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A variety of Indian dishes spread out on a table.
Vajra brings a hint of spice to West Town.
Neil John Burger/Vajra

Where to Eat and Drink in West Town

Experience some of the best spots the city has to offer

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Vajra brings a hint of spice to West Town.
| Neil John Burger/Vajra

West Town continues to add restaurants to one of the strongest neighborhoods for food in the city. There’s wonderful culinary diversity as owners crave a more affordable alternative to West Loop where corporate interests have helped real estate prices soar. In many minds,

Chicago Avenue has replaced Randolph Restaurant Row as the city’s main food drag. While that’s debatable, one of West Town’s assets is that great eats aren’t confined to a single street. Below find Eater Chicago’s favorites in the area.

As of March 2, Chicago restaurants are permitted to serve customers indoors with a 50 percent maximum capacity per room, or 50 people — whichever is fewer. At the same time, despite winter weather, a number of Chicago restaurants continue to offer outdoor seating. Regardless, the state requires reservations for indoor and outdoor dining. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as an endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Boeufhaus

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Chicago is home to dozens of excellent steakhouses but few provide an experience similar to Boeufhaus. Instead of steakhouse staples, the small French-German-inspired brasserie touts dishes such as short rib beignets, ceci bean cavatelli, and country pâté. The ribeyes are dry-aged for 55 days, giving them intense beefy flavor, while the lunch menu is heavy on sandwiches like the “Boeuf on Weck,” a Buffalo, New York specialty featuring slow-roasted beef, horseradish, caraway, sea salt, and jus on a Kummelweck roll.

Kimchi Pop by Chef Son

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Homestyle Korean food is the name of the game at this quaint restaurant on Ashland. Staples like bulgolgi (marinated ribeye) and tteokbokki (rice cakes) are wonderful, but indulge in one of the soups and stews. These restorative broths are spicy and unique. The Army Base Stew features hot dogs, Spam, cheese, kimchi, and more.

Temporis

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Only one new Chicago restaurant received a star in the 2019 Michelin Guide and it was this intimate 20-seat spot in West Town. Chefs Sam Plotnick and Troy Jorge craft a tasting menu experience that puts the spotlight on progressive American cuisine. The restaurant’s commitment to sourcing seasonal ingredients is represented in its hydroponic basement garden, which provides microgreens for the kitchen.

Three House

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Three House is a stylish counter service all-day restaurant. Find coffee, smoothies, burgers, empanadas, and fried chicken biscuits. The food is serious, but the vibe is laid back.

Dave Park and Jennifer Tran made waves running an acclaimed Korean stand (Hanbun) inside a suburban food court before deciding to close it down. The two have returned to the city in a big way with one of 2019’s biggest openings, Jeong. Taking a contemporary approach to traditional Korean flavors, Park constructs dishes like salmon tartare adorned with crème fraiche and crispy rice spheres, and tteokbokki bathing in spicy chili sauce and topped with pickled mustard and quail egg. In addition to the a la carte options, there’s also a modestly priced tasting menu as well as classic cocktails that feature Korean ingredients.

A bright sashimi dish that’s shaped like a disc. Jeong/Hahm Visuals

Bonhomme Hospitality expanded its footprint in West Town, opening a second restaurant next to its Beatnik. Porto provides Chicagoans with a glimpse of the Spanish coast through both fresh seafood and conservas, showcasing tinned seafood with gusto. Be aware: you’re clothes may smell a little smoky emerging from this haven, but it’s all worth it.

A large grilled whole fish on an intricate plate with a sides in a tin can. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Forbidden Root

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Chicago is home to the most breweries of any city in the country and that impressive lineup includes this unique botanical brewpub. Using plants and other natural ingredients, Forbidden Root offers options like strawberry basil hefeweizen, wildflower pale ale, and sparkling rosé ale.

Forbidden Root is a one of the best brewpubs in Chicago.
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

Beatnik

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Bonhomme Hospitality Group’s boho-chic restaurant and bar has been one of the area’s most buzzed-about places since its opening in 2017. The beautiful interior is decorated with lush greenery, glittering chandeliers, fine rugs, and comfy seating. An enclosed courtyard with a retractable skylight lets diners bathe in natural light, regardless of season, while enjoying creative cocktails and Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

Beatnik [Official Photo]

Lao Peng You

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The suburban brothers behind Lao Peng You have shared family recipes with Chicago that make up one of the most special Chinese restaurant in Chicago. The dumplings, which come in a slightly sour broth, are the highlight. Look for rotating specials, and the lamb bing bread is addictive.

A variety of Chinese dishes on a large table. Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Tamale Guy Chicago

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Tamale Guy Chicago opened in 2020, a joint venture between Claudio Velez — a tamale vendor who for the last two decades had become cult hero — and husband-and-wife Pierre and Kristin Vega. There’s been a falling out between the two parties, and Velez his filed a lawsuit. His tamales are still featured, but Pierre Vega has demonstrated his ability for first-rate tacos including an intoxicating quesabirria. While the legal matters need to be sorted out, the food is top notch and the restaurant represents a dream for Velez and Vega, a long-time Chicago restaurant veteran.

This part of town was in need of a South Asian restaurant, and Vajra goes above and beyond typical offerings. For Americans who are only familiar with buffet-style Indian-American food, Vajra will be a jolt. The ingredients are fresh, and it’s not just Indian food, but Nepali cuisine. That means order the momos, especially if goat is available. Order anything with goat. Also, the cocktails are the best in the neighborhood and available to go. While there are cultural apprehensions about alcohol, Vajra celebrates unique and composed beverages. Order carryout and delivery.

A table filled with plates of food. Vajra/Neil Burger

Fatso's Last Stand

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One of Chicago’s best hot dog stands has since opened a second location in Lincoln Park. While the original in West Town doesn’t have a liquor license, the burgers and dogs that made the operation special remain intact.

Funkenhausen

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Inspired by his family heritage and Charleston upbringing, Mark Steuer (Carriage House) presents hearty German fare with Southern flair at Funkenhausen, a modern beer hall. Classic Old World dishes get the fusion treatment, such as a Nashville hot schnitzel sandwich; spaetzle carbonara; and fried burrata with tomato jam, peaches, heirloom tomatoes, mint pesto, and more. The robust brunch program is a standout as well, with items like ham biscuit and steak and eggs for two, while the wine and beer selection is centered on Austria and Germany.

Funkenhausen brings a beer hall feel to West Town.
Barry Brecheisen

Fry the Coop

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The star of the menu at this suburban import is Nashville hot chicken, and the temperature is not for the weak. The sandwiches are crunch and moist. The space, the former Mexique, never got a chance to develop a rhythm pre-pandemic, but there’s a full bar inside.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

JJ Thai Street Food

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Sometimes diners want pad Thai. And while the trusted dish can be satisfying, J.J. Thai Street Food is a delightful reminder that there’s more to Thai cuisine in American than the standbys. Find Thai delights from pork sausage, Tiger cry, and fun noodle dishes. Try something new.

Sushi excellence is on full display at this Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient. Guests who want the complete experience can opt for the omakase options that feature some of the most premium ingredients.

This small and stylish spot has been attracting diners with creole-infused soul food. Chef and owner Bridgette Harris offers Southern comfort in the form of shrimp and grits, crab legs, fried catfish, lamb chops, and more. The restaurant is also popular among celebrities and the list of sightings has included NBA legend Scottie Pippen and rapper Lil Baby. It’s one of the only African-American owned restaurants in the area.

Soulé [Official Photo]

Bartoli's Pizzeria & Catering - West Town

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One of Chicago’s best deep-dish pizzerias recently opened up a second location. This small spot also sells pizza by the slice. The crust is buttery, but not the soggy sponges like some inferior pies offers. 

A slice of deep dish pizza being lifted out of the pan. Bartoli’s [Official Photo]

The Dawson

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Billy Lawless’s West Town restaurant is a beautiful space with plenty of sunlight. The menu is a delightful assortment of American pub food from grilled fish tacos, Shepherd’s pie, to pozole. The cocktail program is strong, and what Lawless spot doesn’t have a solid whisky list?

Aya Pastry

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Aya Fukai’s genius is at play in West Town where her pastries have soared in popularity. From doughnuts that taste like Girl Scout cookies, to pizza dough for the home cook, Aya Pastry has become one of the city’s most indispensable businesses. Order to go.

Peruse the aisles for Italian goods at this grocer and deli and then head to the back of the store for a bite. The Italian sub is a favorite, while the beef sandwich is a contender for the best version in town. The tender, thick-cut meat is further improved with the addition of extra-spicy giardiniera. The meatballs are also top notch. Grab some to go for an easy weekday dinner.

D'Amato's Bakery

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Known for its bread — which caused a family spat with neighboring Italian grocer and sub shop Bari — D’Amato’s provides a taste of the old world with great cookies, tiramisu, and more. The bakery also sells sandwiches, but the sheet pizza is a more attractive meal option.

Tempesta Market

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Chicago’s sandwich scene received a big boost with the opening of this deli and eatery in 2017. Father-son duo Agostino and Tony Fiasche, who also operate Nduja Artisans Salumeria, are making terrific sandwiches filled with quality meats and cheeses. The signature nduja is a spicy spreadable sausage from the Calabria region of Italy and on the Dante sandwich, it’s whipped up into an aioli and layered with hot soppressata, mortadella, finnochinoa, hot coppa, porchetta, and more.

Uncle Mike's Place

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Chicago’s enjoyed a recent surge in Filipino restaurant openings. Before that wave, Uncle Mike’s Place had been proudly serving Filipino-style breakfast which is delicious on its own merits, but even more valuable to those who prefer savory over sweet for their morning meals. This might be the best skirt steak in Chicago.

Output Bar & Lounge

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This bar, a short walk from the United Center, wasn’t the most friendly until recently when owners realized it was sitting on a gold mine thanks to its chicken wing recipes. Output’s wings are among the best in the city, and the classic Buffalo style is hard to beat.

Liberation Donuts

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The owners of Upton Naturals — the vegan food company with a national following — recently opened a vegan doughnut shop. Liberation Donuts is available via Tock for delivery and has decadent treats without any animal products.

Piccolo Sogno

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Enjoying rustic Italian cuisine on Piccolo Sogno’s lush garden patio is an ideal way to escape the bustle of the city. Tony Priolo and Ciro Longobardo’s swanky River West restaurant, whose name translates to “little dream,” is a favorite for pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and other traditional Italian dishes made with the freshest ingredients. The all-Italian wine list offers hundreds of choices but guests don’t have to feel overwhelmed — the trained staff is more than capable of helping to find the right bottle.

Galdones Photography/Piccolo Sogno

Coalfire

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One of the city’s best pizzerias for thin crust, Coal Fire continues to deliver. The honey and salumi pie is a favorite, as is the lasagna pie.

Roost Chicken & Biscuits

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The Roost continues to be one of the best places for a fried chicken biscuit in town. This carryout/delivery-only spot serves downtown areas as well as West Town.

Three fried chicken sandwiches on a table. The Roost [Official Photo]

Mart Anthony's Italian Restaurant

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Step into a time warp while visiting Mart Anthony’s, a classic Chicago dive. Red sauce lovers will enjoy the cooking here, and the bar provides neighborhood ambience. For fans of venerable Sabatino’s, an Italian restaurant that closed in 2019, find solace that one of the eatery’s chefs has found new work at Mart Anthony’s.

The Breakfast Club and Grill

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American breakfast items with a Mexican touch is what Breakfast Club specializes in, giving West Town a great option for those who want brunch during the week. And for a city that’s lacking in breakfast sandwich selections, Breakfast Club’s variety satisfies.

Lillie's Q

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Lillie’s Q pitmaster Charlie McKenna relocated his business from Bucktown to District Brew Yards, the beer loves pour-it-yourself paradise. McKenna’s Memphis-style meats pair well with the beer. Find ribs, brisket, and fried chicken. McKenna has found success peddling his sauces to retailers. Don’t forget to grab a bottle.

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Boeufhaus

Chicago is home to dozens of excellent steakhouses but few provide an experience similar to Boeufhaus. Instead of steakhouse staples, the small French-German-inspired brasserie touts dishes such as short rib beignets, ceci bean cavatelli, and country pâté. The ribeyes are dry-aged for 55 days, giving them intense beefy flavor, while the lunch menu is heavy on sandwiches like the “Boeuf on Weck,” a Buffalo, New York specialty featuring slow-roasted beef, horseradish, caraway, sea salt, and jus on a Kummelweck roll.

Kimchi Pop by Chef Son

Homestyle Korean food is the name of the game at this quaint restaurant on Ashland. Staples like bulgolgi (marinated ribeye) and tteokbokki (rice cakes) are wonderful, but indulge in one of the soups and stews. These restorative broths are spicy and unique. The Army Base Stew features hot dogs, Spam, cheese, kimchi, and more.

Temporis

Only one new Chicago restaurant received a star in the 2019 Michelin Guide and it was this intimate 20-seat spot in West Town. Chefs Sam Plotnick and Troy Jorge craft a tasting menu experience that puts the spotlight on progressive American cuisine. The restaurant’s commitment to sourcing seasonal ingredients is represented in its hydroponic basement garden, which provides microgreens for the kitchen.

Three House

Three House is a stylish counter service all-day restaurant. Find coffee, smoothies, burgers, empanadas, and fried chicken biscuits. The food is serious, but the vibe is laid back.

Jeong

A bright sashimi dish that’s shaped like a disc. Jeong/Hahm Visuals

Dave Park and Jennifer Tran made waves running an acclaimed Korean stand (Hanbun) inside a suburban food court before deciding to close it down. The two have returned to the city in a big way with one of 2019’s biggest openings, Jeong. Taking a contemporary approach to traditional Korean flavors, Park constructs dishes like salmon tartare adorned with crème fraiche and crispy rice spheres, and tteokbokki bathing in spicy chili sauce and topped with pickled mustard and quail egg. In addition to the a la carte options, there’s also a modestly priced tasting menu as well as classic cocktails that feature Korean ingredients.

A bright sashimi dish that’s shaped like a disc. Jeong/Hahm Visuals

Porto

A large grilled whole fish on an intricate plate with a sides in a tin can. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Bonhomme Hospitality expanded its footprint in West Town, opening a second restaurant next to its Beatnik. Porto provides Chicagoans with a glimpse of the Spanish coast through both fresh seafood and conservas, showcasing tinned seafood with gusto. Be aware: you’re clothes may smell a little smoky emerging from this haven, but it’s all worth it.

A large grilled whole fish on an intricate plate with a sides in a tin can. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Forbidden Root

Forbidden Root is a one of the best brewpubs in Chicago.
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

Chicago is home to the most breweries of any city in the country and that impressive lineup includes this unique botanical brewpub. Using plants and other natural ingredients, Forbidden Root offers options like strawberry basil hefeweizen, wildflower pale ale, and sparkling rosé ale.

Forbidden Root is a one of the best brewpubs in Chicago.
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

Beatnik

Beatnik [Official Photo]

Bonhomme Hospitality Group’s boho-chic restaurant and bar has been one of the area’s most buzzed-about places since its opening in 2017. The beautiful interior is decorated with lush greenery, glittering chandeliers, fine rugs, and comfy seating. An enclosed courtyard with a retractable skylight lets diners bathe in natural light, regardless of season, while enjoying creative cocktails and Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

Beatnik [Official Photo]

Lao Peng You

A variety of Chinese dishes on a large table. Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

The suburban brothers behind Lao Peng You have shared family recipes with Chicago that make up one of the most special Chinese restaurant in Chicago. The dumplings, which come in a slightly sour broth, are the highlight. Look for rotating specials, and the lamb bing bread is addictive.

A variety of Chinese dishes on a large table. Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Tamale Guy Chicago

Tamale Guy Chicago opened in 2020, a joint venture between Claudio Velez — a tamale vendor who for the last two decades had become cult hero — and husband-and-wife Pierre and Kristin Vega. There’s been a falling out between the two parties, and Velez his filed a lawsuit. His tamales are still featured, but Pierre Vega has demonstrated his ability for first-rate tacos including an intoxicating quesabirria. While the legal matters need to be sorted out, the food is top notch and the restaurant represents a dream for Velez and Vega, a long-time Chicago restaurant veteran.

Vajra