South Loop offers a glimpse into Chicago’s past and present with historic buildings and modern developments lining the streets. This neighborhood was once home to many of Chicago’s bars and burlesque theaters, though now it is mostly known for hosting Soldier Field and the Field Museum. Nestled just south of downtown, this area provides proximity to hustle and bustle while maintaining its own charm that attracts locals and tourists alike. Some of the best bites in Chicago are located in this neighborhood, and our team of locals has the inside scoop on which establishments offer the most flavorful dishes. Read on to see our list of the best South Loop restaurants!
If you want to make this neighborhood your next home, reach out to AptAmigo for help finding the perfect apartment for you! If you’re still searching for a neighborhood that is right for you, read our ultimate Chicago neighborhood guide here.
The Best South Loop Restaurants
Located: 1639 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
Of course, we had to kick this list off with the neighborhood’s resident Michelin-star rated restaurant. Both French and Italian influences make their way into the dishes as well, but the star of the show is always the seafood. Drawing inspiration from the eastern coasts of Maine— where head Chef McCaskey spent his summers— this menu features shellfish sourced from those same shores. Acadia offers a la carte, five-course, or ten-course dining options, all to be paired with any bottle from their expansive wine list. This restaurant brings fine dining to the South Loop and is definitely worth the trip!
Favorite meal: To get a complete taste and feel of this highly esteemed restaurant, we recommend ordering the deconstructed Lobster Pot Pie! This buttery dish will literally melt in your mouth.
Located: 26 East Ida B. Wells Drive #1, Chicago, IL 60605
This straightforward Cuban restaurant offers delicious coffee, lots of Latin American food options, and a comfortable dining room. Their popular pressed sandwiches and breakfast options have kept their business thriving for 12 years and pushed them to expand to multiple locations throughout the city! The South Loop location is where it all began, and the owners have even implemented a new vegan menu to continue to broaden their customer base.
Favorite meal: Cafecito made the list for its famous Cubano. Be sure to try their take on this simple and delicious sandwich— it’ll make your mouth water!
Yolk – South Loop
Located: 1120 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605
What is now known as a chain restaurant across Chicago and other major cities started at this very location in 2006. Yolk is a wildly successful breakfast and brunch spot that offers an extensive menu paired with a super bright and rejuvenating ambiance! With seasonal specials and a rotating coffee selection, this is a hot spot for breakfast in the city. Be sure to get there early though, as they do close at 3 PM daily and the line occasionally runs out the door! Take the edge off of waiting for a table by ordering one of their flavorful bloody mary’s.
Favorite meal: Out of all the brunch classics and fun spins on familiar dishes, we recommend trying out the Croque Madame. This dish is made up of layers of grilled ham, turkey, swiss, and thin challah french toast, topped with a sunny side egg. A savory and delectable way to start your day!
Mercat a la Planxa
Located: 638 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605
Locals and tourists alike have raved about this tapas-style spot since its inception in 2008 by Iron Chef Jose Garces. This restaurant successfully achieves a blend of authentic Spanish cuisine with a fundamental focus on the Catalonian region— which of course includes the flavors of Barcelona. Bring some friends and fill the table with small plates of seafood, produce, and our favorite: the paella! With delicious and well-executed dishes, you can’t go wrong spending an evening dining here. Plus, they boast a selection of over 40 types of Spanish vino that you can enjoy by the glass or by the bottle!
Favorite meal: With tapas restaurants, it is difficult to pick a single favorite dish. With that being said, our favorite dish is their Canelons de Sant Esteve con Jarrete de Buey. Featuring a short rib filled cannelloni, farm chicken foie gras, and a creamy truffle béchamel, this is a must-try!
Located: 730 S Clark St, Chicago, IL 60605
In the mood for sushi, ramen, or other noodle dishes? Look no further than Umai! This restaurant ticks all the boxes for anyone looking to try authentic Japanese cuisine. With a well-rounded drink menu and extensive food options, this modern, lofted eatery offers the perfect environment to enjoy lunch or dinner! Established in 2013, Umai has been bringing delicious homemade broths and sauces to South Loop ever since!
Favorite meal: We couldn’t decide on just one dish to try here— so we picked two! We recommend the Winter Ramen, made with spicy miso ground pork and sliced ribeye, or the Chicago Roll, which features tuna, salmon, and white fish topped with honey miso sauce.
Find Your Dream Chicago Apartment
Now that you know the best South Loop restaurants to grab a bite from, make this neighborhood your new home! Just reach out to AptAmigo, and we’ll set you up with an apartment expert who is dedicated to finding the best place for your needs. With our local insight, apartment expertise, and access to the best deals on the market, apartment hunting has never been easier. We’ll do all the hard work for you— from sifting through units that match your preferences to scheduling a full day of tours. Why stress about moving when you don’t need to? Give AptAmigo a call for a full-service apartment hunting experience at no cost!
Rebecca is a freelance writer with eight years of journalism experience. She recently graduated with a BA in Communications and a minor in journalism. She currently bartends in downtown Chicago and spends her free time exploring the city and making connections.