Chicago’s West Loop is known for many things from its high density of tech companies, lofts, and dog parks, to the McDonald’s Headquarters and Google Chicago offices, but most of all, the West Loop is known as a hub for some of the best restaurants in the city (let alone, the world). Between the Michelin Starred places on Randolph Street’s Restaurant Row and the more local spots lining Fulton Market, it’s hard to know where to begin! Here’s your guide to which ones offer outdoor seating and where to try first!
Smyth and The Loyalist – 177 N Ada S
These two concepts by John and Karen Shields (both alumni of Alinea and Charlie Trotter’s) both offer farm to table top quality fare, but although they share an address, their menus couldn’t be more different. Smyth’s Michelin Starred seasonal tasting menu draws crowds from near and far. Right now, diners can enjoy the contemporary, 150 minute tasting experience on site or to-go. Smyth’s menu changes daily.
The Loyalist, on the other hand, offers burgers, and that’s pretty much it. With a burger that was ranked one of the best burgers by Chicago Eater, the Chicago Tribune, and Trip Advisor, you don’t need to serve much else. Order The Loyalist to go or stick around to enjoy your burger with a craft cocktail in the outdoor seating area on tree-lined Ada Street.
Girl and the Goat- 809 W Randolph St
If Restaurant Row had its own mayor, it would probably be world-renowned chef, Stephanie Izard. Her original concept, Girl and the Goat, now has many adjacent concepts on the strip, including Duck Duck Goat, which serves Chinese fare on Fulton Market, Little Goat Diner for brunch on Randolph, Cabra, which serves Peruvian fare on The Hoxton Hotel’s trendy Fulton Market rooftop, and Sugar Goat, Izard’s most recent addition which serves desserts on Randolph. Although you probably want to try all of these, start with the classic Girl and the Goat (currently reservation only with outdoor seating available). Try dishes like roasted bosu oysters with yuzu-harissa butter, finger limes, and shio kombu, or goat satay served with tahini yogurt, smoked tomato-pickled rhubarb relish, pine nut dukkah, and naan (no judgement if you need to google a few of these ingredients). After you’ve tried it, it’ll be no secret why Izard is considered to be the G.O.A.T.
Sushi Dokku- 823 W Randolph St
Whether you’re looking for classic, simple sashimi or innovative fusion dishes (like a tuna sashimi bite with truffle oil or chili lime scallop nigiri, both pictured below), Sushi Dokku knocks it out of the park. Their outdoor seating is set up to offer maximum privacy, comfort, and separation for each party, with each table sectioned off by three walls and equipped with space heaters.
Kaiser Tiger – 1415 W Randolph St
Restaurant Row is just a rock’s throw from the United Center. What better place to go for a bite and beer after a Bulls or Blackhawk’s game than Kaiser Tiger! This two-level gastropub and beer garden features elevated casual fare (think bacon wrapped dates and gourmet sausage and cheese boards) and ample outdoor seating. Their sprawling enclosed patio is equipped with nine 10-foot infrared heaters and hosts live music every Wednesday night! Make a reservation for live music Wednesdays here.
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