Chicago is the food hub of the Midwest. The city boasts fine dining, unique sandwiches, the famous Chicago Dog, and the legendary deep dish pizza. This city is a favorite American destination for those that love to eat. Get ready to plan your next trip to the Windy City with our foodie’s guide to Chicago.
A Foodie’s Guide To Chicago
The Famous Chicago Food
The Windy City is well known for its Deep Dish Pizza. This pizza variety is usually eaten with a knife and fork and is considered a rite of passage for locals and visitors. Bartoli’s serves up pies with sweet red sauce and mild mozzarella on top of a light and flaky crust. The Art of Pizza is a favorite along the lake and serves up individual slices for those on the go, and they even have stuffed pizza too.
Hot Dogs here are known as the ‘Chicago Dog”. The dog consists of Vienna beef on a steamed white bun, and topped with mustard, relish, tomato, onions, jalapeno peppers, and a pickled gherkin. You can get these tasty dogs at George’s Hot Dogs in Bucktown, where they have been operating since 1948.
Other Chicago Staples
While on the South Side, ask for the specialty called Gym Shoe or Jim Shoe. This sandwich is gyro meat with corned beef, roast beef, cheese and giardiniera on a roll. Stony Sub is considered the best place to get Jim shoe in the city.
Chicagoans love Italian Beef Sandwiches. It was originally brought to the city by Italian immigrants as a great inexpensive way to feed large parties. Al’s Italian Beef can make your Italian beef sandwich wet or dipped, and with hot or sweet peppers.
Jibarito is a Puerto Rican sandwich. This sandwich uses sliced, fried plantains instead of bread, and filled with steak, roast pork, and chicken. The jibarito sandwich contains lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and cheese. Places such as Casa Yari, La Bomba, and Papa’s Cache Sabroso serve up delicious jibaritos daily.
Malört is another Chicago staple. Malort is a Swedish wormwood liquor that bartenders served in shots. But in recent years, Chicago bartenders have incorporated the liquor into cocktails. For the best malort, visit Green Door Tavern, The Whale Chicago, Longman & Eagle, plus many more.
The Best Food Neighborhoods of Chicago
Chinatown is home to the city’s Chinese immigrants, so it goes without saying this Near South Side neighborhood is packed with Asian restaurants. Standouts include Lao Sze Chuan, and MingHin Cuisine for dim sum. Don’t forget to visit the Richland Center Food Court while in the neighborhood.
Devon is another Chicago neighborhood with Asian flair. The area specializes in South Indian fare with eateries such as Sukhadia’s, and Annapurna. Spicy meat lovers will enjoy their visit to Khan BBQ with a hearty serving of Bihari kabab.
More Great Chicago Foodies Neighborhoods
Greater Grand Crossing is another area full of great restaurants. Highlights include vegan delights at Soul Veg City, and outstanding chicken at Harold’s Chicken Shack. The Brown Sugar Bakery serves up sweet treats such as turtle cakes and other baked specialties.
Hermosa is a neighborhood the locals would recommend to foodies. The new Hermosa Restaurant has a great fried chicken sandwich, and Central Bakery serves up tasty Mexican pastries and sweet breads. Stop by the trendy Tacotlan for red hued tacos with a side of consommé.
Hyde Park is where the University of Chicago is located, but the local food does not cater to students only. Virtue serves southern cuisine with a celebration of black culture, or you can grab a burger at Medici, or dine at the cafeteria style Valois Restaurant.
West Loop/Fulton Market is considered Restaurant Row in Chicago. Get a tour of Chicago’s best food here at Fulton Market Kitchen, or taste the spectacular cuisine of chef Grant Achatz at Next, plus many more.
Chicago Foodie Walking Tours
Operators that offer foodies tours of Chicago food staples:
Chicago Food Planet hosts popular tours including Iconic Foods of Chicago Food Tour, Wrigleyville, and the Chinatown Adventure Food Tour, plus more.
Sidewalk Food Tours of Chicago has many walking food tours including Wicker Park Food Tour, River North Food Tour, and Chicago Corporate Team Building Tour.
Chef Driven Food Tours drives guests to the best Chicago food neighborhoods with native Chicago professional chefs as your guide.
Consult this foodie’s guide to Chicago to plan your next trip!
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