Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago: High Fashion Meets World-Class dining
As if I needed another reason to fall in love with Ralph Lauren, I recently discovered that the iconic designer has expanded to restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. The Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago is an upscale and swanky bistro that fully encompasses the timeless classic brand in every aspect.
Table of Contents
|My History with Ralph Lauren and High Fashion|
|The Restaurant Ambiance|
Service Fit for a Queen
The Freshest Seafood and Cuisine
|Ralph Lauren Clothing Store and Coffee Shop|
|Worldwide Ralph Lauren Dining Locations|
|Overall Rating and Things to Know|
Brought Up to Love high Fashion
Like most fashionistas, I grew up reading Teen Vogue and Vogue magazines religiously. I was so obsessed with designer brands that I even had a Burberry shrine in my room! (This was mostly just two double closet doors covered in cutouts of all their latest campaigns, the ones with Emma Watson.)
But I remember the iconic Ralph Lauren Polo nautical campaign in Vogue featuring models out on the water in boats. That was everything for me. So much that a scene in my novel even depicts my two British characters at the FIFA World Cup dressed in attire I saw straight out of a Ralph Lauren Campaign. Read more about my twin billionaire heiresses on my About Page.
“All the way up in the premium seats and right outside the private club lounges, sit Marcie and Robbie, both wearing dark shades and blending in with other high-class premium seat holders, all dressed for a yachting excursion more than a rowdy football game. Marcie lifts the lip of her sun hat to see better, sporting a striped navy blue and white tube top with a matching skirt. Robbie almost matches her in an elbow-length, rolled white button-down, navy shorts with brown belt, and tan Sperry boat shoes.”Chapter 5, Genesis Mortalis, Book 1 of the Take It Trilogy
A Chic Dining Vibe
The ambiance of the Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago is utter chicness and high-class. The front of the restaurant is cozy, yet bright from the natural light and windows. There’s also a small bar tucked away in the corner. Past the host stand is the main dining room. This is perhaps the most impressive of the entire dining experience.
The main dining room is dimly lit, making it quite romantic for those doing a date night. But the booths lining the wall are more lit up. The tables are all set perfectly with branded Ralph Lauren plates and dining ware. And the walls are covered in gorgeous portraits and various bookshelves.
service fit for a queen
I was impressed immediately by the service. As I was taken to my table and being seated, almost four waiters flocked over to greet me. One of them offered to take my coat. Another put down a cloth towel for me to sit my bag on and not get it dirty (why don’t airports do this?! LOL).
Another waiter asked if I wanted bottled or tap water, either still or sparkling. And the last waiter offered to remove the extra place settings from our table for four since I was only expecting one other guest. Upon getting our drinks, my friend and I inquired about being moved to a more well-lit corner booth to which the staff had no problem moving us over.
The last time I’ve had service this good was probably back in Seattle. I used to take my champagne-colored 2017 Lexus NX (her name was Lexi, of course) into the Bellevue, WA Lexus dealership, and I swear one time they bumped my service up because I was late for a hair appointment! It was both hilarious and also like, very appreciated (my hair appointments are actually crucial haha).
Incredible Seafood (despite being in the Midwest)
Since having lived on the West Coast, I’m so used to everyone there saying they could never eat seafood in the Midwest. But honestly, the Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago had the BEST escargot and crab cake I’ve EVER had in my life. And before you argue that snails aren’t seafood, I’ve totally looked it up and Britannica says they actually are!
A French delicacy done right
I’ve tried escargot once on my Alaska cruise, but they were much too salty then. The ones at Ralph Lauren were perfectly marinated in garlic butter with a side of toasted brioche. The garlic butter wasn’t overpowering the way I’ve experienced this French delicacy in Alaska. And the brioche was actually quite light and enjoyable, rather than super doughy and filling. I paired this with a crisp glass of Riesling, which was just refreshing and dry enough.
Lobster Bisque with Real Lobster
I didn’t try the Lobster Bisque due to the heavy cream (I was not about to risk the stomach issues that night LOL). But my friend did order it and seemed to love it! It’s made with Maine Lobster, so I’m sure it’s worth going back on a night where I’m willing to suffer intestinal issues hahaha.
A perfectly flaky and filling Crab Cake
My crab cake though was DELISH. This was one of the options not listed on the menu, but that our server recommended along with a couple other specials. Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago somehow knows the secret to making a crab cake because this was the first one I’ve tasted that seemed to have real crab. It was perfectly crispy and was actually quite big (I couldn’t even finish it all!)
I wish I had had time to have my dessert on a plate, but I ended up getting mine to-go since I had to be somewhere after. As usual, I ordered the key lime pie — my all-time FAVORITE dessert and my weakness! It was spectacular. It was just tangy enough but also lightly dolloped with whipped cream and a few berries. I highly recommend ordering, even if you’re trying to avoid dairy (it will be worth it).
Ralph Lauren’s Store, Plus Ralph’s Coffee
Right next door from the Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago is the clothing store. This place is almost like an actual museum! The ambience is very similar to the restaurant with so many fascinating portraits lining the place. The store has the same vibe as an old-money mansion in Europe where people play polo and cricket somewhere on the estate.
There are four levels to the store, the first two for men’s fashion, the third for women’s fashion, and fourth for home interior decor. Of course downstairs on the first floor, the store is connected to a coffee shop called Ralph’s Coffee. We were pretty full after dinner, so we didn’t sit down to try anything, but I will definitely be going back!
Additional Ralph Lauren Locations
I feel incredibly lucky to have a place like the Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago just steps away from my home. But of course it’s nice to know there are several worldwide dining locations that I will have to eventually try. Here’s the full list:
- The Polo Bar in New York, New York
- Ralph’s in Paris, France
- The Bar at Ralph Lauren in Milan, Italy
- Ralph’s Bar in Chengdu — Sichuan, China
- Ralph’s Coffee
- Locations: Chicago, New York (4 locations), Miami, Washington DC, Munich, London, The Netherlands, Japan (5 locations), China (4 locations), Doha (2 locations), and Malaysia
Overall Rating & things to know
I would highly rate the Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago a 10/10 for food, service, ambiance, and even price. There are plenty of options to enjoy a lighter meal for less or finer cuts of meat and wines for a steeper price.
Be sure to make a reservation for this place. We had dinner around 4:45 p.m., where it was somewhat empty but already starting to fill up quickly. Guests can choose to dine in the main dining room or the lounge near the front. I recommend the dining room for more privacy, since the lounge is fairly intimate and people come in through the front door there and line up at the hostess stand. In better weather, a patio option is also available.
There are several dining options at the Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago, including brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert. There’s even a kid’s menu, though I’m not sure I’d recommend bringing kids unless they’re very well-behaved. Be sure to check out their elaborate menu of exquisite cocktails and drinks.
Looking to try one of my other favorite upscale restaurants in Chicago that also doubles as a furniture museum? Read my blog, “RH Chicago and 3 Arts Club Cafe is Luxury Furniture Meets Modern Art.”
Happy dining and shopping!