For those looking to explore the city of Chicago beyond Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, and Millennium Park, venture where the locals go and head to the West Loop. Where former industrial factories and wholesale markets once used to dominate, the West Loop trades traditional deep dish pizza for James Beard award-winning restaurants and shopping on the Mag Mile for independent boutiques and native Chicago designers. Interspersed among lofts and chic retail boutiques, the West Loop is also home to galleries, design stores, Google, and the best restaurants in Chicago aptly found on “Restaurant Row.” Easily one of the city’s fastest growing neighborhoods, you’ll feel the vibrant energy and creative culture when you cross over into the West Loop and experience some of these top restaurants and attractions.
Located in Ogilvie Transportation Center’s Suburban Concourse, the French Market is Chicago’s only year-round indoor market serving fresh artisanal food and drinks from over 30 local purveyors. This European-inspired marketplace provides a place to gather, socialize, and purchase quality goods -including delicious grab-and-go options and international fare.
One of the newest additions to the both the Boka Resaturant Group and the West Loop, Bellemore aims to define the category of “Artistic American” in both cuisine and décor. Reminiscent of a manor with sleek interiors, brass detailing, plush sofas, and grand columns, guests can expect cooking that is bold, bright and beautiful. If you’re feeling as luxurious as the décor, try the Oyster Pie served with Moet & Chandon 2009 Grand Vintage Champagne.
With dishes that celebrate the power of bold flavors and pristine ingredients, Proxi transports guests around the world, beginning with cuisine and extending to an eclectic beverage program focused on worldly inspirations and diverse, exotic ingredients. Casual, yet fast-paced, Proxi’s raw industrial elements and warm, inviting furnishings find middle ground in a chic, mid-century brasserie.
This fast-casual walk-up eatery offers coffee, gelato, sandwiches, and its signature Bomboloni – an Italian hole-less doughnut with a variety of injectable sauces to compliment the sugary, sweet dough. Don’t miss out on the Hot Chocolate or Hotter Chocolate (your choice of S’mores or Funfetti). They’re so good, they’re Instagram worthy. Recommended filter: Juno.
Located down a brick alley, the nationally acclaimed Green Street Smoked Meats beckons guests with rock music and house smoked, Central Texas-inspired BBQ served cafeteria style in a warehouse-style restaurant. The curated menu focuses on staples of backyard BBQ including brisket, beef short ribs, rich pork belly, and salmon, all ordered by the half-pound with plenty of savory sides to choose from -including the immensely popular frito pie.
Acclaimed for its innovation and experimentation, Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas’s The Aviary is where cocktails and service are given the same attention to detail as a four-star restaurant. The bartenders are trained as chefs and the produce and herbs are carefully sourced and procured fresh daily. Intricate and theatrical cocktails are crafted in a state-of-the-art drink kitchen using infusion flasks, rotary evaporators, and blast chillers.
City Winery’s company mantra is that one should “Indulge the Senses” – that the sounds, smells, tastes, and views should combine to create a unique and special experience. And where else can you find a facility that combines a fully functioning winery with intimate concerts, fine dining, food & wine classes, and private events? Catch a nightly comedy show or music event or indulge in the freshest, most eco-friendly wine in Chicago paired with large plates in the Barrel Room Wine Bar and restaurant.
Photo Credits: Adam Alexander