Chicago restaurants are among the finest in the country and there are so many from which to choose. I often travel to many different neighborhoods like Logan Square, Andersonville, Lakeview, and Bridgeport, to name a few, to get my taste buds what they need. Last week I kept my culinary journeys downtown in the West Loop and South Loop. Here’s how my meals went down:
Roister – West Loop
One of the hottest new Chicago restaurants to gain a ton of acclaim is Roister. It is part of the Alinea Group (Alinea, Aviary, Next) helmed by Grant Achatz.
Reservations are recommended and you can make
them online for brunch, dinner, and lunch. Although, I was just informed today that lunch will only be available until December 31st.
PRO TIPS: Reservations for dinner are really “bookings” which require advance payment online. Also, 20% gratuity is already added to the bill to provide equitable tips for staff. Lastly, dinner options include a choice of seating by the hearth (open kitchen) or dining room for the main menu or downstairs for the special High Brow/Low Country Boil.
I headed to the West Loop to check out Roister’s Sunday brunch and it was lovely. I had the best Mimosa which I ever had and the chicken ‘n waffles with honey-butter and whiskey syrup. It was a surprisingly light take on a dish that is usually a door-stopper in most restaurants. Well done! I will definitely try this one again.
I look forward to returning to this West Loop gem in the future with a group of friends for more special menus downstairs.
– 951 W. Fulton Market (One block north of the Morgan ‘L’ stop on the CTA Green and Pink Lines)
Saigon Sisters – West Loop
Everything on the menu here from the noodles to the pho, to the entrees to the banh mi are divine.
Try the assortment of bao (Vietnamese tacos). I recommend the wagyu beef and the hoisin glazed pork belly. Saigon Sisters also makes great chicken curry, teriyaki tofu, caramaelized shrimp and Vietnamese BBQ options.
If you are feeling a bit more hungry, don’t miss out on the banh mi sandwiches which have the same assortment of protein options. The French bread is perfectly crispy and chewy.
Since soup is my favorite food group (HA!), I always indulge in a big bowl of pho. I really enjoy the tofu-veggie option with bright mint and crunchy bean sprouts.
– 567 W. Lake St. (at the Clinton ‘L’ stop on the CTA Green and Pink Lines)
Hannah’s Bretzel – West Loop
Chicago’s West Loop can really make your head spin with restaurant choices. On days when only soup and sandwiches will do, check out Hannah’s Bretzel which is known for its pretzel bread. I love the smoked turkey sammie with crisp apples, cheddar cheese, and red pepper aioli dressing.
Their creamy cauliflower soup with unsalted butter and chives really hits the spot. Since I adore spicy food, I add some pepperoncini to the mix.
Also, Hannah’s Bretzel makes a really comforting bowl of tomato-basil soup with house-made croutons.
If simplicity in a sandwich is more your style, I recommend the Caprese sandwich with pesto and arugula.
All the French and Spanish ham sandwiches are wonderful, too!
– 555 W. Monroe St. (Two blocks south of the Ogilvie Transportation Center and 4 blocks south of the Clinton ‘L’ stop on the CTA Green and Pink Lines)
Burger Bar – South Loop
If you are craving a burger, you will certainly have your pick of some fabulous buns around the Windy City. Just check out my list of Chicago’s Best Burgers. However, if you are heading to the South Loop for some fun near Museum Campus (Field Museum Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, Grant Park), check out Burger Bar on S. Michigan Avenue. I love the decadent veggie burger topped with avocado which is served with sweet potato fries.
Burger Bar’s mac ‘n cheese is a super creamy choice for those days when you just want to get cozy. It is not too cheesy to make you take extra self-loathing into the shower the next morning.
If you are looking to skip the bread, try the zesty Southwest salad with steak.
-1150 S. Michigan Avenue (Two blocks east of the Roosevelt ‘L’ stop on the CTA Orange and Green Lines and three blocks east of the Roosevelt ‘L’ stop on the CTA Red Line)
Ditch the car and ride the rails to experience these tasty Chicago restaurants in the West Loop and South Loop. Do you have a favorite restaurant in the Windy City? I would love to hear all about it! Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA trains and buses to these Chicago restaurants. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!