Going to the West Loop in Chicago is the foodie’s version of being a kid in a candy store. Wander just a little west of downtown Chicago and you’ll find countless dining options in the West Loop. It’s exciting to have so many restaurants packed into one neighborhood, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which of the many West Loop Chicago restaurants are worth the time (and the money). Whether you’re planning a vacation to Chicago or looking to try a great new restaurant in your own city, make sure to check out our list of the Top 16 West Loop Chicago Restaurants to know for sure which ones are worth visiting.
16. J.P. Graziano Grocery
When you’re looking for a super-quick lunch that won’t disappoint, J.P. Graziano is the place to go. We had to include this on our list of best West Loop Chicago restaurants because this laid-back deli makes great fresh to order sandwiches. Every ingredient including the bread is high-quality and fills you up without leaving you feeling heavy. It’s a great option when you want something fast and inexpensive but still amazing. We loved the Mr. G (their specialty with four different kinds of meat), and the Caprese sandwich is a great vegetarian option that doesn’t skimp on the mozzarella slices and basil. If it’s nice out, make sure to grab a seat on the patio to enjoy your sandwich!
15. Bar Takito
The bright colors and even more brightly colored food at Bar Takito definitely delivers on the Latin American urban experience they are going for. We love their homemade tortillas and super fresh local ingredients as much as we love their flavorful (and extensive!) taco menu. Think less street tacos and more creative gourmet tacos-like the chicken al pastor topped with both fresh and dried pineapple slices. We had to include this on our list of best West Loop Chicago restaurants because you truly can’t go wrong with any of the choices here. We especially loved the skirt steak taco with the tender steak and crispy potato as well as the veggie and ropa vieja tacos. Their menu is shared plates style which makes Bar Takito a fun place to go for a relaxed date night or with a few friends since you can keep ordering more food ’til your heart and belly are full. Their tacos are a bit on the pricey side, however they do have a special Taco Tuesday menu with most tacos being roughly half the price! Heads up, they close early on Sundays so plan accordingly.
14. Little Goat Diner
Little Goat is a classic diner with a mid-century modern casual ambiance filled with comfy booths, giant windows and a skylight making it a joyful place to chow down whether you’re dining solo, having a family day, or meeting up with a group of friends. You’ll find the standard diner staples here such as corned beef hash or pancakes, as well as classic dishes with a twist. Their Bull’s Eye French Toast is a spin on chicken & waffles, with the egg and brioche covered in crispy chicken and BBQ maple syrup. Whatever you order, make sure you add a side of the hash browns. Not many places get hash browns right, and Little Goat Diner does. Crispy shredded potatoes with cheese cooked right into it on the griddle, this is what all hash browns should strive to be.
13. Viaggio Ristorante & Lounge
Viaggio’s is where you’ll find those classic comfort-food Italian dishes that always hit the spot. This is the place to go when you want to be greeted with a basket of soft bread piled high with all the olive oil and Parmesan cheese your heart desires. They have all the old-school Italian classics on their menu, including enticing portions of pasta that you can really dig into. The tender brick chicken dish covered in herbs and roasted garlic was an instant favorite. It’s big enough to split with a partner or to order for yourself and have guaranteed leftovers to enjoy later. You know a dish is good when even the leftovers are incredible-when it comes to the brick chicken we are absolutely speaking from experience. Viaggio’s is one of the West Loop Chicago restaurants that is dinner-only on weekends, and make sure you remember to save room for tiramisu.
12. Joe’s Imports
This wine bar has a delightful brunch when you’re looking for a place to eat among the West Loop Chicago restaurants with friends on a weekend. We fell in love with the French pancakes which are thick and lightly crispy on the outside, which means you can pile on the syrup and not end up with soggy pancakes. Be sure to start off with the light and creamy homemade whipped ricotta starter as well, especially if you’re a honeycomb lover. Get a seat on the patio and you’ll have all the essentials of a perfect weekend brunch.
11. The Allis at Soho House
The Allis at Soho House is our favorite of the West Loop Chicago restaurants to go for a girls’ day out or to catch up with a friend over an amazing meal. The floor-to-ceiling windows, comfy chairs, and relaxed-but-cool vibe is only made more unforgettable by the beautiful and tasty food. They’ve got a nice selection of classics like eggs and avocado toast (there’s seriously at least an entire avocado on it-yum). If you’re into trying more adventurous meals, we loved their unique concoctions like the warm coconut pudding or the charred cauliflower and halloumi cheese pita sandwich-ask for extra chili aioli because it is that good. P.S. You can make reservations for their afternoon tea complete with finger sandwiches, scones, and desserts to make your outing extra memorable.
10. Bonci USA
Bonci is the perfect place for those who have a hard time picking just one kind of pizza to try since it’s served up al taglio, meaning you can pick multiple flavors that are cut into strips and priced by weight. Their original location is in Rome, and they have just two other locations-both in Chicago. This authentic Roman-style pizza has a crispy crust that’s airy and soft on the inside, so it can hold its weight under all the incredible toppings without being too heavy. There’s a great mix of classic and experimental flavors and the staff is great at helping navigate the abundance of choices. We enjoyed the many flavors we tried and especially loved the zucchini with ricotta and lemon zest flavor as well as the crispy onion flavor-so crunchy and tasty! Bonci is a counter-service spot so it’s a great choice when you’re having a casual meal or don’t want to spend too much. The line can get long here at certain times of day, but it moves quickly and you’ll be glad you waited once you get your hands on this pizza.
9. Au Cheval
The burger at Au Cheval isn’t just popular among the West Loop Chicago restaurants, but is raved about by the many who come from out of town determined to get the classic Au Cheval burger. They have one burger on their menu because they do that one burger really really well and take the time to make sure every ingredient is fresh-even the pickles are made in-house. Be sure to get the oozy fried egg and thick-cut bacon on top if you really want to be blown away. Their truffle fries with garlic aioli are also solid if you want to make it into a full meal. Au Cheval is notorious for having a long wait to get into the cozy restaurant, so our advice is to go early for lunch or for a late dinner and to go in a small group or pair. Trust us, this is a burger worth working up an appetite for.
If you’re searching the West Loop Chicago restaurants while making dinner plans for a date night out or you want to make a good impression on someone, take them to Formento’s. Not only are their Italian dishes incredible, but the service makes you feel fancy without feeling out of place (or totally breaking the bank). The bucatini is a must, with crispy pancetta and creamy egg yolk, it’s the pasta that dreams are made of. The bread with rosemary garlic olive oil is phenomenal, and you absolutely have to get the artichoke with garlic butter to start. Or better yet, get it with your meal so you don’t have to share it with anyone. No matter what you order, we think you’ll fall in love with Formento’s incredible Italian food. They’re open for dinner only (plus Sunday brunch) so plan accordingly.
7. High Five Ramen
This tucked-away ramen spot is a gem among the West Loop Chicago restaurants, and we literally mean tucked-away. The door to this tiny ramen spot opens to a dimly-lit stairway that leads down to the restaurant where you’re greeted by a sign that reminds you to be nice because the space is small: there’s only about 15 seats. When you look at the menu you realize instantly that the focus is solely on the ramen, which is marvelous. The bones are cooked for 18 hours, creating an incredibly flavorful broth that all the other ingredients soak up, especially the noodles. The half spice is perfect for those who love a spicy meal that makes your lips tingle by the end of it, but if that’s not your game they have a no spice version that is just as flavorful and the servers are helpful when it comes to deciphering the spice levels if you’re unsure. High Five Ramen is dinner-only so get there early to put your name in and walk around or hang out nearby-they’ll text you when your table is almost ready. This is a ramen spot that can’t be missed.
6. Green Street Smoked Meats
Green Street Smoked Meats is the place out of the West Loop Chicago restaurants that is all about Texas-style BBQ. This spot is no-frills and just focuses on incredible meats made in house. This is a perfect spot for big groups since you can order individually at the counter (the lines get long but they move fast), and choose where you want to sit among the giant cafeteria-style picnic tables topped with plenty of paper towels so you can dig into the messy deliciousness. The menu focuses on meats by weight, sandwiches, and a variety of sides so you can mix and match and get as much of your favorite BBQ must-haves as you want. The brisket is so tender and flavorful you don’t even need the BBQ sauce-which is also great. We loved it alongside the more fatty pork belly that was juicy and perfectly done. The seasoning alone on both is so incredible don’t be surprised if you find yourself trying to get every last bit of it off your tray. The elote style corn and the pulled pork sandwich are also solid choices and they even have donuts to round out an outstanding and (literally!) finger-licking meal.
5. The Roost Carolina Kitchen
This small counter-service spot is right on the edge of the West Loop, but we couldn’t make a list of the best West Loop Chicago restaurants without including The Roost. This is the place to go for a homemade lunch that does not disappoint. The house specialty fried chicken sandwich has pickles, coleslaw, and chipotle ranch to balance out the spiciness of the chicken (don’t worry, you can get it without the heat), and they’ll ask you if you want it on a brioche bun or a biscuit. Our advice-get the biscuit. Their buttermilk biscuits are made fresh and they’re irresistible once you try a bite. We couldn’t get enough of their popular cavatappi mac-and-cheese and peach cobbler either. It’s obvious when you go to The Roost that they are all about food that is fresh and packed with incredible flavor.
We could not create a list of best West Loop Chicago restaurants without including Monteverde. This restaurant is on the more expensive end of the spectrum and you won’t find huge portions here but in our opinion, it is worth it. The dishes are ingredients-focused traditional Italian with a modern flair. They stay true to their mission as everything we ordered was full of fresh flavors that really shine. We loved the gnocchetti con pesto with housemade ricotta, but you really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. Even the rosemary breadsticks that are made in-house are so delicious you’ll be asking for more. Monteverde is the perfect place when you’re looking for a unique flavorful Italian experience or a romantic night out.
3. The Loyalist
Look around the room at The Loyalist, and you’ll find that most people are digging into the Loyalist Burger. This spot has a tucked away vibe and is intimately lit so you might not step inside and think it’s a great place for a burger but when it comes to The Loyalist, you certainly should. It’s not your typical burger-in the best way. The meat is made with a blend of short rib, chuck, and ground bacon and is topped with cheese, pickles, onions, and a mayo infused with onion, loaded up between a soft poppy-seed bun. This burger is heaven on the first bite, melting in your mouth with just a little crunch from the pickle. The fries dipped into the vinegar and then the chili aioli that comes with it just puts it over the top. Many of the items on their menu (which includes plenty of seafood) is seasonal, but you can’t go wrong with their famous burger, which is on the menu year-round.
Avec is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant where you can find amazing shared plates with creative and well-crafted layers of flavor. Their most popular dish is the chorizo-stuffed dates, wrapped in bacon and served in a tomato sauce that you’ll be mopping up with the fresh bread it comes with. Every bite of the charred carrots and the roasted butcher’s steak had us marveling over a different ingredient in each dish. Avec is not the place to go to stuff your face, but rather to have a meal you can delight in and savor each bite. The modern minimalist style and communal seating in this small space creates an intimate environment that is perfect for a fun date night or to bring a friend who loves trying new incredible food.
1. Girl & The Goat
Mention to someone in Chicago that you’re searching for a place to get dinner in the West Loop and chances are they will go right into raving about Girl & The Goat. It’s hard to know if a restaurant will be live up to that level of fanfare, but we can definitively say that the food is worth the hype, which is why it takes the number one spot on our list of top West Loop Chicago restaurants. Right off the bat, it’s clear by the servers’ excitement and knowledge of the dishes that the food is spectacular. The menu is filled with unique creations, and even the seemingly simple sauteed green beans are out of this world. The wood oven roasted pig face dish with a sunny-side-up egg and crispy potato strings is perfectly rich and indulgent, and the goat empanadas are surprisingly refreshing with the poblano crema and pineapple-blueberry pico de gallo. We love that everything at Girl & The Goat is shared plates style, although no matter what you order you will be wishing you didn’t have to share. Plan ahead as much as possible when it comes to reservations. With food this amazing, they book up fast. The good news is that their bartop and outdoor seating is all first-come first-serve so getting there right when they open or later in the evening will up your chances of getting in to try the best food that West Loop has to offer.
Bonus: Best West Loop Desserts
Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken
Do-Rite Donuts is the place to go after eating out at the West Loop Chicago restaurants for a donut that will knock your socks off. All day long, you can find consistently delicious and fresh donuts in a wide variety of flavors. The classic buttermilk old fashioned is heavenly, but then again there isn’t a bad donut in sight here. The pistachio lemon and cinnamon raised are scrumptious, and their vegan and gluten-free options are incredible as well.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni’s has locations from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. and a new Chicago location just opened right in the middle of all the West Loop Chicago restaurants, making it the perfect stop for an after-dinner treat! Every single flavor is so high-quality and mouthwatering, you’ll want to get two scoops so that you don’t have to choose just one flavor. From Darkest Chocolate to Goat Cheese with Red Cherries and Brambleberry Crisp, you’ll have some deliciously difficult decisions to make!
Beatrix is a full-service restaurant, but what we really love is their bakery that opens at 6am daily! They’re always stocked with an impressive selection of cookies, cakes, and pastries that you can order and enjoy in the comfy couches and lounge chairs in the bakery area, or their outdoor seating if the weather cooperates. Their entire pastry case is mouthwatering, but this honey butter cinnamon roll is especially a winner in our books. Beatrix is the ideal stop for anyone whose idea of the perfect dessert is a scrumptious homemade baked good.
Cone Gourmet Ice Cream
Cone is an Irish-owned ice cream shop, so you’ll find interesting Irish-themed ice cream flavors like Bailey’s and Irish Mint Chip among their creative flavors, all of which can also be made into a milkshake. We love their dreamy garden patio where you can have a seat and relax as you enjoy your ice cream!