The West Loop is the neighborhood bounded by the Chicago River to the east, Grand Avenue to the north, Ashland to the west, and I-290 to the south. It has exploded with activity in the past 10 years; at any given moment, you’ll find umpteen construction cranes, all hell-bent on urban domination. All these new condos, companies, and restaurants mean parking is scarce, and God only knows where the valets are taking your car. Skyrocketing rents in the West Loop have forced restaurateurs and hoteliers to develop properties that look beyond West Randolph Street, the West Loop’s main artery and Chicago’s undisputed Restaurant Row. Just north of it you’ll find the Fulton Market District, which is staking its own claim to the hearts and stomachs of Chicagoans.

Aba

18 Fulton Market Restaurants You Need to Check Out

This is Lettuce Entertain You’s second restaurant with Chef CJ Jacobson — the first being River North’s Ema— and he’s chosen a meat-centric focus on Mediterranean cuisine. It’s also currently one of the hottest tables in town.

Beatrix

Beatrix cafés and markets are making their mark on Chicago neighborhoods. A pet project of Lettuce’s founder Rich Melman, it features healthy but super-craveable menu options, juices, and an inspiring selection of house-made bakery items.