Courtesy of Josh Eidenberg
Courtesy of RM Champagne Salon
Courtesy of Lone Wolf
Courtesy of Tete Charcuterie
Courtesy of Girl & The Goat
Sean Cooley/Thrillist
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1. Sushi Dokku 823 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

From the team behind Sushi Wabi, Sushi Dokku is a small, modern restaurant in the West Loop offering traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine. The diverse menu features classic cuts of sashimi, signature maki, creative nigiri bites (as well as traditional, for the less adventurous of diners), and grilled fish, chicken, and steak (for the less raw fish-inclined of diners). Their cocktail menu boasts Japanese-inspired cocktails -- many with sake foundations -- and a sizeable sake list, as well. And the Booze Box -- the bonus bar located below Sushi Dokku -- features live music and drinks (and izakaya-style small plates if you’re still hungry) for your after dinner entertainment.

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2. Embeya 564 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661 (West Loop)

This Asian eatery sports a bar, lounge, and private dining area in its roomy, 7,000-square-foot space, and the menu features a fusion of Asian cuisines crafted by Executive chef Thai Dang.

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3. RM Champagne Salon 116 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

This secluded alleyway bar/restaurant in West Loop is a prime spot for sipping bubbly, slurping oysters, and devouring luxurious cheeses. The French-inspired menu is filled with sharable plates and classic brasserie mains like croque monsieur and steak frites. If sparkling wine isn't your thing, don't worry, the bar serves its fair share of craft beers and cocktails. RM's picture-perfect interior features chandeliers, a cozy fireplace, and white tablecloths, and the secluded outdoor patio is a prime spot during the warmer months.

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4. Haymarket Pub and Brewery 737 W Randolph, Chicago, IL 60661 (West Loop)

With a dining room that requires you to walk past the brew house and fermentation room, Haymarket is all about showcasing the artistry of its craft (craft beer, that is). The brewpub's 32 taps, however, available once you surpass the stretch of mosaic-tiled hallway, are well worth the journey. While the spot's bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout has won them some serious acclaim, the brewers as a whole specialize in contemporary American and Belgian style beers. Notorious for his ability to pair dishes with specific beers -- a beer sommelier, of sorts -- Haymarket's head chef has designed the restaurant's full menu around the draft offerings. The kitchen serves up house-cured seasonal sausages, smoked hot wings with cinnamon, and wood-fired pizzas as late as 2am. And best of all, the spot doesn't deliver -- the beers are only available right in house.

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5. Lone Wolf 806 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

Lone Wolf is ready to feed you with some stick-to-your-bones food paired with a cocktail. Plus, it's got lots of beer.

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6. Salero 621 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661 (West Loop)

With modern takes on traditional staples like roasted beef short ribs, seas bass and potatoes a la plancha (translation: pan fried), and grilled flat iron steaks, Salero is a little piece of Spain right in the Chicago's West Loop. Helmed by Chef Ashlee Aubin, this stylish restaurant and bar avoids the trend factor of tapas and sticks to starts and main courses, so for once you won't have to feel the selfish guilt that one can only get when refusing to share their sweetbread.

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7. Formento's 925 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

Executive Chef Stephen Wambach heads up this bright and expansive Italian restaurant. His menu keeps things classic, offering quality dishes like a four-cheese tortellini and a prosciutto-wrapped veal filet. The white tablecloths add to the traditional feel of the space, and collect crumbs from Formento's must-try chocolate layer cake. No, really, try it -- it comes with chocolate pudding frosting and hazelnut praline.

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8. TÊTE Charcuterie 1114 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

TÊTE has that something extra -- actually, multiple somethings extra. There's a dedication to making sure all the selections -- peppery coppa, rich fromage de tête, silky duck rillette -- are all given the proper attention. There're also international encased meats from French boudin blanc to Moroccan merguez that'll push you further toward your meat coma, plus dishes like Peking duck with white miso and rutabaga mostarda that don't seem to really fit the concept, but are too tasty for anyone to get upset.

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9. Grace 652 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661 (West Loop)

With three well-deserved Michelin stars, Curtis Duffy and Michael Muser’s Grace is a destination for the highest end fine-dining in the West Loop. An evening at Grace is an experience in culinary performance: the white tablecloth-dressed tables are angled towards the glass-enclosed kitchen, encouraging guests to watch tweezer-wielding hands compose dishes with whimsy and precision. At Grace, elegance is defined by exemplary service, refined New American menus, and the wondrous presentation of Duffy’s dishes. The two multi-course tasting menus are called Flora and Fauna (you can guess the highlight of each), and Muser’s wine pairings are highly, highly recommended. (His cellar is impassioned and versatile in origin and price, if the pairings don’t strike your fancy). The menus present dishes wherein complex technique and molecular gastronomy are downplayed -- but still very much in place -- to make the ingredient the star of the plate. And just an aside, at some point during your multiple hour meal, you’ll find that the bathrooms are themed to the seasons. Big spenders, this one’s for you.

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10. Girl & The Goat 809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard's West Loop restaurant is a perennial hot spot that defines the Chicago food scene. The menu is filled with incredibly innovative meat, vegetable, and fish small plates meant to be shared and devoured. Of course, a meal at Girl & the Goat isn't complete without an order of goat, served a variety of ways (in empanadas, as carpaccio). Reservations are hard to muster but you'll snag one eventually and find that the wait is so worth it.

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11. Au Cheval 800 W Randolph, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

This upscale West Loop restaurant is known for its European flair and sophisticated American diner-style eats. Au Cheval usually has a wait out the door at peak dinner hours because it's home to iconic signature items like the fried house-made bologna sandwich and the so-called single burger, which actually comes with two thin patties and is topped with American cheese, house Dijonnaise, pickles, and if you know what's good for you, the optional bacon and fried egg add-ons. The brasserie-like space includes an open kitchen and a bar where local, domestic, and international beers are all on tap.

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12. CH Distillery 564 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661 (West Loop)

CH Distillery is Chicago's first distillery/cocktail bar, serving up house-made vodkas with carefully curated concoctions, as well as small plates from other renowned Chi-town eateries. The distillery makes vodka (distilled 40 times for ultimate purity!), rum, whiskey, and two kinds of gin, all in-house. The bar then pours them into inventive, Chicago-inspired craft cocktails such as the Rhymes With Orange, made with Serrano chili vodka, orange Curaçao, lime, and watermelon. The small plates eats include corned duck on black rye, and charcuterie from West Loop Salumi. Does the CH in CH Distillery stand for Chicago? No! No it does not. The CH stands for the periodic symbols for carbon and hydrogen, the fundamental components that make alcohol. And if you can remember that after you've had a few of these cocktails, you might be almost as impressive as the cocktails themselves.

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13. The Aviary 955 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (Lincoln Park)

From James Beard Award-winning chef Grant Achatz (of Alinea fame), The Aviary is an ultra-posh cocktail bar that uses molecular gastronomy techniques to craft some of the prettiest cocktails you’ll ever have. To get a full taste of The Aviary, splurge on the multi-course cocktail tasting menu that pairs drinks with small bites. The speciality cocktails are pricey but the swanky experience is worth it.

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