The best feeling when you’re ravenous on Chicago’s Restaurant Row, the West Loop, is knowing that there are unlimited options of amazing restaurants. The hard part, how to decipher where to go. There are new restaurants constantly popping up and I have made it my mission, slowly but surely, to eat at every single one of them. Here are my top 5 recommendations for a food adventure in the West Loop:
Monteverde is run by Chef Sarah Grueneberg, who won the James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2017, instantly expanding the restaurants popularity. If you’re thinking her name sounds familiar, it is very possible, as Sarah was a contestant on Top Chef season 9. With a Top Chef feature and a James Beard Award fresh in guests’ minds there are high expectations for Monteverde, especially with all the restaurant competition in the West Loop.
However, for Monteverde, the expectations and restaurant competition is not a problem. Focusing on what Chef Sarah does best is what Monteverde is about. Their ingredients are fresh, pasta is hand crafted, and the dishes provide a unique Italian fare. Here’s my recommendations: ‘ Nduja Arancini, Burrata E Ham, Pasta (literally any of their pasta’s – you can’t go wrong here), the seasonal fish for the table, and end with the house spun ice cream & sorbet.
Forno Rosso is unique in so many ways, but I’ll keep it simple with what truly makes Forno Rosso a top restaurant in the West Loop. They serve Neapolitan Pizza and are one of only three VPN certified Neapolitan Pizzaria’s in the state of Illinois. Forno Rosso is also a 2016 Caputo Cup winner; the Caputo Cup Pizza Competition is Italy’s largest, most renowned pizza contest.
Of course with all these accomplishments Forno Rosso serves amazingly delicious pizza. My personal favorite: the classic, Magherita pizza. Forno Rosso’s top rated, The Captuo Cup winning pizza: the Datterino Pizza.
Bonci serves Roman styled pizza with the highest of quality ingredients, many imported from Italy, including their heritage stone ground flour to make the perfect dough. Their pizzas focus on fresh ingredients, so the variety of pizza is continuously rotating. The pizza is so fresh and delicate that they cut every square with scissors as you order. My recommendation would be anything with their porchetta and the classic potato and rosemary pizza.
To vouch for Boncis’ excellence, they opened shop in the West Loop about 5 months ago (August 2017) and I have already been there 5 times. Boncis’ pizza will keep you coming back for more, enough said. Check out Chef Gabriele’s journey into Chicago from Italy to open Bonci.
Momotaro is part of Boka Restaurant Group, so right off the bat you know the standard of their food is elevated. It is a Japanese styled restaurant with a large focus on sushi and sashimi. Momotaro is definitely on the expensive side, and you will need a reservation no matter what night of the week you are heading in, but it is COMPLETELY worth it.
Overall, I have never had better sushi in the midwest than at Momotaro. They’re also a prominent contender to any sushi spot in the country. Chef Mark Hellyar spent quite a bit of time in Japan learning the technique and flavors that he brought to Momotaro. You can truly taste his passion and experience in every bite of food.
Do Rite’s Donuts
Do-Rite Donuts is the perfect way to conclude any outing in the West Loop. They have a vast assortment of donut options, from the classic Old Fashioned donut (My absolute favorite!) to the Pistachio-Meyer Lemon donut. Do-Rites’ also features an ever popular, fried chicken donut sandwich. Whether you’re going for dessert, breakfast, or lunch they have you covered with sweet and savory eats!