Chorizo-Stuffed Medjool Dates with Smoked Bacon and Piquillo Pepper-Tomato Sauce ($12.00)

It's kind of hard to turn down bacon-wrapped dates from Avec. [Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

"Where should I eat in the West Loop?" We get asked this all the time, and while it's never been an especially easy question to answer, it's only gotten harder over the past year. Whenever we think the West Loop has reached its restaurant saturation point, all we have to do is take a drive down Randolph St. to marvel at the insane number of new projects. And the restaurant row on Randolph is just the beginning. Two blocks north to Fulton Street is an equally impressive collection of options, including a handful of the most acclaimed restaurants in the city. So how do you decide with so many options?

This is obviously a loaded question, because there are so many great kinds of restaurants in the neighborhood. How is it even possible to choose between the four incredible Paul Kahan restaurants (Blackbird, Avec, Publican, and Publican Quality Meats)? What about Next and The Aviary? Girl & The Goat and Little Goat? Maude's Liquor Bar and Au Cheval? NellcĂ´te? Belly Q? And while the new greatly outnumbers the old, J.P. Graziano's is still a fixture in the neighborhood.

Do you have a game plan for navigating the West Loop? Let us know in the comments.


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