Steak & Pizza: We love Chicago
Is there any food out there that screams Chicago more than steaks and pizza? Ask anyone across this great nation about the headquarters for either one and Chicago is guaranteed to come up. Steakhouses have been great in the City of Big Shoulders for years, and some of the old guard is being challenged by some new up-and-comers. And as far as pizza is concerned, well, Chicago started an entire new trend with deep dish pizza. Some will tell you that’s the only way to eat pizza. After all, the original phrase was pizza pie, and a pie isn’t paper thin with a few toppings just scattered on it. We have some iconic pizza spots and others that fly under the radar. All will make your mouth water at the mere mention of their names. Jump in and check out what we rank as some of the places that help make Chicago great.
218 W. Kinzie St. 312-624-8154; http://bavettessteakhouse.com/
There’s no way to exaggerate how good the steak at Bavette’s is. You can go on and on about it, and you still won’t do it justice. Have you ever had a 22-ounce bone-in ribeye that has been dry-aged for 42 days? If you consider yourself a steak aficionado, or even a red meat connoisseur, then this is a place to put on your list. An excellent cut of meat with fat that melts along the bone into perfectly marbleized meat is their calling card. The side dishes; baked potatoes, creamed spinach, caramelized onions…even a hint of blue cheese, are all done with the same amount of care and attention to detail you would expect from place that ranks #1 on our list. Care to enjoy your steak in a dimly lit, incredibly plush atmosphere? Bavette’s seating is private and luxurious. Take a date here for the ultimate experience.
Swift & Sons
1000 W. Fulton Market 312-733-9420; https://www.swiftandsonschicago.com/
Swift & Sons is a steakhouse in every sense of the world. They don’t just serve high quality food, and it’s not just prepared to perfection. They found a way to make the dining experience itself next level. The staff is incredibly well educated and uncompromising in their service. It doesn’t matter if they are guiding you through the process of how the Kansas City Strip is cooked, or how the Orchard Square (an amazing cocktail) is made, they do it all with a great attention to detail. The finishing touch for the evening is, believe it or not, magic. Swift & Sons gives you the option of having a magician come to your table and perform magic while you eat. A small display that takes about 20 minutes…that will have you rethinking physics. Turns out, as told by one such magician, restaurant magic started in Chicago. I guess that’s just one more thing we can put on our resume!
Benny’s Chop House
444 N. Wabash Ave. 312-626-2444; http://www.bennyschophouse.com/
Benny’s has been a name steakhouse in Chicago for years, and they’re not going anywhere. A few Chicago publications have taken them off of their top 10 lists in recent years, but that may have more to do with wanting to highlight something new vs a true ranking. Benny’s is located in River North and unlike some of the other famous places, this one is more than just a place to eat. When you get there the first thing on your mind should be ordering a drink…because drinks go great with live Jazz. Benny’s does traditional steaks at an incredibly high level, but they do more than that. Had your fill of dry-aged, perfectly marbleized rib-eyes for the time being, never fear, order the Japanese Tajima Kobe Beef and trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Home Run Inn
Multiple locations; https://www.homeruninnpizza.com/
Home Run Inn pizza is a Chicago staple. Made fresh daily on a crust that sets itself apart, this pizza has endeared itself in the heart of every Chicagoan. One way they set themselves apart from most pizza places in Chicago is the lack of a deep-dish option. But they don’t care about that. They subscribe to a simple philosophy, they do what they do and they do it well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
They got their name when a home run from a nearby baseball game came crashing through the front window. Awesome pizza served in a tavern with baseball played down the street, it’s hard to get more Chicago than that.
Multiple locations; https://www.giordanos.com/
Giordano’s doesn’t just serve deep-dish pizza, they stuff it as well. When you leave here you’re going to feel the weight of what they make, whether it’s because you ordered carry out or ate it there. The story of Giordano’s is a classic immigrant tale. Two brothers, Efren and Joseph Boglio, were born in Italy and eventually made their way to America. They had a love of food, and pizza, because of their mother and started out in the pizza making business. In true entrepreneur fashion it didn’t take them long to realize that they could do it better than anyone else. They quickly branched out on their own and Giordano’s was born. Giordano’s lays claim to the creation of the stuffed pizza, but it is under dispute by Nancy’s Pizza, who also served it in the same year. While we can’t claim to say who is right, we know one thing, even if they didn’t create it, they sure do it well.
Multiple locations; https://www.loumalnatis.com/
Is Lou Malnati’s the best deep-dish pizza in the city, maybe. But one thing is for sure, you can’t talk about deep-dish greatness without mentioning their name. They have a cooking style that is all their own due to the way they add the pork to their pizza. Featured on numerous cooking and food shows over the years, Lou Malnati’s uses pork that is very low in fat. This allows them to add it to the pizza while the crust is till raw, in a pan with no holes. Normally, that would result in a soggy crust as the fat from the pork cooked out and drenched the crust. Who wants soggy pizza…sounds disgusting. But because they use pork that is so lean, just enough fat seeps out during the process to blend into the crust and help marry the flavors together. It results in an incredibly flavorful and crispy curst that holds up perfectly to the immense amount of topping and sauce that are packed on top. This place is a game-changer.
161 N Sangamon St. 312-243-4016; https://bonciusa.com/
Chicago has its share of pizza parlors that set it apart, just a few of which are mentioned above, and Bonci is quickly setting itself apart from all of them. While Chicago-style pizza is typically viewed as deep-dish, Bonci came here with a completely different style. It takes a lot of guts to do that in a city where people are quick to dismiss and ridicule that which is different, but founder Gabriele Bonci doesn’t shy away from a challenge. Bonci started in Rome, Italy and built up its reputation there. She took one look at Chicago and knew that there was a future there for her already world-class pizza. Customers in Europe wait in long lines to enjoy Bonci’s Roman-style pizza al taglio, sliced up with scissors and sold by the weight, and now Chicagoans do too. One reason you can’t stop going back; the toppings always change. Bonci subscribes to the philosophy that the only thing constant in life, and pizza is change. Get a little taste from across the Atlantic when you step inside. It’s a change of pace that you’ll be glad you took.