• Plot out a progressive dinner in burgeoning West Loop
• Taste the finest pasta in Chicago (and watch it being made)
• Tuck into chef Stephanie Izard’s knockout soup dumplings
A new generation of Chicago chefs is pushing a more casual version of high-end dining—and a surprising number are working in the West Loop/Fulton Market neighborhood, which has positively exploded of late. With many of these restaurants open for dinner only, our advice is to devote an evening to a multi-stop dine-around. Start at Honey’s, tucked under the El train at West Loop’s gritty western edge. Inside it’s all whitewashed brick, glowing marble, and ivory-jacketed barmen. They’ll fix you a perfect Manhattan, while you order lamb tartare and the spit-roasted cauliflower for your opening gambit. Next, stroll a few blocks southeast to Monteverde, where chef-owner Sarah Grueneberg has installed a full-fledged pasta station, attended by two elderly nonnas, who turn out handmade tortelli, strangozze, and ravioli in full view of the dining room. Here you’ll want the wok-fried pasta arrabbiata with Gulf shrimp and/or the fantastically porky tortellini in brodo. Then roll yourself eastward to Duck Duck Goat, where Top Chef star Stephanie Izard has mastered hand-pulled Chinese noodles and Shanghainese soup dumplings. If you’re not ready to call it a night, head down the block and brave the lines at Roister, the latest hotspot from Grant Achatz, which has terrific cocktails and a menu focused on open-flame cooking. Or come back tomorrow and do the whole circuit again.
The West Loop/Fulton Market district is an easy 10-minute cab ride from the Conrad Chicago; you can also walk here by way of the Loop in 35 to 40 minutes (via Wacker Drive and Lake Street). All the restaurants below are within walking distance of each other.
HONEY’S: 1111 W. Lake St.; 312-877-5929; honeyschicago.com
MONTEVERDE: 1020 W. Madison St.; 312-888-3041; monteverdechicago.com
DUCK DUCK GOAT: 857 W. Fulton Market; 312-902-3825; duckduckgoatchicago.com
ROISTER: 951 W. Fulton Market; roisterrestaurant.com