The West Loop of Chicago is a restaurant hot spot that’s developed exponentially over the last five years. One of the first entrants was Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat on Randolph St, and they have just expanded from there. Along with new restaurants, the development has brought apartment buildings, condos, corporate offices, boutique gyms, event venues, and more. Randolph Street has even been given the unofficial name of “Restaurant Row!”
Check out my Instagram photos below to see what catches your eye, but here are a few highlights.
What to eat?
The Omakase menu with Chef Mike's secret rolls are incredible. Soy sauce has no home in this restaurant, as the homemade sauces are what make the rolls unique and incredible. Just tell your server what kind of fish and which flavors you love and hate, and the results are tailored to you!
Pro tips: start with the Fish & Chips (it's not what you think!) and go with a group of 4 so you can try more dishes.
Sarah Grueneberg won the 2017 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes for Monteverde, and it was well earned. I have never been disappointed with a pasta dish from Monteverde, and from such a huge carb lover, that is high praise. The ambiance is always bustling, even at 4:30 or 10pm, and if you're lucky you can grab a seat on the outdoor patio, or indoors with a view of the pasta counter - they affixed a mirror above the counter so that you can more easily see the pasta making in action!
Patio (& more Italian): Formento's
The leafy green patio at Formento's is truly an oasis in the heart of the city. Whether you're enjoying it in the heat of the day for their delicious Sunday brunch (10-2), watching one of the West Loop's famous firey sunsets while enjoying a happy hour special (4:30 - 6:30) or having your bucatini illuminated by the twinkling lights during dinner, it's always perfect. Formento's also has a huge event space upstairs, and is a great choice for a meal before a United center event - they will course it out perfectly so you make the game in time!
Happy Hour: RM Champagne
RM, a french bistro with the most adorable patio space, is the best place to drink rose or bubbly in the West Loop . I would skip it in the winter, and not worthy of filling up for a meal, but for post-work drinks, or killing time between meals on a weekend, it's the perfect stop. You know the patio's top notch when it's known as a place for West Loop couples to take engagement or family photos!
Ramen: High Five
I almost cringe at recommending this place to anyone because it's already nearly impossible to get into. This basement ramen bar has around 12 seats, and there's almost always a wait. Plan to show up as soon as they open (5pm every day) or plan to eat around 11pm or midnight, and put your name in at least an hour before.