Chicago’s West Loop, located just outside of central downtown, was once a grid of factories, warehouses, and wholesale markets. Though still industrial, it’s one of Chicago’s fastest growing neighborhoods. Apartment buildings, retail stores, and restaurants are popping up all over the area, making it one of the most attractive neighborhoods to live in.

The neighborhood is home to “Restaurant Row,” a long strip of some of the city’s best-rated restaurants. Though Chicago has long been known to be one of the best restaurant cities in the country, the continuous growth of the West Loop has added many restaurant names to Chicago’s repertoire.

The West Loop offers a diverse variety of cuisines. Burger bars, sushi places, pizzerias, bars, and Asian-fusion joints are a few that just scratch the surface. Though so many great restaurants continue to pop up in this area, these spots are essential if you ever find yourself hungry in the West Loop.

Bar Siena

Bar Siena is an all-around excellent experience. Make sure to go with friends; you'll want to order everything on the menu, so sharing is a must. The menu is inspired by Italian street food, such as antipasti, pizza, and calzones. The prosciutto and fig pizza drizzled with truffle honey will be your top priority.

No matter how full you are after your meal, you're going to have to order dessert from Chicago's most instagrammable sweet spot located downstairs in the restaurant: Bombobar. They serve up fresh bomboloni, an Italian "hole-less doughnut," with a filling of your choice.

The atmosphere makes freezing winter nights feel like a relaxed summer evening outside with twinkly lights and the tree in the middle of the restaurant that touches the ceiling. Make a reservation a good few weeks in advance; this spot gets booked quickly.

Au Cheval

Next up is Au Cheval, home to one of Chicago's most sought-after burgers. They keep the burgers simple: add cheese, bacon, or an egg. But, let me tell you, they do simple well. This burger is luxuriously juicy and just the right amount of greasy. They offer other upscale dinner fare as well.

The ambience is not lacking either. The dim lighting, leather booths, and diner stools take you to another decade. Au Cheval does not take reservations, so prepare to eat early or wait a good few hours. 

Sushi Dokku

You know the phrase "melt in your mouth?" Well, you have not experienced the phenomenon until you've been to Sushi Dokku. They are known for their maki and nigiri, but also offer noodles, tempura, and a variety of appetizers. My favorite maki is the Ecuador Roll, filled with rich hamachi and maguro, as well as cucumber, avocado, cilantro, wasabi mayo, and jalapeño. Another must-try is the hamachi ponzu. 

Reservations are the way to go here. The restaurant is bustling every weekend, especially with the downstairs bar room. If you're searching for top quality sushi, look no further.

Little Goat Diner

An eclectic menu but a diner at heart, Little Goat Diner can make all of your brunch dreams come true. Spiced Apple Pancakes, Bibimbop Breakfast Bowls, and Fat Elvis Waffles with banana, peanut butter, and bacon maple syrup are just a few of the headliners. Other menu items include sandwiches galore, unconventional egg dishes, and a very, very gooey cinnamon bun.

Little Goat Diner is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, just as a diner should be. Reservations are helpful for this trendy spot. Don't forget to get something from the bakery on your way out. 


Momotaro brings modern Japanese cuisine to the West Loop. Picture plates of sizzling Robata, fresh Sushi, and steaming noodles. A crowd favorite is the Mentaiko Spaghetti, a Tokyo noodle special with eggs, roe, tuna, and parmesan. I know, it sounds like a weird combination, but trust me on this one.

Other menu favorites include the Momotaro tartare, made from sweet tomatoes and served with Japanese milk bread, and the Chili Tuna roll, stuffed with bigeye tuna, cucumbers, and pickled radish. Momotaro is the perfect restaurant for a special occasion or just a night out to treat yourself. Like the other restaurants on this list, tables fill up quickly, so a reservation is your best bet.

There's no doubt that there are many more great restaurants in Chicago's West Loop and that they will continue to pop up all over the place. As one of the hottest areas in Chicago, it shows promise in making a name for itself.

As long as you make a reservation, you will not be disappointed at any of these restaurants; they rank high in food, atmosphere, and overall experience. If you're ever in the West Loop, check out these spots.