I recently took a working trip to Chicago in which I spent a week enjoying the 7 Best Restaurants in the Chicago Loop Area. Amtrak is a GREAT way to get to Chicago, and I really enjoyed the relaxing view of scenery you don’t get to see from the highway! The big silver trains are so iconic, the Amtrak staff is colorful and entertaining, and the seats are comfortable and spacious with big windows, even without going to the observation car.
So you’re welcome to ride along and enjoy the journey as I explore the 7 best restaurants in the Chicago Loop Area for exciting and varied menus for any taste.
1. The Purple Pig
This one is the BEST, more up towards the Magnificent Mile, so I felt it definitely qualified for a place on the 7 Best Restaurants in the Chicago Loop Area. Worth the bus ride! An upscale and trendy meat-focused restaurant, some of the standout recommendations were for vegetarian dishes–but the entire menu was excellent. I had the Spanish Octopus, on the waitress’ recommendation, which was green beans and new potatoes with octopus in salsa verde. I’ve never had octopus but I’m so glad I tried this because I loved it. https://thepurplepigchicago.com
2. Meli Cafe
This delightful Greek breakfast stop definitely deserves a place of mention as one of the 7 Best Restaurants in the Chicago Loop Area. Bright and airy with healthy, fresh, bright breakfast options, it’s the perfect start to the day. Try the Breakfast Bowls–I had Down on the Farm, which was bacon, sausage, ham, onions, peppers, and cheese over hash browns, with two perfect eggs on top. They also have a number of delicious sweet breakfast options, like Nutella crepes (danger!!), waffles and French toast, or baked oatmeal with a brown sugar crust. https://www.melicafe.com
A marvelous brunch restaurant I discovered on a quieter street on the North side of downtown, Beatrix was comforting, satisfying, and still gourmet. It’s a great foodie destination for one of the 7 Best Restaurants in the Chicago Loop Area. The simple breakfast (thanks to the recommendation of my friendly neighbor on the stool to the left) was perfectly cooked, from the house multigrain bread and homemade jam to the perfect patty of hashbrowns and eggs over medium. But the star is the maple brown sugar bacon. It’s the perfect salty and sweet, and I’ve never had bacon quite like it! https://www.beatrixrestaurants.com
4. The Art of Dosa
Tucked into the Revival Food Hall, which as a whole unit deserves mention on a list of 7 Best Restaurants in the Chicago Loop Area due to its central placement on the Loop and variety of gourmet options, as well as a really cool Art Deco/modernist ambiance. The Art of Dosa serves up delicious light dosa (pancakes) with savory accompaniments. Try the Masala Dosa, which included potato, sambar, coconut chutney, and orange gunpowder for dipping and filling to taste. The dosa is delicate and airy and a perfect base for the bright flavors of the sides. I have no idea how they make it so huge and thin and perfect!!! https://www.revivalfoodhall.com/art-of-dosa
5. Italian Village
The oldest Italian restaurant in Chicago, this one deserves a place on the 7 Best Restaurants in the Chicago Loop Area just for the ambiance. Go up a fancy golden staircase and enter into the twilit streets of Italy. The servers are Italian and really, really friendly and helpful. I tried the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, as a test of any good Italian restaurant. It was comforting and tasty! They also serve tender crusty fresh bread with olive oil for dipping and the house salads are crisp and fresh with a nice house-made Italian dressing. https://italianvillage-chicago.com
6. Elephant And Castle
This British pub connected to the Central Loop Hotel in downtown Chicago is a lively and popular destination for dinner and drinks. Not a quiet dining experience, this is the place to watch the game, meet friends for beer, or refuel with giant burgers after the Chicago Marathon. I had the Wee Pie Flight, which was a delicious sampler of all four of their savory pies: shepherd, potato leek, steak and mushroom, and chicken pot pie. Try the giant brownie….but should be shared. Check out their menu here: https://www.elephantcastle.com
A. Do-Rite Donuts
So apparently Chicago is known for donuts. This I did not know! But I DID run all over the Loop looking for the best donuts. The first stop was the famous Do-Rite Donuts, which did not disappoint. Unusual flavors and quality ingredients definitely put this one on the list of 7 Best Restaurants in the Chicago Loop Area. The nice lady in front of me told me her favorites while we waited, so I got vegan Maple Chai, Chocolate Old Fashioned, and Cinnamon Crunch Raised. While they were all DELICIOUS, Cinnamon Crunch Raised was the winner. I think. Because every time I took a bite of one I changed my mind on favorites. https://www.doritedonuts.com
Here I tried Valhrona Chocolate Iced. Dark and decadent icing on a raised donut. MMMMMMmmmm. https://firecakesdonuts.com
C. Familiar Bakery in the Revival Food Hall
Located in the same place as Art of Dosa, this place was the donut winner.. The Raspberry Iced donut was made of real raspberry puree and was rich and tart simultaneously. I have never eaten a donut quite like that and only regretted not getting more things to take with me. https://www.revivalfoodhall.com/familiar-bakery
That’s a Wrap!
I had a wonderful time exploring the Chicago Loop Area to find some really great culinary adventures. These fun options suit a variety of tastes, so be sure to check them out!