When we set out to discover the Loop's best midday meals, we found so many that we needed to break the area into quadrants, highlighting the best of each. And then we ordered a side--lunch choices along Michigan Avenue.
Sit by the large oval window overlooking Michigan Avenue. Order the Sardinian Parmesan-Anchovy Pizza (above). Admire how many varieties of saltiness mankind has managed to cram on a small single slice of sauceless pizza.
Latin American Restaurant in Chicago, IL, United States
It's best ordered in-the fantastically craveable corn bread, if you stick around, arrives at your table in a (scalding) cast-iron skillet. As takeout, however, it's better, and juicier, than it needs to be. For instance, that French dip ($18).
We love the $5.99 combos lunches at this steamed bun emporium that brims with energy, freshness and bold Asian flavors. Service is fast, tables are clean and the quality of the ingredients never fails to impress.
New American Restaurant in Chicago, IL, United States
We tried one of their lunch-only sandwiches, the slow-roasted chicken sandwich (crusty baguette crammed with marinated artichoke hearts, cucumber, goat cheese, basil, tomato and chunks of chicken, $10, above).
Crepe creations (spinach and mushrooms, coq au vin, etc.) fill the menu, as do omelets, sweet crepes and more. A budget-minded diner can also get "Le Brunch" menu (11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tue.-Fri.) of a crepe choice plus soup or salad.
We crunched through a big plate of fritto misto, a perfectly crisped pile of fried bay shrimp, pickled cauliflower and zucchini ($12), along with grilled organic pork loin (yummy with its pebble-like pasta called fregola, grilled figs and hazelnuts, $23).