When I first moved to Randolph Street in Chicago, my monthly restaurant budget exploded. With Chicago’s Restaurant Row that close, the temptation was just too great. The angel on my shoulder encouraging fiscal responsibility is easily drowned out when the devil on the other shoulder mentions omakase.
Dining out is a big topic of conversation in Chicago, because we’re blessed with so many great chefs and restaurants. It reminds me of a quote from When Harry Met Sally, when they’re on the double date with friends and Marie says: “Restaurants are to people in the 80s what theater was to people in the 60s.”
Within just five blocks — from Morgan Street to the Kennedy Expressway (I-94) — there are dozens of delicious restaurants on Randolph Street. Here are my Top Ten:
- Girl & the Goat (809 W. Randolph St.): Stephanie Izard is one of Chicago’s favorite chefs, so eating at one of her places is required. On my first visit to Girl & the Goat, I was excited to try the goat (obviously), but I’d recommend skipping that and instead getting two orders of the wood oven roasted pig face.
- Little Goat (820 W. Randolph St.): If you can’t get a reservation at Girl & the Goat, hop across the street to Little Goat. They always seem to have a line too, but it’s my favorite brunch place in the West Loop for the Bull’s Eye French Toast and Fat Elvis Waffles.
- de cero (816 W. Randolph St.): de cero is great for small plates, since I can never make up my mind what to order. The variety of salsas are fun to try, and (hello tacos!) I always find a new taco to try.
- Tanoshii Sushi Mike’s (720 W. Randolph St.): Tanoshii Sushi Mike’s probably deserves its own post for the number of times I’ve visited. The fish and chips are my favorite thing on the menu, and we always order omakase (let the chef decide) for our rolls. Sushi Mike has never steered us wrong.
- Sushi Dokku (823 W. Randolph St.): If you’re in the mood for sashimi or nigiri instead of sushi rolls, stop at Sushi Dokku. I love the Chef Dressed Nigiri Bites and the Tako Yaki (octopus balls)
- Haymarket (737 W. Randolph St.): It may seem odd to have a neighborhood bar on this list, but Haymarket is worth it. They brew their own award-winning beer, and you can walk past the brewing and fermentation room. The food is always fresh and delicious too.
- Grange Hall (844 W. Randolph St.): This is where you go for the best burger in the West Loop. The familiar but different flavor combinations and grass-fed beef make these burgers melt in your mouth. My favorite is BBQ Picnic burger with jalapeño jicama honey slaw, chipotle BBQ, pepper jack, fried avocado.
- Maude’s Liquor Bar (840 W. Randolph St.): I skip the French list and order everything on the Almost French list. Order a bunch of plates to share, so you can try everything on the list. I always order the French Onion Fondue and the Roast Farm Chicken.
- Jaipur (847 W. Randolph St.): If I’ve forgotten to make a reservation but want to eat out in the West Loop, I always end up at Jaipur. I don’t know how they have tables available, but the spicy Indian food is a delicious addition to the street.
- Belly Q (1400 W. Randolph St.): Korean fusion is really trendy now, and Belly Q is one of the best. I like pushing my parents out of their comfort zone when they visit, and I took them to Belly Q last time they visited. They weren’t even phased. The balance of flavors and fun take on Korean fusion make this one a favorite for anyone.