10 Greatest Chicago Meals | Must-Try Chicago Food

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This large Midwestern metropolis takes its cuisine seriously, from deep-dish pizza to bratwurst. Your mouth may be watering at the notion of getting a hot dog or an Italian beef sandwich right now, but before you run out to eat, consider the other meal alternatives.

After all, what will you do with your egg-dipped french fries after they’ve done soaking in their sizzling bacon bath? Where can you go after devouring some cheddar-slathered Wisconsin mac and cheese? Where will you go for a bite after that?

It’s clear where you’re going. You’re heading to eat the most renowned Chicago foods.

Are you looking for additional places to visit in Illinois? Check out our other tasty guides:

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  • 15 Best Restaurants In Naperville
  • Best Mexican Food In Chicago
  • 10 Must-Visit Indian Restaurants In Chicago
  • 10 Must-Try Thai Restaurants In Chicago
  • 10 Must-Try Chinese Restaurants In Chicago
  • The Best Mediterranean Food In Chicago
  • 17 Best Restaurants Peoria Illinois

Chicago Cuisine

Chicago Style Barbeque

While being less well-known than barbecue from Kansas City or the Carolinas, Chicago barbecue is as wonderful and complicated. Chicago barbecue comes in a variety of forms, including boilbecue and smokeless roasts. But, Delta-style rib tips from the South Side are the most well-known.

Pitmasters often ignore the rib tips, which are high in cartilage. The meal is normally served with several slices of white bread and a generous amount of sauce.

Its technique of production aquarium pits is what distinguishes Chicago-style barbecue. Some pitmasters smoke their meat in holes in the ground and massive steel smokers, but the Windy City does it differently.

Sandwich Jibarito

The Jibarito sandwich, also known as the Hee-barito, is inspired by the tastes and culinary traditions of Puerto Rico.

Jibaritos are often made with fresh tomato slices, lettuce, onions, garlicky mayonnaise, and cheese, as well as a protein, generally steak. Instead of bread, the sandwich is held together by two crisp slices of fried plantain.

Plantains have long been used to replace bread in Puerto Rico. Juan Pete Figueroa tweaked the recipe and offered it at his Chicago restaurant in 1996. Several Chicago eateries have since served this renowned dish.

The Cone of Rainbows

Joseph Sapp and his wife Katherine invented the Original Rainbow Cone in 1926. For this popular Chicago dessert, ice cream stacks of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House, pistachio, and orange sherbet are piled high on a cake cone.

Every spring, when winter ends and spring starts, locals and visitors alike rush to the Rainbow Cone.

Puffs of Pizza

While some restaurants provide pizza puffs that are similar to calzones, a true pizza puff is distinct.

This unique Chicago delicacy may resemble calzones, but it has a very distinct origin. While some restaurants provide pizza puffs that resemble calzones, an authentic pizza puff is much different. Fried cheese wraps wrapped in a tortilla-like dough with meat, cheese, and sauce.

Pizza puffs are so popular that they may be found at restaurants, hot dog vendors, and even the frozen department of your local grocery store.

Saganaki in flames

Saganaki originated in the now-defunct Parthenon Restaurant in Chicago’s Greektown.

The meal is created using kasseri cheese, which is fried and breaded before being lit on fire with a dash of alcohol sprayed on top. Lastly, a squeeze of lemon juice is used to extinguish the flame.

To enhance the experience, Greeks traditionally yell Opa and offer burning saganaki.

While it has only been available for a little over a decade, flaming saganaki has become a Chicago cuisine craze. With the introduction of flaming saganaki, restaurants have been hurrying to include it on their menus. Certain versions of the meal are also available from local food trucks.

Sandwich with Italian Beef

Despite the fact that the original origins of the Italian beef sandwich are unknown, it is one of Chicago’s most renowned meals. Whatever the actual origin of this legendary Chicago sandwich, the principle remains the same.

The Italian beef sandwich was invented in the 1930s in order to stretch beef farther, whether at a dinner table or at a formal function.

This Chicago classic consists of sliced sirloin heaped high on French toast with peppers.

Hundreds of eateries and food sellers in Chicago provide Italian beef sandwiches.

The Chicago Style Hot Dog

What is the most important meal to try when in Chicago? A traditional Chicago-style hot dog is the solution. Chicago-style hot dogs are nearly as synonymous with Chicago as deep-dish pizza was during the Great Depression.

A Chicago dog is served on a steamed poppy seed bun with mustard, neon green relish, onions, sport peppers, pickle spears, and celery salt when requested all the way.

Chicago-style hot dogs may be seen on menus around the nation and in restaurants across the city. Every year, a Hot Dog Fest is held in Chicago to honor this Chicago staple.


Even as a history geek, I find it astounding that a Chicagoan invented this dish. Chicago is a city I like visiting. Brownies are usually on my gourmet to-do list when I visit town.

Bertha Palmer of Chicago asked The Palmer House’s pastry chef to produce brownies for the Women’s Pavilion at the 1893 World’s Fair. That is how America’s favorite dessert got its start.

Even though it wasn’t named a brownie at first (it was originally known as Brownies food), the baked delicacy was an immediate smash. The recipe originally called for semi-sweet chocolate, walnuts, and an apricot glaze. This original dish is still served at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago’s Loop neighborhood.

Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Donut

Apart from being soft and pillowy on the inside and covered with a vanilla bean frosting, this doughnut is one of Chicago’s iconic meals that are so wonderful because they are so simple to create.

If you’re getting a dozen, you may as well get the Pistachio-Meyer Lemon and Cinnamon Crunch Raised doughnuts as well.

Vesuvio de Chicken

Chicken Vesuvio is a Chicago cuisine classic. The dish of chicken and potato wedges in white wine sauce has no recorded originator, although it is said to have originated in the 1930s on the menu of Chicago’s Vesuvio Restaurant.

Regardless of its roots, the city of Chicago claims it as its own. The dish is available at practically every Italian restaurant in Chicago, but Harry Carays is frequently ranked as the finest. It is a fantastic introduction to Chicago cuisine for both natives and visitors.

A List of the Top 10 Chicago Meals

There are several alternatives for the greatest cuisine in Chicago, whether you are a Windy City resident or an out-of-towner.

Chicago is well-known across the nation for its cuisine. Whether you want deep dish pizza, Mexican cuisine, BBQ, or a simple burger, there is something for everyone here.

It doesn’t stop there. The whole city has been constructed with food in mind. The nightlife in Chicago is incredible, with unique beverages and bars not just in the Loop but across the city.

You should certainly pay a visit to the Windy City!

Which of these Chicago cuisines are you most interested in trying first? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!

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