Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago

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Where to Eat in Chicago
Where to eat in Chicago?

No trip to Chicago is complete if you are not going for any of the famous food tours in this vibrant city. Chicago – The Windy City is also known as the Foodie city and has invented or innovated five famous dishes in the world. This city loves to eat and drink and therefore you would love its vibrant culinary scene too. From savory to sweet, world-famous Chicago style deep dish pizza or Chicago hot dog there are many dishes to satisfy your taste buds. So in this post, let’s explore this windy city through its culinary delights and unveil some of the secrets of ages-old family recipes. Not only you will taste the world’s best food during this food tour, but you will all walk through the enchanting neighborhoods and beautiful alleys across the city. So let’s read my experience or reviews of Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago with Chicago Food Planet.

Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago
Exploring Famous food of Chicago

Note: I was hosted by Chicago Food Planet for three hours food tour, but views and opinions are my own, not influenced by anyone.

Where to Eat in Chicago? | Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago 

Overview of Chicago Food Planet

Rated as best food tour by Lonely Planet and also recommended by USA Today & Bon Appetit, this food to also among the top three food tour in Chicago by Trip Advisor.

Tours offered by Chicago Food Planet

  • Best in Chow Food Tour – Focusing on all 4 iconic Chicago style signature dishes in the popular Downtown neighborhoods.
  • Navy Pier Signature Food Tour – Focusing on iconic Chicago style dishes at the landmark location.
  • Gateway to the West Loop Food Tour – Focusing on food created by master chefs in the hottie food neighborhood.
  • Second City Classic Food Tour – Focusing on specialty food shops.
  • The Chinatown Adventure Food Tour – Focusing on Chinese cuisine.
Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago
Gourmet Chicago style Popcorn

As I was on my first trip to Chicago, I selected to go for their classic Best in Chow Food Tour so that I can have tastings of all four iconic dishes which are invented by this city. During this tour, I also got interesting information about how these dishes were created.

Highlights of Best in Chow Food Tour

  • This tour is a walking tour and takes around 3 hours across five different restaurants for tastings.
  • The tour starts at 11:00 A.M. daily
  • Vegetarians can also select this tour as you can have the same food with vegetarian customization.
  • You will be accompanied by an expert guide who has deep knowledge of food, history behind the food, Chicago history and with knowledge of the whole city and its tourist attractions. You will get quite informative knowledge of Chicago during this walking food tour. I was accompanied by Mr. Mark a very fun loving and humble person. He promised us to keep us occupy with three “EEE’s” – Eat – Entertainment and Education during these all 3 hours.

    Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago
    Our Guide – Mr. Mark
  • You can also book private group food tours.
  • This walking tour passes along the beautiful main streets of Downtown in Chicago. You cross Michigan Avenue, stroll across Magnificent Mile while having the glimpse of historic Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and Chicago Water Tower
  • The cost of this walking tour is 60 USD per Adult and 35 USD per children ( 12 and under). You can include +2 drink pairings with 76USD per Adult (age 21+ for this option).

So let’s join Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago and take the privilege of VIP access to famous places to eat in Chicago.

I with my family and other group member met Mr. Mark at Lou Malnati’s which was our first stop at perfect 11:00 A.M.

FIRST STOP – LOU MALNATI’S

Famous For – Chicago style Deep Dish Pizza

deep dish pizza at Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago

Overview of Lou Malnati’s – A famous pizzeria chain which was founded by Lou Malnati son of Rudy Malnati and they both came up with a very innovative concept of deep style pizza. This deep-dish pizza is very unique and you can relate it similar to savory cheesy tomato sauce pie.

Why Lou Malnati’s Deep-dish Pizza is special?

The making of Pizza combines the technique of pie with ingredients of pizza and therefore you get crispy and crusty pizza.

Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago
Reverse order layering of deep dish crusty pizza

Recipe of Deep-Dish pizza – Pizza dough is rolled first and then laid on the bottom of deep Pizza pan but with its sides raised to the rim of the pan.  The basic ingredients of pizza like cheese, tomato sauce and seasonings are placed on it but in reverse order. Like in normal Pizza, after the dough layering, the sauce is placed and then the cheese/toppings but in deep dish pizza after the dough layer, mozzarella cheese sticks are places on it and then followed by tomato sauce. The whole idea to reverse the layering is not to make the dough soggy by putting the sauce directly on it. So to maintain the crispiness of the crust, from all sides, cheese is first layered which prevents the moisture of sauce to enter inside the bread. I loved this innovative idea.

Décor of Lou Malnati’s – Very rustic brick-walled interiors. Option to seat outside is also there. On the ground floor, you have a bar too. As Chicago is famous for five professional level sports, so you can see the walls are adorned by sports accessories or equipment. Looks like a rustic sports café or sports restaurant.

After having deep dish pizza I was feeling like full as Deep-dish crust pizza is very filling and a normal person can eat about 2 to 3 slices that too on empty stomach. Or else one slice is enough for making you full.

After having a great meal here, we had a long walk across the river and while walking we had a talk with Mark regarding why this river flows backward and how they have created this kind of backward reversal to prevent the factory dumping polluting the river. I loved to know some very unique side of Chicago which not many people know about it while walking and talking with Mark. Now after this we reached to our second stop.

Architecture River Cruise in Chicago

SECOND STOP – Al’s RESTAURANT

Famous for – Bun sandwiches with special fillings

Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago

Overview of Al’s Restaurant – It was founded by Chris Pacelli in 1938 and firstly it was a home-based outlet from which Al and his family used to sell sandwiches.  But as popularity of their sandwiches grew, they started with a humble stand and then followed by many chains all over the city. 

Décor of Al’s Restaurant – A very casual type and generally the seating is sleek which allows you to have some quick bites.

Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago

This restaurant is popular for beef sandwiches but as I don’t eat beef, the whole sandwich was customized for me and I got the delicious veggie sandwich roll.

After having some quick bites from here then our group proceeded to third stop. While going to our 3rd stop, we crossed many beautiful streets near State street and got chance to capture some of the beautiful murals or street art. Also we were able to see mix of modern and historic architecture in between. Here again Mark explained how Chicago got its name and some interesting story behind the Trader’s building. So during our walking to next stop, we all used to get some new and unique fact about Chicago.

THIRD STOP – PORTILLO’S HOT DOG

Famous for – Chicago style Hot Dog.

Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago

Overview of Portillo’s Hot Dog – Founded by Dick Portillo with his broth Frank in 1963 with some twist given to normal hot dog ingredients. They started with a simple stand and now have many chains across the USA.

Why Portillo’s Hot Dogs are special from other hot dogs?

The poppy seeded buns which are also freshly home-baked are loaded with pickled and fresh veggies instead of ketchup and sausages for non-vegetarians. According to Portillo’s the filling of hot dogs are the fresh and whole seven main ingredients of ketchup. So instead of loading the hot dog with ketchup they have brought the new concept of assembling the ingredients of ketchup in the hot dog. So it really gives a very fresh taste with all those veggies.

Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago
With my veggie Chicago style hot dog

Décor of Portillo’s – Rustic and authentic old-style restaurant décor. Due to Dick Portillo’s love for history, the restaurant is adorned with memorabilia from the ‘20s, ’30s and so on. As they started with a trailer you can also see model of trailer hanging from above. The whole atmosphere is like a fair.

Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago
Funky and historic decor of Portillo’s

After having a delicious meal at Portillo’s we proceeded to our fourth stop which has mix of savory and sweet food tasting.

FOURTH STOP – GARRETT POPCORN

Famous for – Sweet and savory Popcorns

Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago

Overview of Garrett Popcorn – The world-famous Chicago style popcorn which is known for its unique taste and flavors. So if you are in Chicago, then having some popcorns at world-famous Garrett would be a great thing to do here.  This special tasted popcorn recipe was born out of family competition at Garrett’s home in Milwaukee. Garrett started his first shop in Chicago to sell his signature style popcorn from 1949. 

Why Garrett’s popcorns are famous or unique?

They are made from finest corn kernels and are handcrafted. A small batch of corn kernels is popped to preserve its freshness. These corn kernels are coated with special flavored coatings which are the secret of Garrett family and then popped into old-fashioned copper kettles.  Generally Garrett serves the combination of sweet and savory flavors of Caramel Crisp and Cheese Corn. Though they mix 50:50 proportion but you can always customize the proportions according to your taste preferences.

Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago
Garrett’s Popcorn Bar

Décor of Garrett’s – Like a Candy shop this shop is full of popcorn and even you can see huge popcorn sculpture hanging from the roof. Even from a few meters before this shop you can smell the popcorn flavors.

Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago
Inside Garrett’s

The popcorn of Garrett’s really tasted awesome and I have never tasted such delicious popcorn.

After having this sweet treat we now proceeded to fifth stop which was last sweet ending.

FIFTH STOP – COPPER FOX

Famous for – Variation of American food

Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago

Overview of Copper Fox – Copper Fox is known for their master chef Cortney’s passion for variation of comfort foods. Because of these variations you get a creative twist to modern American cuisine.

Why Copper Fox is unique?

Chef’s Cortney’s passion for food and his innovation or creative twists will always surprise you.

Décor of Copper Fox – Modern and sleek with any style of high and couch style of seating.

Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago
Inside Copper Fox

We had Chocolate Brownie with awesome flavor and taste of chocolate.

So we had a beautiful sweet ending to this informative and delicious food tour. 

MY FINAL REVIEWS ON CHICAGO FOOD TOUR

  • I enjoyed a lot during whole tour because I tasted some unique food which is derived from signature family recipes.
  • Also, this tour was very informative because our guide Mark has told many unique facts about Chicago and also the food recipes.
  • Being a vegetarian this tour accommodated me very well by customizing many foods with a vegetarian option.
  • I walked along the beautiful neighborhoods during this tour and also made some new friends with the group mates.
Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago
With my guide – Mark at Chicago Food Planet

I hope, you enjoyed this virtual tour of iconic Chicago foods at beautiful streets of Chicago city. 

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Best Chicago Food Tours – Taste Famous Food Of Chicago

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88 Comments

      1. I spent just a day in Chicago, which was about 10 years ago. The only thing I remember eating was the Chicago hotdog. This post makes me want to go back and try a food tour, too!

      2. Yukti, I have never been to Chicago before but have only heard about it’s stories from my husband. After reading about your food tour, I just want to try the Deep Dish pizza so much.

  1. This look so delicious I’m glad they were able to customize it for vegetarians! I’ve always wanted to try deep dish pizza!! However, the caramel popcorn sounds scrumptious too. Great to know there are so many traditional options that can be veggie-ized!

    1. Yes Summer, I too got surprised that many of traditional dishes can be veggie-ized and being a vegetarian I too enjoyed this food tour.

  2. Oh this post makes me want to go back to Chicago for some deep dish pizza! I never thought of doing a food tour there, but it looks like an awesome idea. The caramel popcorn sounds amazing too! I always stick to the traditional flavor, I need to branch out!

  3. This is a great list for food tours in Chicago! I have never done a food tour but have always wanted to. I think I would definitely need to check out that deep dish pizza. I’ve been to Chicago once but didn’t try the pizza. I guess I need to go back!

  4. The Pizza on the picture looks delicious! Sometimes the plain food is also delicious, depend on how the food is made, where to eat, and of course the mood when you are eating. And, I like pizza as well. Thanks for introducing the place to us.

  5. I can’t believe I have never done a food tour in Chicago before. I go to Chicago often and love taking food tours around the world. I’m definitely adding this on to my list for my next visit. I think I would do the Second City Classic Food Tour because I have been to a lot of the classic places already. I went to Lou Malnati’s on one of my last visits.

  6. I had no idea that popcorn was a Chicago specialty. All in all though, I love a good food tour. It’s such a great way to get to talk with a local and get to know a city.

    1. Yes as Illinois has many corn fields, I guess they have the best corn kernels. So Chicago has developed this special coated popcorns which are world famous too. I too loved talking with local a very iteresting way to explore a city.

  7. This made me so hungry! I loved this post about Chicago, I have only been once, but sadly I did not get any pizza when I was there. The pizza looked so yummy! Glad y’all had fun!

  8. I love the concept of a food tour. Tons of places to try, without spending an arm and a leg. And you get all the fun details behind the different restaurants too! I know my city offers one of these, but I’ve never been on it. I gotta do that, and then head to Chicago!

    1. Yes food tours are always a great thing to experience a city as you know the hidden secrets of some signature recipes with history of city. Also they are affordable too.

  9. A food tour in Chicago sounds like a really good idea. I have to confess I have never ever been on one – mainly because I only eat white meat. So its really good to know that they can make vege options too. I particularly liked the Garrett’s popcorn customization options! That would be cool..

    1. Yes Adele, this food tour is worth and even I too loved Garrett’s popcorn and even I could find same Garrett’s in many parts of the world too.

  10. I love doing food tours in new places to try out the delicacies, but I have to say I never thought of doing a food tour in America. Their dishes don’t exactly leave me inspired – a little heavier, but not enthused to embrace American cuisine Maybe you’re right, maybe I need to try a food tour and really understand it better.

    1. I too thought same way Paul, but as some of these dishes are born in Chicago, that is why this food tour of Chicago is worth. I hope you will change your perception after doing this tour.

  11. Chicago and Chicago food tours is such a good mix. While during my holidays in Chicago I was so amazed by the diversity of food there. I gotta be honest Chicago has some of the best brownies and deep dish pizza I had in the states. But sadly I haven’t been to any of the places you mentioned 🙂

    1. I too agree this city has best pizzas that too with unique innovations. Next time you go to my places and I am hopeful you would love it.

  12. I love these kinds of food tours! I probably would select a different tour, as I have already eaten at 4/5 restaurants in your tour, because they are so famous/not-to-miss spots in Chicago. It looks like I need to try out the Copper Fox, and maybe try one of the other tours for my next visit.

    1. Hey Jennifer, good to know that you have tried 4 out 5 eat outs in this post. Also this food tour provides another food tours which may interest you.

  13. I love this post so much, I’ve pinned it! I’ve been dying to get to Chicago for a while now and I think it’s going to be happening next year. I love taking food tours, especially ones that highlight a location’s history. Chicago is definitely the place to go for pizza and popcorn! I love the interior of Portillo’s. It looks so nostalgic and wouldn’t be out of place at Disney World’s Epcot. That’s so cool that they had enough vegetarian options so you didn’t feel left out.

    1. Yes Rachelle, this trips is amazing, though I never thought it. Portello’s interior is really appealing as if like a theme park or some ancient style fairs. I too felt very surprised that they have substitution for vegetarians. Thanks for finding this post useful.

  14. I’m glad you had a good time in Chicago and were able to get vegetarian versions of all the most famous foods in Chicago. I’ve lived in Chicago for the last 8 years and have never been on a food tour, so good for you for getting on one while visiting! I love the west loop neighborhood for food and would love to go on their food tour of that neighborhood.

    1. Wow good to know that you lived in Chicago for 8 years and must have tasted all their famous foods. Good to know that west loop neighborhood is famous for foodies. Will go for it next time. Thanks!

  15. This was very interesting! I have visited Chicago couple of times, but I never really got into the local specialities in their food scene. I know the deep dish pizza of course, but that hot dog for example, I have never heard about it. Next time I visit I will consider this kind of a food tour for sure!

  16. This article truly makes me hungry. All the food looks delicious and I would love visit some of the places next time I’m in Chicago. Thank you for sharing this experience!

  17. Though I love to try local specialities, more often than not, I hunt it myself than taking a food tour, coz almost none of those are veggie friendly. Chicago Food Planet’s tours look good. I’m incredibly happy to know that this tour is customized for vegetarians as well. Its so unusual!!!! Hot dogs with pickled and fresh veggies???? I need to taste that, right now…. I need to eat it atleast once in my life. Haha… 50-50% of salted and caramalized popcorns? I can imagine how delicious it would be. I’ve had a similar one in London and I’ll never forget that and I’ve never eaten one like that ever before or after!

    1. Yes Bhushavali, if some food tours give the option for substituting it with veggie option, then I guess all vegetarians would also take food tour. This food tour is great as it also goes through historical Chicago and tells us the ups and downs through which city passed.

  18. I did not know that Chicago is a foodie city but that sounds wonderful! I’d love to try the Chicago style deep dish pizza and the hot dog as well. Good to know that its a great option for vegetarians as well because they have enough options. the gourmet popcorn looks so yummy! 3 hours, 5 restaurants with a guide sounds like my kind of thing to do, yet I’ve never taken a food tour in my life! You seem to have really enjoyed the experience Yukti, I’d definitely try this out when I’m in Chicago.

    1. Yes this experience for me was very memorable as to find out some hidden secrets of Chicago and that too with a entertaining guide for 3 hours.
      Thanks for reading through.

  19. I want to try EVERYTHING on this post! It all looks so yummy. I also love doing food tours over the pond (I am from the UK) but never been to Chicago, so I think its time to hit up the place.

  20. I love to do tours whenever I visit a city for more than a few days, but I especially love to to food tours! Chicago is such a great food city with so much to try!

  21. This is making me hungry! I’m actually vegan and last time I was in Chicago we stopped at a few amazing vegan restaurants but I would love go back and try and recreate this but veganized. I’m missing deep dish mac and cheese pizza right now. It was so good!

  22. Chicago Food Planet seems to be an excellent choice if one wants to avail a food safari. The Navy Pier Food Tour seems like a very interesting option too, apart from the one you took. The deep dish pizza has always been a favorite, but I dont think I have had a sweet and savory popcorn anywhere else, would love to try that out. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Mohana you would love these popcorn as I too never had such amazing flavors. Barrett’s outlet is in Dubai too, and now I now where to go when I crave for delicious gourmet popcorns

  23. It was interesting to learn about the deep dish pizza. I had no idea they reversed the layering and retaining crust crispiness by putting cheese first. That gives deep dish pizza a whole new meaning for me.

  24. Reading this made me incredibly hungry. There is much more to the Chicago food scene than I was aware of. I think I’ve only been to Lou Malnati’s, but I LOVED it and am dreaming about the day that I’m back in the Windy City to have another bite. The veggie sandwich roll from Al’s Restaurant also looks delicious! I know you mentioned you don’t eat beef, but another place that deserves mention (in my humble opinion) is Au Cheval. Their burgers are amazing and sometimes the wait for a table can be like five or six hours!

  25. Oh, Lou Malnati’s! My first stop on any trip to Chicago. And as amazing as their butter crust deep dish Chicago style pizza is, they have a salad I love EVEN more. Yum!

  26. That looks so fun! I love a good food tour. I’ve always wanted to try a Portrillo’s hot dog on the seeded buns. Garrett’s popcorn also is a big hit with my family. I haven’t eaten deep dish Chicago pizza in years! Thanks for the great review and photos.

  27. I’ll never forget my first and only trip to Chicago. Being from New Orleans the only thing I had ever had on a hot dog was chili and mustard. I got one of those Chicago dogs with the cucumbers, lil peppers, tomatoes, etc. It was great! Changed my life!

  28. Joining a Chicago food tour is an excellent idea for a deeper knowledge of the food and the city itself! You eat some and then you walk some while a guide explain you interesting facts about the food you taste and the places you pass by! For me that is a perfect day to start my first day in a new city!
    Everything looks so delicious and I would also go with Best in Chow Food tour! I am dying to taste those salty and sweet popcorn!

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