There’s so many ways to explore Chicago, but I prefer to taste and drink my way as I walk through neighborhoods. And one of the best neighborhoods to visit for good food is the west loop. The west loop has some of the best restaurants, which have made Chicago, America’s #3 Foodie City in 2019 according to US News, beating New York City.
If you’re looking for something fun to do with visitors (or on dates) besides the usual Bean, Sears Tower, Deep Dish life, I would mix it up. Kayaking on the Chicago River is on my bucket list for summer and exploring the Chicago Food Scene is on my list for winter.
I recently went to the Gateway to the West Loop Food Tour with Chicago Food Planet and it didn’t disappoint. Our Tour Guide, Jessica, said that we probably would be too full for dinner.
And she was right. I had to take my donut to-go. But, I still drank the Dark Matter coffee because it’s simply the best. And there’s something about drinking coffee after a heavy meal, or in this case meals.
All the food was amazing but the pizza from Rome and those Do-Rite Donuts and coffee were my fave. P.S. The bread at Cemitas Puebla was unreal.
Our Gateway to the West Loop Food Tour Stops Included:
This tour was simply amazing. You can choose a sober version or add drinks. We added drinks and had wine with a meatball, beer with our burgers, and margaritas with our Mexican sliders.
I’m a long time Chicago foodie. My back story is that I stayed in line for hours (I guess some waited for 6 hours) on opening night for The Aviary (in the west loop). It opened on April 25, 2011 and we ordered sandwiches and nearly froze in line to get in. But, that’s where I had one of the best cocktails and kindof how I started appreciating Chicago’s food scene. The Aviary has a unique menu where they have bird images on the side of each drink to measure the complexity of the cocktail.
Given the amount of restaurants I go to and even judging a few food and cocktail competitions, I still learned a lot about new restaurants and tasted food I never had before (hello, Cemitas Puebla) on this tour. We learned a lot about how Chicago’s west loop became a big food scene thanks to amazing chefs like Stephanie Izard, who now has three restaurants in the neighborhood. I also loved bonding with the other guests on the tour over food and Chicago in general.
Our stops included:
Do-Rite Donuts – This is the best donut and coffee combo ever. Hi, Dark Matter Coffee.
Bonci Pizza – They serve pizza from Rome. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Kuma’s Corner – This is a chain restaurant with a distinct heavy metal vibe. Great beer and burgers here.
Nonna’s & Formentos – This is some of the best Italian food in the city. ♥️
Cemitas Puebla – This is a hidden gem with great margaritas and the best Mexican slider.
If you haven’t been on a Chicago food tour, and you have company in town, I would definitely add it to your list. It’s not only memorable, but filling.