin stars and Jean Banchet’s “Best New Restaurant” 2017 title, to a spot on Eater National’s “Best New Restaurants” for 2016. Credit that dynamic debut to the detail-oriented tasting menus from chef Noah Sandoval, who’s become known for bites like beausoleil oysters with mangalica consommé and capellini with perigord truffle, rye berry, and yeast.

Nick Murway

14. Grace

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652 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 234-9494
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Food fanatics travel near and far to experience the three-Michelin star experience that is Grace, chef Curtis Duffy’s dining destination that opened its doors in 2012. Duffy offers two tasting menus — one focusing on protein, the other on vegetables — each one highlighting carefully-composed dishes with an emphasis on ingredients and seasonality (think Alaskan King Crab atop cucumber juice and beneath a sugar tuile of trout roe, sudachi puree, floral cream, togarashi, and lemon balm).

Barry Brecheisen

15. avec Restaurant

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615 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 377-2002
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It’s been nearly 15 years since One Off Hospitality’s Paul Kahan and Donnie Madia opened their second restaurant adjacent to industry darling Blackbird. Avec’s focus is the same now as it’s always been: Mediterranean and Midwestern-influenced shared plates made possible with a wood-fired oven. Those dishes take the form of established go-tos, such as chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce, seasonally-rotating whole roasted fish, and wood oven paella with confit chicken thigh, snail boudin, shrimp, and tangerine aioli. This fall the intimate space expands — a second-floor events and bar area is in the works.

Barry Brecheisen

16. Proxi

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565 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 466-1950
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This neighborhood newcomer features global, street-food inspired eats from executive chef and partner Andrew Zimmerman (who also helms the kitchen next door at Sepia). Expect flavor-packed plates like tempura elotes, fried fish collars, and barbecue lamb ribs with mango pickles and cashews, all within gorgeous surroundings. The team tapped NYC design firm Meyer Davis for the space’s cavernous, warehouse-chic ambiance.

Marc Much

1. Elske

1350 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Marc Much

Elske, from the husband-and-wife team of David and Anna Posey, focuses on Danish and Scandinavian influences. It’s an expertly-executed hybrid that landed them a spot on Eater National’s Best Restaurants of 2017. The menu is comprised of hyper seasonal nods to simplistic cuisine, from a duck liver tart with buckwheat and salted ramps or soft scrambled eggs with confit chicken thigh and crispy grains, to a sunflower seed parfait with sour honey, licorice, and bee pollen.

1350 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

2. Macello Ristorante

1235 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60607

This restaurant has been serving up regional Italian cuisine since its opening in 2007. Puglia is the focus of their efforts through and through, an approach that reveals itself by way of dishes like Pugliese pizza with mortadella and burrata, orecchiette with rapini, red pepper flake, and garlic, and lamb chop casserole with risotto, potatoes, capers, and Kalamata olives. Grain-averse crowds are covered, too, thanks to a medley of gluten-free pasta options.

1235 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607

3. Mad Social

1140 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607
Marc Much

Gina Stefani’s first restaurant has the locals line the seats for classic American fare with a twist. The menu includes Havarti mac and cheese — with sweet corn, wild mushrooms, and crispy Brussels sprouts — and chicken and waffles with chicken breast Milanese, hot sauce, pork belly, and maple syrup. Even the burger gets gussied up in the hands of chef Alex Theodoroff, as evidenced by the likes of house ground wagyu, Chihuahua cheese, Cajun onion strings, and a brioche bun.

1140 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60607

4. Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio

1020 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607
Marc Much

Monteverde chef and Top Chef alum Sarah Grueneberg is no stranger to the spotlight, and this year was no exception — she took the title for “Best Chef: Great Lakes” at the James Beard Awards for her work at this buzzing Italian eatery. An in-house pastificio means pasta reigns here (just one bite of the cacio whey pepe or ragu alla Napoletana proves it), but there’s plenty of impressive accompanying eats, too, from skate schnitzel, to PBT — prosciutto butter toast with Broadbent Berkshire Country Ham, European-style butter, and lemon marmellata.

1020 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60607

5. Bonci Pizzeria

161 N Sangamon St, Chicago, IL 60607

Chicago lucked out with the August opening of this Rome-based restaurant, the first Bonci outside of Italy. Gabriele Bonci has allowed his famed al taglio-style pizza — a crispy, airy crust — that comes in 20 different varieties. Cut-to-order portions are perfect for every appetite, and a menu stretches beyond pies with sandwiches, salads, and suppli — Roman-inspired rice and pasta balls stuffed with cheese and meats.

161 N Sangamon St
Chicago, IL 60607

6. WonFun & 2Fun Chinese

905 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Marc Much

Though Chicago sports a vastly underrated Chinatown, some of the city’s better Sichuan cuisine can be had at the curiously-named WonFun, the second restaurant from Austin Baker, one of Brendan Sodikoff’s proteges. Get a dose of mala with spicy chicken wings or spring for the barbecue duck hanging in the kitchen. 2Fun is the second-floor lounge where there’s karaoke and more.

905 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

7. J.P. Graziano Grocery

901 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Facebook

Randolph Street is filled with fine-dining restaurants, but Graziano’s continues to thrive. The old Italian grocer has pivoted toward using those artisan ingredients in some of the city’s best sandwiches. The Mr. G is their signature submarine, something all Chicago carnivores should try.

901 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

8. Leña Brava

900 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

Rick Bayless and team opened this restaurant with the goal of familiarizing guests with the Baja region of Mexico, an area dedicated to seafood and plenty of wood-fired cooking. The menu follows suit, featuring ocean fare like ceviches, aguachiles and laminados alongside wood-burning oven favorites like grilled heirloom corn flatbread and black cod “al pastor,” with pineapple-shiso salsa and spicy Napa salad. Don’t miss their drinks list, complete with more than 150 mezcals and the country’s largest list of Mexican wines from the Valle de Guadalupe. Bayless’ neighboring microbrewery, Cruz Blanca, caters to craft beer nerds.

900 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

9. El Che Bar

845 W Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL 60607
Marc Much

Chef John Manion is behind the Argentinean-inspired fare at this off-the-row restaurant, a sister spot to Brazilian eatery La Sirena Clandestina. Kick things off with grilled Delaware oysters (complete with garlic aioli, Anaheim mignonette, and crispy potato) before working through an array of flame-grilled meats, including the pork chops — thinly-cut portions with sliced grapes, chopped scallions, mustard, peanuts, and cilantro. Larger groups can top it all off with the Pinguinos Punch, the restaurant’s large format punch that rotates seasonally.

845 W Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60607

10. Momotaro

820 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60607
Marc Much

The well-heeled and in-the-know are found on the nightly at this Japanese restaurant from Boka, where a main dining room and lower-level izakaya provide equally exciting menu options from chef Mark Hellyar. Wherever the table is, bring a group and order generously — between crowd-pleasers like summer ramen, cedar-roasted kurodai, and Momotaro tartare (with sweet tomato and Japanese milk bread), it’s best to employ a “try everything” kind of approach here.

820 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607

11. Girl & The Goat

809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Marc Much

Out-of-towners and locals continue to line up for a table at Iron Chef Stephanie Izard’s first restaurant, an outpost for the Top Chef winner’s playful takes on contemporary American cuisine. For Izard, that means plates that are just as approachable (e.g. roasted cauliflower, pan fried shishito peppers, pan roasted halibut), as they are daring (wood oven roasted pig face, goat carpaccio, braised beef tongue).

809 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

12. Au Cheval

800 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
An Au Cheval Cheeseburger
Marc Much

Brendan Sodikoff has been drawing crowds to this corner fixture for elevated, diner-style fare ever since he opened up shop five years ago. Around-the-corner lines can mostly be chalked up to one dish, in particular, though — the burger, a coming together of two beef patties that are topped with melted sharp American cheese, house-made pickles, finely diced red onions, and dijonnaise on a toasted bun.

800 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

13. Oriole

661 W Walnut St, Chicago, IL 60661
Nick Murway

Within just a year this restaurant acquired some of the biggest accolades in the industry, from two Michelin stars and Jean Banchet’s “Best New Restaurant” 2017 title, to a spot on Eater National’s “Best New Restaurants” for 2016. Credit that dynamic debut to the detail-oriented tasting menus from chef Noah Sandoval, who’s become known for bites like beausoleil oysters with mangalica consommé and capellini with perigord truffle, rye berry, and yeast.

661 W Walnut St
Chicago, IL 60661

14. Grace

652 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661
Barry Brecheisen

Food fanatics travel near and far to experience the three-Michelin star experience that is Grace, chef Curtis Duffy’s dining destination that opened its doors in 2012. Duffy offers two tasting menus — one focusing on protein, the other on vegetables — each one highlighting carefully-composed dishes with an emphasis on ingredients and seasonality (think Alaskan King Crab atop cucumber juice and beneath a sugar tuile of trout roe, sudachi puree, floral cream, togarashi, and lemon balm).

652 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661

15. avec Restaurant

615 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661
Barry Brecheisen

It’s been nearly 15 years since One Off Hospitality’s Paul Kahan and Donnie Madia opened their second restaurant adjacent to industry darling Blackbird. Avec’s focus is the same now as it’s always been: Mediterranean and Midwestern-influenced shared plates made possible with a wood-fired oven. Those dishes take the form of established go-tos, such as chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce, seasonally-rotating whole roasted fish, and wood oven paella with confit chicken thigh, snail boudin, shrimp, and tangerine aioli. This fall the intimate space expands — a second-floor events and bar area is in the works.

615 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661

Related Maps

16. Proxi

565 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661
Marc Much

This neighborhood newcomer features global, street-food inspired eats from executive chef and partner Andrew Zimmerman (who also helms the kitchen next door at Sepia). Expect flavor-packed plates like tempura elotes, fried fish collars, and barbecue lamb ribs with mango pickles and cashews, all within gorgeous surroundings. The team tapped NYC design firm Meyer Davis for the space’s cavernous, warehouse-chic ambiance.

565 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661

Related Maps