RL Restaurant Chicago

Christine Drinan, Founder

Overview

I’ve been visiting Chicago for the past 22 years, which equates to well over 100+ visits. My trip isn’t complete though unless I at least stop in for a drink to RL Chicago. I’m a big fan of Polo Bar in NYC, and while RL Chicago is more mainstream accessible, it’s still has a feeling of exclusivity. I personally don’t eat Michelin meals 24/7, and part of being in Chicago is to feel like home. That’s what RL Chicago is; a place where more locals than tourists gather to have good honest American food. This is the review of RL Chicago.

Atmosphere

At a restaurant that is smack dab in the middle of the touristy area of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, RL is more of a restaurant of locals. There’s a reason for that, and a big part is the atmosphere. RL Chicago keeps with the DNA of the Ralph Lauren restaurants around the world. Decor is dark wood, paneled walls, classic oil paintings and art. Seating is as comfortable as can be on leather banquettes. Also this is a place to see and be seen, as the dining room is one large open space, that’s always buzzing. It’s as old school and American as it gets, and that’s why people love it.

My favorite part of the restaurant is front bar area, especially the tables by the fireplace. It’s the perfect spot to cozy up with a martini on a cold Chicago winter. During the summer months RL has a beautiful terrace surrounded by large topiaries that shield you from the street traffic. Anywhere you sit though at RL Chicago is prime seating.

Food

RL Chicago is the type of place you come to for consistent food. You know what you’re going to get, and it will almost always be a good, honest, albeit elevated, American meal. The fried local Lake perch is a Chicago special, as is the seafood plateau. We wish they served the latter at Polo Bar in New York. RL favorites though like the pigs in a blanket and the corned beef sandwich transcend the Ralph Lauren restaurants around the world. Also, at the end of the day, as an American restaurant like the brand of Ralph Lauren, the burgers and French fries are a highlight.

Service

The service is consistently good, though at times the waitstaff is taxed with too many tables, so you may have to flag someone down. Food though generally comes out when it should, and the long-time team on staff keep an eye out for their regulars.

Overall: 7.5/10

One of my favorite places in Chicago that completes any visit in town.

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FAQs

Q: Where is RL Chicago located?

A: RL Chicago is located at: 115 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Q: What are the hours of operation of RL Chicago?

A: The hours of operation are as follows:

Wednesday
  • 11 AM–11 PM
Thursday
  • 11 AM–11 PM
Friday
  • 11 AM–11 PM
Saturday
  • 11 AM–11 PM
Sunday
  • 11 AM–11 PM
Monday
  • 11 AM–11 PM
Tuesday
  • 11 AM–11 PM

Q: Do you need reservation at RL Chicago?

A: It is highly recommended you make a reservation at RL Chicago. They are almost always fully committed in the dining room. You can however try to walk in for a seat at the bar.

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