Apart from being called the Windy City, Chicago is also famous for its food. No wonder there are numerous Michelin Star restaurants in the city. However, that is not all Chicago has to offer.
There are quite a few foods that are either native to Chicago or invented in Chicago. When planning a visit to the city, I made a list of top 20 things to eat in chicago.
Before I share the list, take a sneak peek at the foods for which Chicago is famous.
Which Foods is Chicago Famous for?
These are the most famous foods Chicago is well known for:
- Deep dish pizza
- Barbecue ribs
- Original brownie
- Chicago style hot dogs
- Wild wings & wingstop
- And many more
You can ask yourself about what to eat in chicago? Do not worry, for your help i will cover not only these but also other iconic foods which you must try and Chicago.
Our Recommended Top 20 Best Food in Chicago
1. Deep Dish Pizza
To put it bluntly, Chicago invented the deep dish pizza. Ever since then, this pizza has garnered accolades all over the world.
Needless to say, when you’re in Chicago, it makes sense to try this delicacy out.
The best place to do so is Lou Malnati. It is well known for its butter crust along with high-quality ingredients.
A late-night trip to the place will help you skip the queues. Either that or you can head on for an early lunch.
2. Garretts Mix Popcorn
Garrett Popcorn stores have been around in Chicago since 1949. The reason to visit these stores is the Garrett mix popcorn it offers. The combination of cheese corn and caramel popcorn is worth a visit.
With numerous stores all over Chicago, you need not travel a lot to try out this delicacy.
3. Eli’s Cheesecake
How can you miss out on so-called Chicago’s most famous desert?
Yes, that’s Eli’s cheesecake for you.
Eli’s cheesecake is a cheesecake company like none other. Ever since its launch of original plain cheesecake, it has grown by leaps and bounds.
The simple recipe of sugar, eggs, sour cream, and cream cheese in a cookie crust has made it famous.
Sometimes, the best things are simple and delicious. Eli’s cheesecake is one of them.
4. Shaved Ice
Can something this simple be a must-try?
Yes, of course!
Another simple delicacy that you shouldn’t miss out on is the shaved ice. You can grab it at Mario’s Italian lemonade. However, the lemonade stand is only open from May to September.
Since its beginning in 1954, it has become famous for its shaved ice combined with various flavors.
5. Barbecue Ribs
For all you meat lovers out there, Chicago is a feast.
The Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern has been serving delicious mouthwatering ribs since 1932. Due to its unique combination of sources, its barbecue ribs have been famous for decades. Arguably, it is one of the oldest restaurants offering barbecue ribs since it has been around since 1932.
However, if you’re looking for a few options, Chicago doesn’t disappoint.
You can try out other equally popular restaurants offering barbecue ribs like Lem’s Bar-B-Q and Smoque BBQ.
6. Classic Cheeseburger
Chicago is the best place to try out the humble classic cheeseburger— and for this, Billy Goat Tavern is the place to visit. Since 1934, it has been going strong because of its classic cheeseburger.
In case you’re looking for a gourmet alternative, Chicago offers that in the form of Kuma’s Corner. If you want to stick to the legendary cheeseburger, another restaurant that won’t disappoint you is the Au Cheval.
7. Fried Chicken Dinner
If you have been to Chicago before, you would have surely come across Harold’s Chicken Shack. With 40 different locations in Chicago itself, you can always find one nearby,
The outlet is famous for its fried chicken dinner, with fries, coleslaw, and even white bread. The magic, however, is in their sauce.
Now, the question arises: which outlet should you head over to?
I personally recommend Harold No. 88 for excellent quality or Harold No. 36 for its great location.
Do not be surprised if you find a rapper enjoying the dinner along with you when you head over to Harold’s. It is patronized by many in the rapper community.
8. Buttermilk Old Fashioned Donut
Donut hardly seems to be a delicacy which you cannot miss. After all, it is available all over the country.
Well, not this one!
Have you ever had a buttermilk-flavored donut?
I guess not.
The crunch on the outside is hard to miss. Couple this with the softness inside and vanilla glaze on top. That is certainly a donut which you wouldn’t have had anywhere else. You can have this donut at any outlet of Do-Rite Donut. With multiple outlets in the city, it is easy to grab one.
9. Butter Toffee
Fudge Pot, the outlet serving these toffees, has been around for 50 years. Because of delicacies like this, the outlet has grown in popularity.
When you combine sweet caramel with dark or white chocolate, what you get is a match made in heaven. Sprinkle some crunchy nuts on top, and it’s hard to miss dessert.
That is why Butter toffee from Fudge pot is hard to miss.
10. Authentic Tacos
I am hardly a fan of tacos, but only after coming to Chicago, I realize I hadn’t tasted the authentic tacos yet.
For the same, you can head over to Patreon. The combination of authentic corn tortillas with tender meat and secret seasoning makes these tacos a much better choice than what you have had till now.
11. Chicken Pot Pie
The restaurant offering this delicacy holds the distinction of being the first restaurant in a department store. It is inside Macy’s on State Street.
Mrs. Hering’s Chicken Pot Pie is the name of the delicacy. If you like chicken, you will love this dish. It is one of the longest dishes on the menu since it has been around since 1980. For many, it’s comforting food.
12. Original Brownie
Brownie had its humble beginnings in Chicago in 1893. In a way, Chicago is home to the brownie. Therefore, it makes sense to enjoy this delicacy in its original form when you are in Chicago.
Palmer House is the place to head over to for the same. In case you need an option, you can head over to Lockwood restaurant as well.
13. Chicago Style Hotdogs
Chicago has given another iconic snack to the world. It’s the good old Hot Dog. No wonder the city is beaming with restaurants that serve this delicacy.
If you genuinely want to experience hot dogs, Portillo is the place to visit. Meat tucked between poppy seed bun and chopped onions and tomatoes on top makes it different from the usual monotonous hot dogs. Not to speak of the pickle and peppers along with the same.
Once you take a bite, you will never return to the modified versions of hot dogs.
14. Rainbow Cone
The original Rainbow Cone has been around since 1926. The place has thrived because of its offering of the Rainbow Cone. True to its name, it’s a celebration of colors along with orange sherbet, pistachio, and chocolate, among other things.
It is a dessert that will not soothe your sweet tooth but provide you with an unforgettable experience.
For Tamales, there is only one place to visit in Chicago it’s the Tamale Guy. The man whose known by this name is originally called Claudio Velez.
The man is recognized by distinct red coolers, consisting of hard-rolled tamales. He also has a brick-and-mortar location. He is famous because of his perfectly made tamales comprised of chicken, beef, pepper, and many other delicious ingredients.
Even though tamales aren’t native to Chicago, but the tamale guy has made them hard to miss when in the city.
16. Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon rolls have taken the country by storm. Chicago is no different. A place in Chicago has made them more famous because of the precise and consistent taste.
It is none other than Ann Sather!
With multiple outlets across the city, it’s not hard to grab one.
The rolls have been around for 80 years. Since they are made from scratch and are pretty fulfilling, they have become a staple breakfast among the regulars.
Vibrators consisting of ultra-thin cut steak have become famous in Chicago. Originally they belong to Puerto Rico, but Americans have made them their own.
The most famous place where you can grab one is Jibaritos Y Mas. Once you visit any of its outlets, you will be surprised by the octopus, beef, and chicken variant. Finding an outlet nearby is never difficult since the restaurant is spread across the city.
Saganaki is native to the city of Chicago. Santorini is the place that has stuck to authentic greek flavors and also serves some great saganaki.
Other than the usual ingredients in Saganaki, it includes lemon juice, hot pita. The ingredient quality of this restaurant also makes it better than competitors.
19. Edible Balloons
Have you heard about the edible balloons of Chicago?
Alinea is the Michelin star restaurant that serves them. The ingredient at the core is apple taffy which is blown in the form of balloons using helium.
The restaurant has many other delicacies that have earned it a Michelin star. Do visit the place when you are in the city.
20. Barbecue Rib Tips
Chicago is a city that likes to experiment with ribs. The rib tips are another delicacy that you cannot miss.
The place which offers the same is Leon’s Barbecue. With delicious sauce smothered on top of the rib tips and the right smoky texture, you will savor this meat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Chicago a good food city?
Chicago is undoubtedly a city that innovates its food. It is one of the best cities to try out new and unique delicacies.
What snacks is Chicago known for?
Chicago is known for its hot dogs, deep-dish pizza, and cheesecakes.
What food did Chicago invent?
Brownies and Deep dish pizza are the most popular foods that Chicago has invented.
What can I eat in Chicago besides pizza?
Besides pizza, hot dogs, ribs bbq, classic cheeseburger, and fried chicken dinner are delicacies to try out in Chicago.
What dessert is Chicago known for?
Cheesecake, rainbow cone, Buttermilk donut, and original brownies are the deserts for which Chicago is well-known.
Is Chicago known for cheesecake?
Eli’s cheesecake from Chicago has become world-famous.
What is Chicago cheesecake?
Chicago cheesecake is fluffier than other cheesecakes. Due to this texture, this cheesecake is filling.
After careful consideration and trying out many of these, I have compiled the list of top 20 must try food in chicago. I assure you, these delicacies are worth a try even if you have taken out some extra time from your schedule.