Good City, Good Eats: Touring New Restaurants in Chicago’s West Loop

Chicago has one of the most exciting and innovative culinary scenes in the country. One of the things that makes it so thrilling is that there are new concepts and restaurants opening up all the time.

It’s hard to keep up with the new arrivals, so we’ve got four of our favorite new downtown Chicago restaurants.

Bad Hunter is the cleverly named new vegetarian restaurant on Randolph Street. While they do have some items for carnivores, the focus is clearly on vegetables. Appetizers include beet tartare, and tempura fried lemons with sweet potato, matcha, and fish sauce caramel. If you’re in the mood for a sandwich, don’t miss out on the taleggio grilled cheese with caramelized fennel and spinach on seeded rye. The interior is filled with plants and has a bit of a retro feel.

Smyth + The Loyalist is actually two concepts in one. Tucked into a side street in the West Loop, The Loyalist serves more casual small plates downstairs, while Smyth offers an upstairs fine dining experience upstairs. The restaurants are owned by Chefs John B. Shields and Karen Urie, a couple who met while they were working at the renowned Trotter’s.

Latin American cuisine is highlighted at Ronero, a multi-level restaurant and rum bar. Helmed by Chef Cory Morris, formerly of Mercat a la Planxa and Rural Society, the menu features daily empanada selections, ceviche, and patatas rescoldo, a dish of Peruvian potatoes and black truffle ash. You can stick with small plates for an affordable evening out, or indulge in the whole red snapper with coconut cola rice.

Have some fun dining out at WonFun. Another West Loop newbie, there’s no exterior signage except for one in neon red proclaiming “Chinese Food.” Once you’re inside, though, there’s no mistaking where you are. With red decor and red lights they take kitsch to a whole new level, especially at the second floor 2Fun. Expect items like ma po tofu and Sichuan pork won tons.

Have you tried these new downtown Chicago restaurants? If so, let us know on Twitter and Facebook, where we’ll share even more new places to dine.

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