The Best Italian Beef Sandwiches in IL

Chicago Food King

Illinois is not only known for its stunning architecture and deep-rooted history but also for its culinary delights. One dish that stands out in the realm of comfort food is the iconic Italian beef sandwich. Here, we explore some of the best places in Illinois to indulge in this delectable delight.

1. **Al’s Italian Beef - Chicago:**
Al’s Italian Beef, a Chicago institution since 1938, is renowned for its mouthwatering Italian beef sandwiches. The succulent, thinly sliced beef is seasoned to perfection and served on chewy Italian bread. Don't forget to ask for it "dipped" in their red-colored juice for an extra burst of flavor.

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2. **Johnnie’s Beef - Elmwood Park:**
Located in Elmwood Park, Johnnie’s Beef has been satisfying locals with its signature beef sandwiches for decades. The secret lies in their perfectly seasoned, slow-cooked beef, and the optional addition of sweet or hot peppers add an extra kick to the experience. Many consider Johnnies the King of Italian Beefs in Illinois.

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3. **Mr. Beef - River North:**
Mr. Beef takes pride in its commitment to quality ingredients. The beef is slow-roasted, ensuring tenderness and flavor. The sandwiches are generously packed, offering a hearty and satisfying meal for beef enthusiasts. Side note check out the show "The Bear" on Hulu where this location is used.

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4. **Buona Beef - Multiple Locations:**
With multiple locations across the state, Buona Beef has become a household name for beef aficionados. Their classic Italian beef sandwiches are a symphony of flavors, with the option to customize the level of spice and the choice of sweet or hot peppers.

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5. **Portillo’s - Various Locations:**
No list of beef sandwiches in Illinois would be complete without mentioning Portillo’s. This beloved chain has achieved legendary status for its Chicago-style hot dogs, but their Italian beef sandwiches are equally exceptional. The juicy beef, combined with the perfect blend of spices, makes it a must-try.

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6. **Jay’s Beef - Harwood Heights:**
Jay’s Beef in Harwood Heights is a hidden gem that locals swear by. The beef is tender, the seasoning is spot-on, and the rolls are baked to perfection. The Giardiniera is also unique, This is a favorite spot for those seeking an authentic beef sandwich experience.

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7. **Luke’s on Harlem - Chicago:**
Luke’s on Harlem is a family-owned establishment that takes pride in its tradition of serving high-quality beef sandwiches. The beef is slow-cooked to perfection, ensuring a melt-in-your-mouth experience that keeps customers coming back for more.

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In conclusion, the best beef sandwiches in Illinois are not just meals; they're experiences that celebrate the rich culinary heritage of the state. Whether you prefer it dipped, with sweet peppers, or loaded with hot peppers for an extra kick, Illinois has a beef sandwich for every palate. So, the next time you find yourself in the Land of Lincoln, be sure to savor the unbeatable pleasure of a classic Italian beef sandwich.


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Food Blogger, Food Photographer, Restaurant Reviewer. Follow Me on Instagram under ChicagoFoodKing. Also, Check out and follow my BRAND NEW YOUTUBE CHANNEL Link in bio

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