8 Best Foods in Chicago, According to Locals
8 Best Foods in Chicago, According to Locals
One of the delights of traveling around America is enjoying the great diversity of food throughout the country. Every region, state, and for that matter, each city has it’s own special fare that may tempt even those who don’t consider themselves gourmands.
Chicago, for example, is a city known for preparing iconic dishes that no visitor can resist. To make your culinary experience worthwhile, here is a list of some of the best foods in Chicago, according to locals, one must try when paying a visit to this windy metropolis.
1. Deep dish pizza
No dish is synonymous with the food scene of the city than the remarkable flaky crust of mozzarella cheese, and zesty sweet sauce topped pizza. The unique, high-quality ingredients that make this classic dish make it a favorite with early lunch-goers or on a late-night drive. Deep dish pizza is definitely one of the best foods in Chicago.
Regarded as an essential Chicago restaurant, Pequod’s sets itself apart with a “caramelized crust.” Mozzarella cheese is cooked along the edge of a cast-iron pan creating a crust unlike any other. It is then topped with savory sauce and flavorful toppings.
Giordano’s specializes in an even bigger variant: Stuffed pies. Similar to deep dish, the crust is loaded with mozzarella and toppings. An additional layer of dough above the cheese and below the tomato sauce takes it to the next level.
2. Vienna beef hot dog
This extremely popular fast food choice of the locals is also referred to as the Chicago Dog. It essentially is made in a poppy seed bun, which is steamed to perfection. The crucial ingredients are beef sausage topped with layers of seven condiments like tomato, onions, mustard, sport peppers, relish, and giant dill pickled spear.
Gene & Jude’s is another popular joint for hot dog and fries lovers for over 70 years is Gene & Jude’s located in the sleepy hub of River Grove, Illinois
3. Italian beef sandwich
The slow-cooked Italian beef sandwich is without doubt Chicago’s most cherished delicacy. The unique dish is so much related to the city itself that rivals are always trying to outdo each other about who makes the best sandwiches.
Served on French bread, the thinly cut sandwich is strewn with hot and sweet peppers, vegetables, and the original Chicago olive oil condiment – giardiniera. The whole sandwich is then dipped in gravy, wrapped in white paper and handed over to the customer. Al, who claims to be the one who started it all in 1938, makes the hugely tastier version using the rump portion for tender beef and sauce with oregano.
4. Chicken Pot Pie
The sweet and savory chicken pot pie is an excellent advertisement for a versatile meal in the city. The flaky crust on the top and bottom with chicken and your preferred vegetable in the middle, along with creamy sauce, will transport your taste buds literally to paradise. No wonder it is the most popular dish on the internet.
5. The Original Brownie
Few travelers, even locals, may not be aware of the fact a food item famous all over the world was invented in Chicago: chocolate brownies. The first reference to the “brownie” in America appears in the Sears Roebuck Catalog published in Chicago in 1898.
This iconic American dessert was first made in 1893 at the Palmer House Hotel, and the same recipe is still being used today. The brownies are sweet and fudgy, topped with walnuts and a graze of apricot. Visitors to Chicago can taste this bit of history in both the restaurants of Palmer House.
6. Barbecue Ribs
If you dream of smoked meat, your mind will be flooded with visions of the sauce smothered barbecue ribs of Chicago. Thanks to an influx of German and European immigrants in the 20th century, primal meat was available in abundance. While some people enjoy the expensive cuts, the cheaper combos with a couple of slices of white bread and absurdly juicy pork, resting on a bed of crispy french fries, is a much-favored option. Barbecue ribs are a must-have on the list of best foods in Chicago.
7. Carnitas Platter
Where to eat: Don Pedro Carnitas, 18th St
Literally meaning ‘little meat,’ this Mexican dish offers a unique culinary experience. The main Carnitas platter consists of pork fried in its fat. Diners can opt for a mix of ribs, skin, or dark meat.
The dish comes with cilantro, warm tortillas, onions, and salsa. The platter is an affordably priced traditional Mexican pork dish and very popular with visitors and locals alike.
8. Helium filled floating balloon
For a dining experience, unlike any other, try out one of the most unusual dish – a helium-filled edible balloon. This balloon is served as dessert at this three Michelin star restaurant, Alinea, in Chicago.
The main ingredient is green apple taffy, which is then filled with real helium. The filled balloons are sprinkled with a dusting of green sugar and then served to guests who are supposed to pop it or suck in a little helium before consuming the dish. To enjoy this extraordinary experience, you will need to book a table in advance on the website as the restaurant does not accept walk-ins.
Food forms an essential part of travel as it helps define the identity of a place. Chicago is no longer just a meat and potato destination as it once was. The food culture has grown in leaps and bounds to a new level that serves some of the best signature dishes in the country. We are convinced that these Chicago food experiences will leave you craving to return for more.
What foods do you consider the best foods in Chicago?