Seafood Restaurants in West Loop

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Though the chefs at Thai Urban Kitchen draw from the flavors of Thailand and Japan's street food, they aren't afraid to add in more upscale ingredients. To wit, they use gourmet cuts of meat and vegetarian alternatives to make unique twists of classical cuisine. In infusing a little something extra to their signature pad thai, they add cuts of duck, calamari, beef, and shrimp with just a touch of red apple for sweetness. On their sushi menu, chefs design creative rolls such as the Salmon Lover, which combines raw salmon, masago, and avocado with spicy mayo, all topped with pink nori and seared salmon. And to end the meal on a sweet note without having to whittle the check out of chocolate, the chefs also scoop Asian-inspired flavors of ice cream as well as 18 gelatos.

Juxtaposing with the colorful sushi rolls and eye-catching plating is the dining room's sleek decor. A monochromatic design scheme adds a touch of modernity that is not impervious to comfort thanks to high-backed leather seats. Silver metalwork and treated glass hang above the expansive bar, where bartenders pour sake by the glass or offer their favorite selections in drink flights.

500 W Madison St
Chicago,
IL
US

Boston Blackie’s efficient staff swiftly dishes up a classic menu of beefy burgers, overstuffed sandwiches, and crisp salads chaperoned by crunchy fries. Pairs or quartets of dining chums can chow down the Unarmed burger’s unadorned half-pound patty or keep out rascally condiment rustlers by corralling the Cowboy burger’s herds of pico de gallo, guacamole, and melted pepper jack cheese inside a choice of four buns. Chefs can slather a succulent grilled chicken breast sandwich in six types of dressings and seasoning, and forks can frolic through verdant foliage of an organic-greens salad peppered with sun-dried tomatoes, figs, mushrooms, and caramelized pecans. Meanwhile, thick-cut steak fries and crispy home-style fries spar for real estate on each plate’s sought-after pastures, and frosty sodas tickle taste buds as their bubbly whitecaps cascade across parched palates.

120 S Riverside Plz
Chicago,
IL
US

When entrepreneur Harold Pierce opened the first Harold’s Chicken Shack on Chicago’s South Side in 1950, his chefs fried chicken as it was ordered, filling customers' empty hands with baskets of fresh, piping-hot chicken in 12–15 minutes. Today, the chain of 62 restaurants peppered across the Midwest and Southwest continues the old tradition of rewarding patience with astonishingly delicious chicken. The long-standing shop specializes in a simple order—breaded chicken fried in a rich mix of vegetable oil and beef tallow for a home-cooked flavor. Chefs prep the chicken Chicago style by pouring a dash of sauce over the basket, which soaks into the white bread and crinkle fries that come with every order. Marked with the famed emblem of a cook chasing a chicken with a hatchet, the restaurant has saturated the city’s consciousness, earning a mention in Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, an appearance in Kanye West’s music video Through the Wire, and its own chicken hologram projected over the skyline. Serious Eats sums up citywide sentiment for the chain: "When the words 'fried chicken' are uttered in Chicago, it’s a fair bet that the name Harold’s Chicken Shack will usually follow."

804 W Washington Blvd
Chicago,
IL
US

To many, the idea of French cuisine inspires images of stuffy maître 'ds and three-figure bottles of burgundy. Those people might be surprised to stumble upon Maude's Liquor Bar, which Brendan Sodikoff—the gastronomic mastermind behind Gilt Bar—designed to embody "a dive bar in Paris," according to Chicago Magazine. In its second floor digs, mismatched chandeliers cast a low glow over salvaged subway tiles and exposed brick walls as diners savor a contemporary French-American menu that its creators describe as “straightforward and sexy with playful twinges.” Though the food is more than worth the wait on weekend nights, the drink list is where Maude’s truly shines. Classic cocktails, such as the Sazerac and the St. Germain Fizz, mingle with unique libations such as the Smash, a drink brimming with mint leaves, citrus wedges, and a choice of spirits ranging from whiskey to chartreuse. Of course, no French dive would be complete without a wine selection, and Maude's list of about 30 reds, whites, and champagnes doesn't disappoint.

840 West Randolph Street
Chicago,
IL
US

To many, the idea of French cuisine inspires images of stuffy maître 'ds and three-figure bottles of burgundy. Those people might be surprised to stumble upon Maude's Liquor Bar, which Brendan Sodikoff—the gastronomic mastermind behind Gilt Bar—designed to embody "a dive bar in Paris," according to Chicago Magazine. In its second floor digs, mismatched chandeliers cast a low glow over salvaged subway tiles and exposed brick walls as diners savor a contemporary French-American menu that its creators describe as “straightforward and sexy with playful twinges.” Though the food is more than worth the wait on weekend nights, the drink list is where Maude’s truly shines. Classic cocktails, such as the Sazerac and the St. Germain Fizz, mingle with unique libations such as the Smash, a drink brimming with mint leaves, citrus wedges, and a choice of spirits ranging from whiskey to chartreuse. Of course, no French dive would be complete without a wine selection, and Maude's list of about 30 reds, whites, and champagnes doesn't disappoint.

230 W Kinzie St
Chicago,
IL
US

Though Joel Nickson and his brothers didn’t open the first Wishbone until 1990, the restaurant’s history actually dates back to World War I. Their grandfather, an American soldier, met their grandmother in France, and convinced her to come back to rural North Carolina with him. Once in America, she began to experiment in the kitchen, applying French techniques to ingredients she could find locally. In that simple desire to adapt, she unknowingly designed an approach to food that would be carried through her family's next two generations. After Joel was born, his family eventually relocated to New Jersey, but he carried a torch for the French-Southern meals he grew up on. At 15 he took a job at a soul food restaurant, and went on to apprentice at famed New York City establishments 21 Club and Quo Vadis. He then followed his roots back to North Carolina, becoming the head chef at a resort there before getting an invitation from his brothers in Chicago: they wanted him to help them open their own restaurant. He agreed. Naturally, the project became a family affair. The brothers and a sister-in-law helped build the space with their own hands. Once it was ready, their mother, Lia, covered the walls with her surrealist, farm-inspired oil paintings. They started out serving breakfast and lunch in a style they call Southern Reconstruction, which integrates everything their family had tasted or prepared in France, North Carolina, New York, and Chicago—with an extra bit of Creole spice. As the Nicksons supplied larger and larger crowds, they decided to start serving dinner as well. Today, the eatery has grown into two locations with equally expansive menus; beneath fried-egg light fixtures, diners can start their day with buckwheat pancakes or shrimp and grits, and dig into dinners such as blackened catfish or NC-style pulled pork, sometimes served by Joel’s own children.

1001 West Washington Boulevard
Chicago,
IL
US

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