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Chicago's 18 Iconic Meat Dishes

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Chicagoans love their meat and here, now, are Eater Chicago's 18 Iconic Meat Dishes for day one of The Five Days of Meat. These city favorites are must-trys for any carnivore and there's plenty to like as the list emcompasses all different types of foods, from steak and meatballs to fried chicken and corned beef. So check it out, make plans and start preparing for the meat-induced comas to follow.

· All The Five Days of Meat Coverage [-ECHI-]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Girl & the Goat

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809 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 492-6262
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Diners can’t get enough pig face at Stephanie Izard’s hotspot. Just like it sounds, the dish is oven-roasted pig face patties over crispy potato sticks with a sunnyside-up egg on top. Mix it all up and you’ve got a multitude of flavors and textures that make for a knockout signature dish.

2. Avec

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615 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 377-2002
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It’s nearly impossible (and not recommended) to dine at avec without ordering the chorizo-stuffed dates. Bathing in a pool of bacon and piquillo-pepper tomato sauce, the meatballs are a perfect mix of savory and sweet, and one of the reasons why the lines are always long at the restaurant.

3. Hot Doug's

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3324 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 279-9550
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Although Hot Doug’s is closing for good in October, the foie dog still deserves a spot on the list for the many years it has brought joy to eaters. There’s nothing like it: foie gras and sauternes duck sausage with truffle aioli, topped with foie gras mousse. It’s silky decadence in-between two buns and if you want one last taste of it before it’s gone forever, you’ll have to stand in line like everyone else.

4. Al's Italian Beef

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1079 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 226-4017
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One of Chicago’s most iconic foods, the Italian beef, can be found in many places around town but it’s the originator that still does it best. Thinly-sliced roast beef covered in gravy, served on an Italian-style roll and topped with peppers, the beloved sandwich is a must-try for residents and out-of-towners alike.

5. Smoque BBQ

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3800 N Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 545-7427
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Chicago might not have invented the style but Smoque sure has perfected the St. Louis ribs. Meaty, smoky and coated with a Memphis dry rub, these ribs are the real deal and what barbecue is all about. Once you try them, you’ll never want to go anywhere else in town for barbecue again.

6. Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen

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1141 S Jefferson St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 939-2855
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A Chicago landmark for decades, Manny’s is one of the city’s finest delis and even a presidential favorite. The corned beef is juicy, tender, sliced to order and stacked high on your choice of bread, enough for even the biggest appetites. You’ll wish you could have it for lunch every day.

7. The Publican

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837 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-9555
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Known for all things pork, The Publican has many outstanding items on its menu but the charcuterie stands out. Featuring salami, pork pie, pate, sausage and head cheese, the plate has a little taste of everything. And while The Publican is no longer the only place in town offering charcuterie boards, it certainly helped kickstart the trend.

8. The Purple Pig

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500 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 464-1744
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As the name suggests, pork is found in abundance at the Purple Pig but it’s a lesser-used part of the animal that produces its signature item. Fried pig’s ear is served with crispy kale, pickled cherry peppers and a fried egg for a rich dish that doesn't hold back.

9. Sun Wah BBQ

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5039 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-1254
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Diners flock to Sun Wah BBQ for its Beijing duck feast. A roasted duck is brought tableside, carved and served with a traditional plate of steam bao, pickled daikon, radish and hoisin sauce. The duck is then reused in a broth with wintermelon as well as in duck fried rice. So those who have never tried the Chinese staple are in for a treat.

10. David Burke's Primehouse

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616 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 660-6000
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Chicago is a meat and potatoes kind of town and home to its fair share of steakhouses. With the competition so fierce, David Burke’s Primehouse manages to stand out among the rest with its dry-aged steaks. The award-winning ribeyes are aged anywhere from 28 to 75 days and offer rich marbling and concentrated beef flavor for a steak unlike any other.

11. Pleasant House Bakery

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964 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 523-7437
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You might not expect to see a bakery on this list but Pleasant House’s meat pies are the best in the city. The Steak and Ale Pie is filled with all-natural beef, ale, carrots and herbs in a flaky, buttery crust. Try one and you’ll believe that savory pies can be every bit as good as their sweet counterparts.

12. Xoco

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449 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 661-1434
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Rick Bayless has mastered the art of tortas, and fans line up for the tasty sandwiches. The ahogada torta features tender, golden pork carnitas, black beans and pickled onions and is served in a bowl of tomato and arbol chile broth. It’s a dripping, messy sandwich in all the best ways possible with a spicy kick that tempts you back bite after bite.

13. Big Jones

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5347 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 275-5725
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There are plenty of delicious dishes on the menu at this down-home Southern restaurant but the fried chicken is the biggest crowd pleaser. Made using a classic Edna Lewis recipe, Amish chicken is brined and then fried in a cast iron kettle with fresh leaf lard, ham drippings and butter. Just thinking about it is enough to get the mouth watering.

14. Tango Sur

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3763 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 477-5466
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Everybody’s favorite Argentinean steakhouse is loaded with tons of meat options for carnivores. Those that want a taste of everything though will want to opt for the parrillada: a mix of short ribs, sausage, sweetbreads and blood sausage all brought to the table on a grill. You can get it for two and share it with another person, or order it for yourself if you’re feeling extra hungry.

15. Paddy Long's

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1028 W Diversey Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 290-6988
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The most gut-busting item on our list, Paddy Long’s The Bomb is five pounds of ground sausage, pork and beef wrapped in a weave of brown sugar bacon. The monstrous creation is designed for 6-8 people, but if you’re daring enough you can take The Bomb Challenge. Finish the whole thing in 45 minutes and get a free meal, t-shirt and spot on the wall of fame.

16. Tre Kronor

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3258 W Foster Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 267-9888
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Tucked away in Albany Park is a neighborhood favorite, Tre Kronor. The Swedish restaurant is a popular breakfast spot and also known for its meatballs. These aren’t your Ikea variety either; they’re light, delicate and can be ordered as a sandwich on limpa toast, or on their own with housemade lignonberry relish.

17. Laschet's Inn

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2119 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 478-7915
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A German tavern that’s been around for decades, Laschet’s Inn serves hearty, traditional fare. Although it’s only available once a week on Saturday, the roasted pork shank is a favorite, served with sauerkraut and roasted potatoes. It’s good enough to plan a week’s dinners around one day.

18. Central Gyros

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3129 N Central Ave
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 545-1276
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This joint has been serving Chicagoans gyros for more than three decades. The famous gyros are a combination of tender and juicy beef and lamb with onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce on pita bread. Whether you get it as a sandwich or as a platter, there’s no denying it’s a city classic.

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1. Girl & the Goat

809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

Diners can’t get enough pig face at Stephanie Izard’s hotspot. Just like it sounds, the dish is oven-roasted pig face patties over crispy potato sticks with a sunnyside-up egg on top. Mix it all up and you’ve got a multitude of flavors and textures that make for a knockout signature dish.

809 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

2. Avec

615 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661

It’s nearly impossible (and not recommended) to dine at avec without ordering the chorizo-stuffed dates. Bathing in a pool of bacon and piquillo-pepper tomato sauce, the meatballs are a perfect mix of savory and sweet, and one of the reasons why the lines are always long at the restaurant.

615 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661

3. Hot Doug's

3324 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Although Hot Doug’s is closing for good in October, the foie dog still deserves a spot on the list for the many years it has brought joy to eaters. There’s nothing like it: foie gras and sauternes duck sausage with truffle aioli, topped with foie gras mousse. It’s silky decadence in-between two buns and if you want one last taste of it before it’s gone forever, you’ll have to stand in line like everyone else.

3324 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

4. Al's Italian Beef

1079 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607

One of Chicago’s most iconic foods, the Italian beef, can be found in many places around town but it’s the originator that still does it best. Thinly-sliced roast beef covered in gravy, served on an Italian-style roll and topped with peppers, the beloved sandwich is a must-try for residents and out-of-towners alike.

1079 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607

5. Smoque BBQ

3800 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60641

Chicago might not have invented the style but Smoque sure has perfected the St. Louis ribs. Meaty, smoky and coated with a Memphis dry rub, these ribs are the real deal and what barbecue is all about. Once you try them, you’ll never want to go anywhere else in town for barbecue again.

3800 N Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60641

6. Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen

1141 S Jefferson St, Chicago, IL 60607

A Chicago landmark for decades, Manny’s is one of the city’s finest delis and even a presidential favorite. The corned beef is juicy, tender, sliced to order and stacked high on your choice of bread, enough for even the biggest appetites. You’ll wish you could have it for lunch every day.

1141 S Jefferson St
Chicago, IL 60607

7. The Publican

837 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607

Known for all things pork, The Publican has many outstanding items on its menu but the charcuterie stands out. Featuring salami, pork pie, pate, sausage and head cheese, the plate has a little taste of everything. And while The Publican is no longer the only place in town offering charcuterie boards, it certainly helped kickstart the trend.

837 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607

8. The Purple Pig

500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

As the name suggests, pork is found in abundance at the Purple Pig but it’s a lesser-used part of the animal that produces its signature item. Fried pig’s ear is served with crispy kale, pickled cherry peppers and a fried egg for a rich dish that doesn't hold back.

500 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

9. Sun Wah BBQ

5039 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640

Diners flock to Sun Wah BBQ for its Beijing duck feast. A roasted duck is brought tableside, carved and served with a traditional plate of steam bao, pickled daikon, radish and hoisin sauce. The duck is then reused in a broth with wintermelon as well as in duck fried rice. So those who have never tried the Chinese staple are in for a treat.

5039 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60640

10. David Burke's Primehouse

616 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago is a meat and potatoes kind of town and home to its fair share of steakhouses. With the competition so fierce, David Burke’s Primehouse manages to stand out among the rest with its dry-aged steaks. The award-winning ribeyes are aged anywhere from 28 to 75 days and offer rich marbling and concentrated beef flavor for a steak unlike any other.

616 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611

11. Pleasant House Bakery

964 W 31st St, Chicago, IL 60608

You might not expect to see a bakery on this list but Pleasant House’s meat pies are the best in the city. The Steak and Ale Pie is filled with all-natural beef, ale, carrots and herbs in a flaky, buttery crust. Try one and you’ll believe that savory pies can be every bit as good as their sweet counterparts.

964 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60608

12. Xoco

449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

Rick Bayless has mastered the art of tortas, and fans line up for the tasty sandwiches. The ahogada torta features tender, golden pork carnitas, black beans and pickled onions and is served in a bowl of tomato and arbol chile broth. It’s a dripping, messy sandwich in all the best ways possible with a spicy kick that tempts you back bite after bite.

449 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654

13. Big Jones

5347 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

There are plenty of delicious dishes on the menu at this down-home Southern restaurant but the fried chicken is the biggest crowd pleaser. Made using a classic Edna Lewis recipe, Amish chicken is brined and then fried in a cast iron kettle with fresh leaf lard, ham drippings and butter. Just thinking about it is enough to get the mouth watering.

5347 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

14. Tango Sur

3763 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

Everybody’s favorite Argentinean steakhouse is loaded with tons of meat options for carnivores. Those that want a taste of everything though will want to opt for the parrillada: a mix of short ribs, sausage, sweetbreads and blood sausage all brought to the table on a grill. You can get it for two and share it with another person, or order it for yourself if you’re feeling extra hungry.

3763 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60613

15. Paddy Long's

1028 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614

The most gut-busting item on our list, Paddy Long’s The Bomb is five pounds of ground sausage, pork and beef wrapped in a weave of brown sugar bacon. The monstrous creation is designed for 6-8 people, but if you’re daring enough you can take The Bomb Challenge. Finish the whole thing in 45 minutes and get a free meal, t-shirt and spot on the wall of fame.

1028 W Diversey Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614

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16. Tre Kronor

3258 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Tucked away in Albany Park is a neighborhood favorite, Tre Kronor. The Swedish restaurant is a popular breakfast spot and also known for its meatballs. These aren’t your Ikea variety either; they’re light, delicate and can be ordered as a sandwich on limpa toast, or on their own with housemade lignonberry relish.

3258 W Foster Ave
Chicago, IL 60625

17. Laschet's Inn

2119 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60618

A German tavern that’s been around for decades, Laschet’s Inn serves hearty, traditional fare. Although it’s only available once a week on Saturday, the roasted pork shank is a favorite, served with sauerkraut and roasted potatoes. It’s good enough to plan a week’s dinners around one day.

2119 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60618

18. Central Gyros

3129 N Central Ave, Chicago, IL 60641

This joint has been serving Chicagoans gyros for more than three decades. The famous gyros are a combination of tender and juicy beef and lamb with onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce on pita bread. Whether you get it as a sandwich or as a platter, there’s no denying it’s a city classic.

3129 N Central Ave
Chicago, IL 60641

Related Maps