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Hi, I'm Georgina! A coffee-loving adventure enthusiast here to share my favorite travel tips with you! My goal is to inspire others to get out and explore this wild planet by camping, hiking, or wandering around a fun new city!

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  • Georgina D'Angelo

Top 11 Dishes: Famous Food in Chicago

Chicago Hotdog - by bhofack2 from Getty Images

Are you stuck wondering, “what food is Chicago known for?” Good news foodies, this city is full to the brim with delicious traditional Chicago food as well as international cuisine.

Wander the streets of Chicago admiring famous buildings and fun activities, with plenty of meal breaks in between. There are so many great foods to eat in Chicago, the list could be endless.

But if you’re visiting Chicago for the first time, the following famous food in Chicago should be at the top of your list. After living in Chicago for three years, I tried many different foods, including the most traditional ones. And they don’t disappoint.

Fully immerse yourself into the Chicago foodie culture and indulge in these dishes. It’s time to explore Chicago via taste buds and see what this city has to offer!

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Chicago Foodies Quick Links:

Try traditional Chicago food and explore the city's famous landmarks on these guided food tours in Chicago. Click the hyperlink to check tour availability.

Famous Food in Chicago

Deep Dish Pizza from Lou Malnati’s

When it comes to traditional Chicago food, deep dish pizza tops the list. This Windy City specialty cannot be missed while you’re visiting. Just like its name suggests, deep dish pizza is thick with a heaping layer of cheese, tomato sauce, and whatever other toppings you’d like. 

There are many places to eat deep dish pizza in Chicago, but the best is Lou Malnati’s. Try to make a reservation as they are generally busy for lunch and dinner, especially on the weekends. And be prepared to wait for your pizza; they’re made fresh after all. 

Book a classic Chicago food tour here and try deep dish pizza!

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Chicago Style Hot Dogs

No one does hot dogs like Chicagoans. If you’ve never had a Chicago hot dog before, what better place to try one than in the Windy City itself. 

What makes this traditional Chicago food special? This all-beef hot dog is on a steamed poppy seed bun and topped with yellow mustard, tomato slices, white onions, a dill pickle, sweet pickle relish, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt. Are you drooling yet?

Grab a Chicago style hot dog from Devil Dawgs, Weiner’s Circle, or Portillo’s.

Italian Beef Sandwich

It wouldn’t be a complete visit to Chicago without an Italian beef sandwich or two. This dish is a Chicago original despite its name suggesting otherwise.

Try this french bread sandwich stuffed with thinly sliced roast beef and au jus sauce at Al’s #1 Italian Beef, Tony’s Italian Beef, Johnnie’s Beef, or Ferro’s.

Book a classic Chicago food tour here!

Italian beef sandwich - by grandriver from Getty Images Signature

Cinnamon Rolls from Ann Sather’s

Looking for a sweet traditional Chicago food? Indulge in Swedish cinnamon rolls at the iconic Ann Sather’s. I recommend planning to stop here for breakfast at least once while you're exploring Chicago

Make sure you arrive early! Not only are the famous cinnamon rolls delicious, but their entire breakfast menu is the perfect way to fill up before you hit the ground running to see as much of Chicago as possible. 

Chicago Popcorn from Garrett’s

When it comes to food Chicago is known for, popcorn might not be what comes to mind. However, it’s a must try and I’ll tell you why.

The perfect mix of cheesy popcorn with sweet, caramel kernels makes the most addicting popcorn combo you’ve ever had. Stop by Garrett Popcorn Shops to pick up a bag of this traditional Chicago food. 

Snack on it as you wander through the city or try your best to save it for when you get home. No matter when you eat it, you do not want to miss this sweet treat.

Chicago Popcorn - bhofack2 from Getty Images

More Must-Try Foods in Chicago

Not only do the above make for the best food Chicago is known for, but the city's entire culinary scene is mouthwatering.

With some of the best international cuisines available in the US, Chicago is also known for its Greek, Italian, Spanish, and Polish food. You really can't go wrong when dining in Chicago.

I highly recommend a visit to one of Chicago's best food halls so you can try a plethora of locally made dishes. My top pick is Time Out Market, and I've heard rave reviews about Chicago French Market.


A traditional Polish dish, pierogies are stuffed dumplings, often with potato, cheese or meat. They’re found in many Chicago restaurants as there’s a heavy Polish influence on food in the city. 

You can get the best pierogies in Chicago at Staropolska, Pierogi Kitchen, and Podhalanka.

Pierogis - by titoslack from Getty Images Signature


Chicago has some of the best Eastern European bakeries with a variety of tasty pastries. One you cannot miss is the kolach!

These sweet pastries hold a dollop of fruit or cheese filling and they make for a delicious breakfast or snack any time of day. Head to Lutz Bakery, Roeser’s Bakery, or Shokolad Pastry & Cafe. 

Italian Ice

Pair an Italian ice with your Italian beef sandwich when in Chicago! This dessert is best enjoyed in the summer sun, but no matter when you’re visiting Chicago I recommend grabbing one.

The best Italian ice can be found at Annette’s Italian Ice and Mario’s Italian Lemonade.

Italian Ice


As a college student and college graduate living in Chicago, I was always looking for delicious and cheap food. One of my favorites is empanadas, another food that Chicago gets right time and time again.

With a variety of empanada choices, my top pick is 5411 Empanadas | Southport. It’s in a quaint neighborhood in Chicago so it’s perfect for lunch or dinner, and they honestly have something for everyone.

There are multiple locations of 5411 Empanadas so you can pick the closest one and enjoy.

Donuts from Firecakes

There are a surprising amount of donut shops in Chicago, which makes this morning treat a must-try. While you can’t go wrong with coffee and a donut from the iconic Stan’s Donuts & Coffee (exactly as the name says), there’s one place I highly recommend getting donuts from in Chicago.

Firecakes offers traditional yeast and cake donuts, but they also have a variety of unique flavors. If you’re a donut lover, it’s going to be very hard to resist trying one of everything. But trust me, go try Firecakes donuts.

Book a Chicago donut tour here, it includes a stop at Firecakes!

Firecakes Donut - Famous Food in Chicago

Greek Cuisine

Another delicious cuisine to try in Chicago is Greek food. With places like Athena, Greek Islands, and YaYa Mas, you can indulge in gyros, tzatziki, moussaka and more while in Chicago.

Best Food Tours in Chicago

If you're short on time or just enjoy guided tours when traveling, check out the best food tours in Chicago and find one to fit into your Windy City itinerary.

With local guides to share their knowledge and a variety of delicious tastings, a food tour is a great way to explore Chicago! Here are the best food tours in Chicago; they're highly rated for a reason!

Chicago Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours

  • About 3 hours long

  • Small groups (private tours available)

  • Try classics like Italian beef sandwiches and a secret dish!

  • Check Tour Availability Here

Chicago Favorites Ultimate Food and Walking Tour

  • About 3 hours long

  • Stroll through Downtown and admire Chicago landmarks like Millennium Park

  • Includes traditional Chicago food tastings like pizza and hotdogs

  • Tour price includes a bike or kayak rental

  • Check Tour Availability Here

Bikes, Bites, and Brews Biking Tour

  • A city bike tour with food stops!

  • About 4.5 hours long

  • Includes traditional Chicago food tastings like hotdogs, as well as beer

  • Check Tour Availability Here

Chicago's Delicious Donut Adventure Tour

Chicago river and city view

More Helpful Chicago Travel Guides

Make the most of your time in the Windy City! Check out unmissable restaurants and admire the top sights and things to do. Recharge at local coffee shops, learn how to get around like a local, and find the best place to stay. If you’re comfortable and ready to explore, you’ll be able to try more famous food in Chicago.

Try Traditional Chicago Food

When it comes to food, Chicago knows what’s up. This Midwestern city is a foodie capital not to be missed. Devour the best food Chicago is known for and try an array of international cuisines.

As you admire the urban beauty of the city, complete your trip with a stuffed stomach. Seriously, you’ll want to try everything. And top it all off with a sundae from Margie’s Candies! 

Make sure you try a Chicago style hot dog, deep dish pizza, an Italian beef sandwich, Swedish cinnamon rolls, and Garrett’s Chicago popcorn.

Now you know what famous food in Chicago is unmissable, so grab a bib and your wallet, hop on the “L” and experience the flavorful landscape of the Windy City.

Foodies and Chicago lovers, these guides are for you…

Famous Food in Chicago - Alpacka My Bags Pinterest Cover


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Hi, I'm Georgina, adventure enthusiast and creator of Alpacka My Bags. I'm here for all of your travel and adventure planning needs! 


I've been exploring this beautiful planet since I was a child, so I decided it was time to share my travel tips with others to enjoy. After college, I knew the "traditional career path" was not for me.


I needed to travel and explore what this world has to offer. It sounds cliché but you do only live once. So I made going on adventures a priority, and soon realized that I wanted to share them with others so you can enjoy them too! 

My passion is spreading the travel bug and showing others that travel is attainable and so worth it. From itineraries to camping tips to packing lists, Alpacka My Bags has you covered!

Join me, and often my partner and my dog, as we find exciting adventures and travel recommendations for you! If you've been bit by the travel bug just as I have, I hope you find my tips useful for all of your future travels.

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