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.
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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
SECOND STOP – Al’s RESTAURANT
Famous for – Bun sandwiches with special fillings
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
I hope, you enjoyed this virtual tour of iconic Chicago foods at beautiful streets of Chicago city. You can also check top 5 kid friendly restaurants in Downtown Chicago.
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