Here’s a bit of Chicago history for you. After becoming the first female Top Chef winner in 2008, Stephanie Izard lived the celebrity chef rock star life without actually having a restaurant - good for her. Two years of planning later came Girl & The Goat, one of the most talked about restaurants in Chicago. You’ve heard of it. Your mom’s heard of it. Your grandma that lives in Florida has probably heard of it because she saw it on the Food Network. So with everyone in the know, is Girl & the Goat actually that good?
The short answer is yes. The long answer explaining why is more philosophical - Girl & the Goat is so good because it’s kind of ordinary, meaning it doesn’t do anything radically different than a typical restaurant. It’s just a restaurant. It’s not great because it’s cheap. It’s not loved because it’s BYOB, which everyone knows automatically makes a restaurant better. It’s not some ridiculous tasting menu with 378 courses for $500. And you won’t be served crazy things like exploding table fireworks made of foie gras, or candle smoke that when inhaled tastes like prime rib.
Instead, Girl & the Goat is great because everything is done exceptionally well. The flavors are bold, with dishes like veggies mixed with fish sauce or stone fruit, calamari bruschetta, and a whole section of the menu dedicated to goat (and you should be sure to order a few goat-related items). The service is also phenomenal, and the beautifully decorated, loft-style building ensures you’re going to have a fun and lively meal every time.
Girl & the Goat isn’t life-altering, but it’s still one of the best. And that conundrum is what makes this place so good. Be sure to make a reservation or prepare to wait, because we don’t expect anyone to stop talking about it soon.
Yes, they charge you for bread. Yes, you should order bread.
Balance out your meal with some well prepared veggies. We love the sautéed green beans, roasted cauliflower, and wood grilled broccoli pictured here, but get whatever you like.
We’re all in on these chickpea fritters served with some yogurt, tomato, stonefruit, and feta cheese. An excellent light bite.
Calamari, ricotta, goat bacon, and green tomato in bruschetta form on a baguette. The calamari in this dish is silky and smooth, like straight butter, and it tastes delicious. A great take on bruschetta.
Grilled octopus with guanciale, fava beans, pea tips, pistacios, and a lemon vinaigrette. It’s good grilled octopus, but we wouldn’t go further than that. If you’re going to get some octopus we suggest the calamari bruschetta instead.
What could be bad about french fries? Nothing, obviously. But we’d only order if you have a bigger group. No need to fill up on a ton of fries dipped in tomato aioli and cheddar beer sauce, even if it’s all good.
One of Girl & the Goat’s signature dishes and a must order. Fatty pig, sunny side egg, tamarind, cilantro, red wine-maple, and potato stix. It’s heavy duty but really great.
The restaurant is called Girl & the Goat. Goat is delicious and so are empanadas. You do the math.
A seriously rich and decadent dish of confit goat belly plus a bit of lobster and crab to go with it. It’s on the smaller side, but only a bite or two is more than enough. You’ll like this dish, but don’t feel compelled to order it either.
Sesame gelato with sesame whip and glazed pineapple. You need this even if you’re full by the time dessert rolls around.