The 12 Best Restaurants In Fulton Market guide image

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The 12 Best Restaurants In Fulton Market

Our favorite restaurants in Fulton Market.

Fulton Market has a disorienting number of great places to get food, and it’s hard to not just list every restaurant in the area and tell you to try each one. But we’re here to help you sort through it all. From casual ramen shops to fine dining, here are the best spots for every occasion.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Garrett Sweet

Oriole review image
9.2

Oriole

$$$$

661 W. Walnut St, Chicago
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How into expensive and fancy dinners are you? If the answer is very, then you’ll really like Oriole. The $285 tasting menu at this West Loop spot changes regularly, but you can expect everything on it to be both simply presented and delicious. Another thing you can expect at Oriole is service that’s highly attentive without ever feeling overbearing. Come here for a special occasion that makes it worth eating Cup Noodles for a week (or three).

Rose Mary    review image
8.6

Rose Mary

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The West Loop has more restaurants run by former Top Chef contestants than any other neighborhood in Chicago. Our last count was eight, and they’re all operating within two blocks from each other. And, despite our trust issues with reality shows, they’re all really good. Rose Mary, a Croatian spot, is another one of those restaurants. They have things like a refreshing and flavorful salad with tomato, farro, and asparagus, a delicious crni rizot that tasted like it was made with stock from the tears of a hundred lobsters (that’s a compliment), and incredible pastas. Most dishes range from $10-$25, and it works for a casual date or a fun night out with friends.

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The Publican is like a fancy European beer hall that serves a whole lot of meat, but also shows its softer side with a quality selection of oysters and a whole section of the menu devoted to vegetables. Sit at the giant U-shaped table with friends, and make sure to order a bit of everything. Another thing you should know? This place has one of the best brunches in the city.

For a long time, the West Loop was missing a steakhouse. But then along came Swift & Sons to fill that void. It has everything we like about a traditional steakhouse—meaning great food, service, and a rolling dessert cart. It’s a great combination, and it’s one of our favorite steakhouses in the city.

Even by West Loop standards, this place is a scene. The good news is that Aba is a scene that comes with fantastic food. It’s always crowded, but the space is beautiful, and there’s a huge rooftop patio that’s perfect for hanging out over drinks (even during the winter). And as with its sister restaurant, Ema in River North, a lot of things on the Mediterranean menu are meant to be shared.

It’s 5pm and you just need a glass of wine, some food, and a safe space to complain about work that isn’t Slack. Head to Joe’s, an easy-to-get-into wine bar in the West Loop with tasty small plates, and order dishes like ricotta with honey, meatballs, or the pasta of the day. It has both a dimly-lit interior that will soothe your burned-out screen eyes, and a sidewalk patio that rarely feels crowded.

PQM is a butcher shop, cafe, bakery, and mini market. Come here for cheese, fresh-baked bread, delicious sandwiches, charcuterie, and more. This is the kind of place where seemingly simple-sounding things (like a chicken parm or falafel sandwich) taste way better (and more complex) than you expect.

This is the Chinese restaurant follow-up to Girl & the Goat and Little Goat. Like everything in the goat empire, Duck Duck Goat is a fun spot with good food. Here, you’ll find Chinese food with twists—like glass noodles with blueberries. Of course, several dishes have goat in them (like the duck and goat spring rolls). Also worth noting is that this spot does a great job with takeout.

Ramen Takeya is very busy, very loud, and very crowded—but it’s a solid neighborhood ramen option. The signature ramens here are all chicken-based, so the broth is on the lighter side, and you can customize your spice level. There’s a bar which is great for grabbing drinks while you wait, and a counter that’s ideal for when you want a quick meal by yourself.

The West Loop has a lot of restaurants within restaurants (High Five and The Loyalist are just are two spots happily squatting inside of other places), and you can add Omakase Takeya to the list. It’s the omakase-only sushi bar in the basement of Ramen Takeya, a very busy ramen shop. The small, quiet space is a nice respite from the bustling upstairs, and the constantly-changing menu of nigiri and Japanese small plates is fantastic. Just don’t plan on eating here without a reservation - there are only seven seats, with four seatings a night. Your meal will be $75 for 15 courses, and the experience is worth it.

During the summer, this place needs to be in your rotation, primarily because of its backyard, which is perfect for a number of situations. In addition to a covered area with picnic benches, you’ll find round tables on mulch, some stadium seating benches, bocce ball, and an outdoor bar so you never have to go inside. All this combined with a new menu for summer 2021, with dishes like schmaltzy biscuits, po’ boys, and tahini soft serve.

Most of the good fried chicken spots in town aren’t really places you sit and eat. They’re more carry-out or delivery situations. Not Gus’s. At Gus’s, you want to take a seat, dine in, and enjoy your fried chicken and sides in the big Fulton Market space. Make sure to utilize the full bar, and get some pie for dessert, too.

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