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14 Chicago Foods That Are Worth Traveling For

BRB, packing bags (and an empty stomach) for Chicago. Choose Chicago for epic foods you'll never forget.

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1. Burgers from Kuma's Corner

Kuma's is a Chicago institution, and it's home to the metal-est burgers on Earth. In fact, every burger they serve is named after a metal band, from the Black Sabbath Burger (blackening spice, housemade chili, pepperjack, red onion), to the Slayer Burger (10-oz patty on a bed of fries, chili, cherry peppers, caramelized onion, andouille sausage, monterrey jack cheese, green onion, and ANGER). Nothing short of epic.

2. Italian Beef from Al's Beef

Paul Howey / Courtesy of Al's Beef

Chicago is the birthplace of Italian Beef, and there's no better city to have it in. The sandwich is composed of thinly sliced roast beef, dripping with juices, piled on Italian bread and topped with hot or sweet peppers. If that's not already amazing enough, the entire sandwich is then dipped into the flavorful juices that the meat is cooked in. Try it at Al's Beef!

3. Ramen at Ramen-san

Courtesy of Ramen-san

There's an amazing array of Asian food options in Chicago, and ramen is one of the most exciting and inventive things to try in the city. We recommend Ramen-san, which offers a variety of flavorful broths and toppings.

4. Steak at RPM Steak

Courtesy of RPM Steak

Chicago has plenty to offer in terms of steak, but the celebrity-owned RPM Steak is one of the best options. The menu is a modern take on the traditional steakhouse and features over a dozen cuts of steak sourced from all over the world, not to mention 350 hand-selected wines!

5. Traditional and Chef-Driven Tacos at Big Star

Courtesy of Big Star / Instagram: @bigstarchicago

Chicago is home to some amazingly authentic Mexican food, most notably in the colorful neighborhood of Pilsen. However, you can also find unique takes on Mexican street food in other Chicago neighborhoods. Big Star in Wicker Park is a fusion of a taqueria and a honky-tonk. Tacos and bourbon? Yes, pls.

6. Inventive American Cuisine at Girl & the Goat

Chicago is a major hotspot for inventive New American cuisine, and Girl & the Goat is one of the best places to experience this new wave of modern cooking. Every dish on the menu is interesting and delicious, but the most popular is the Wood Oven Roasted Pig Face, pictured top left.

7. Deep Dish Pizza at Lou Malnati's or Pequod's

Courtesy of Lou Malnati's

Chicago thin-crust is served in many places in Chicago, but deep-dish is the city's heart and soul when it comes to pizza. It's impossible to go wrong with a pastry-like crust filled with gooey cheese and loads of toppings. You'll find great deep-dish all around the city, but we recommend Lou Malnati's and Pequod's.

8. Charcuterie at Publican Quality Meats

Courtesy of Publican Quality Meats / Via

Harking back to Chicago's meatpacking history, Publican Quality Meats is a neighborhood butcher and deli with a vintage charm. Try their amazing house-cured charcuterie, which includes unique options from galantine to boudin noir (blood sausage), with their artisanal cheese and breads, and instantly be transported to another era.

9. Inventive Michelin-starred Fare at Alinea

There are only a handful of restaurants in all of America that hold three Michelin stars, and Chicago's Alinea is one of them. You may have to make a reservation months in advance, but it's an experience like no other and perfectly captures the creativity and innovation of the Chicago food scene. Plus, it's beautiful!

10. Outstanding Vegan Fare at the Chicago Diner

Del Nakamura / Courtesy of The Chicago Diner / Via

Chicago isn't just a city for carnivores! There's plenty of amazing vegan and vegetarian fare in the city, including the popular Chicago Diner. They're most known for the Radical Reuben (pictured above), which is definitely a work of art — but you'd be missing out if you didn't try their milkshakes or desserts too.

11. Pie at Bang Bang Pie Shop

Ryan Bringas Photography / Courtesy of Bang Bang Pie Shop

No one has truly experienced pie until they've tried Bang Bang Pie Shop, which offers a delightful menu of both sweet and savory pies and biscuits. It's true Midwestern cooking and hospitality served up in pie form!

12. Popcorn from Garrett Popcorn

Courtesy of Garrett Popcorn

This gourmet popcorn is a classic Chicago snack that dates back to mid-century times. Garrett's signature popcorn mix is their unique combination of caramel and cheese.

13. BBQ at Smoque

Courtesy of Smoque

You don't have to travel South for authentic barbecue — it's served perfectly in Chicago at Smoque. Their sauces, rubs, and sides are all 100% house-made, and the restaurant's atmosphere is like a friendly neighborhood community. Try their ribs and brisket!

14. And of Course: the Celebrated Chicago Dog at Superdawg

Courtesy of Superdawg /

Ketchup is not welcome here. The classic Chicago Dog is an all-beef sausage topped with mustard, sweet relish, onions, tomatoes, pickled peppers, and a spear of pickle. There are tons of restaurants and stands in the city that serve the Chicago Dog, but for a truly classic experience, we recommend Superdawg.

Chicago is truly a culinary mecca. Visit Chicago and eat to your heart's content.