The Windy City is full of delicious native dishes that you have to try! Even if you’re only in town for a day or two. Here are some of the most popular foods that were born and bred in Chicago.
Deep Dish Pizza
While Pizzeria Uno claims that they invented the iconic dish is debatable, the deep dish pizza is undeniably native to Chi-town. No matter how you slice it. You’ll definitely need a knife and fork to attempt one of these pies. They’re defined by their flaky, buttery crust and full of cheese and toppings like peppers, sausage, and onions. Aside from Uno, you can experience the phenomenon at Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, and Pequod’s.
Chicago Hot Dog
What makes a Chicago hot dog so different from your run-of-the-mill Frank, you ask? For starters, the addition of ketchup is strictly forbidden. To be truly Chicago-style, the Vienna beef dog is covered in mustard, pickles, tomatoes, relish, and celery salt. Head to Gene & Jude’s and Hot Doug’s to chow down on some of the best in town.
Italian Beef Sandwich
The thinly-sliced, slow-cooked beef on this sandwich is super flavorful, and when combined with green peppers and au jus on french bread, you can’t go wrong. For the complete experience, grab some extra napkins and order the sandwich “dipped,” which means it’s completely dunked in the juice. Yes, you’re still expected to eat it with your hands! Al’s Italian Beef, Bari, and Joe Boston’s Italian Beef are among the top spots for this delicacy.
Not for the faint of heart, Malort is a strong liquor that every Chicago resident (or visitor) has to try at least once. The taste is hard to describe, but it’s been compared to a more brutal, bitter Jagermeister that completely assaults the tastebuds. Sounds great, right? If you’re feeling brave, you can ask for a shot at just about any bar in the city.
This unique Puerto Rican creation was born in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. Most versions consist of thinly-sliced steak, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and the pièce de résistance, two smashed and crisp-fried plantains instead of pieces of bread. Find one at La Bomba, Coco, Borinquen, or Cafe Central. Vegetarians can also try a meat-free version at Belly Shack.