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Jan 19, 2004 12:54 AM

Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwich in Los Angeles?

  • j

I only know of one place to get this in the L.A. area, and that's Joe Mantegna's restaurant, Taste Chicago in Burbank. Can any of you hounds name another location in L.A. to get a true, Chicago-style Italian Beef?

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  1. ARGH...I was on my way home to OC from Santa Clarita last night and took a detour through Burbank to stop by Taste there at 9:10PM and they closed at 9:00! Maybe next time.

    Since Giorgio's of Chicago closed 18 months ago, there hasn't been much...but 2 that are on my list to try that I have heard good things about, both in the hinterlands of the Inland Empire, are Windy C's in Upland and Anthony's Chicago Style in Redlands. The other place that I can definately vouch for
    is up the coast a ways in Grover Beach (near Pismo Beach between Santa Maria and SLO) and is called Taste of Chicago. Got a beef to go last summer and was 50 miles away when I was eating realizing I wanted more!

    Another place I tried once was Mustard's in Los Alamitos. Nice Chicago place and good sandwiches but the italian beef was not quite the real thing.

    4 Replies
    1. re: RSMBob

      I am hooked on Italian Beef Sandwiches. I tried the sandwich at Taste of Chicago. Not impressed at all. The beef was greasy and not at all flavorful.. The jus that the beef was dipped in had a funny aftertaste, as if they had added too much all spice or other spice that didn't work. We sat outside on a chilly day and asked that the patio curtains be left closed. Of course, they were raised immediately. Mr. Montagna was there that day - sped in driving his big Mercedes and left soon after in a huff. My husband happened to be going through the door at the same time as Mr. M., and held the door for him. Nasty attitude is what he received. Not impressed - will not be going back.

      1. re: RSMBob

        Here's a link to Windy C's

        Since I will be in the area this weekend, I'm going to stop by and try this place.


        1. re: RSMBob

          On my way back from Riverside today, I decided to drop by Windy C in Upland. I got there around 12:30 and there was one person there. Not a good sign IMO. I got the Italian beef sandwich and a Comiskey dog.

          The hot dog must have been left over from the night before. It was like those hot dogs that keep cooking for hours on the grill at 7-11.

          The beef sandwich had a very soggy bun and the beef was very tough and seemed to be left over from the night before.

          Very expensive and the service is terrible. The guy today was a jerk.

          I should have followed my instincts and left since there were only two people in the place at lunch hour.

          Anyways I'm going back to Chicago for a wedding in June, so I'll get my Italian beef fix there.

          1. re: RSMBob

            I've been to Taste Chicago in Burbank many times and can emphatically say the beef sandwiche is the best I've had in LA. Any thing called "Chicago Italian Beef" has always been a disappointment here in LA until Taste Chicago opened. (Have converted native Angelenos to Chicago food. ) Also, try the Chicago Dogs and the old city staple Elis Cheesecake. I have not had a bad experience at Taste per the other posts comments. The best thin crust Chicago style pizza is Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock. Another good Chicago hot dog is QT's Hot Dogs in Sherman Oaks/Northridge.

          2. I went to Taste Chicago located on 603 North Hollywood Way in Burbank. I was great. I am from Chicago and I know my beefs and this is the real deal. I also found out that it isint really Joe Mantegna's place. It is his wife Arlene's.

            1. The original comment has been removed
              1. Taste of Chicago is ok for italian beef. QT's Chicago Hot Dogs has a good Chicago dog and italian beef as well though I find their italian beef gravy too salty. Portillo's in Buena Park by far has the best italian beef sandwich.

                8 Replies
                1. re: chowchi1

                  Portillo's is a Chicago owned company, the Buena Park one is the only one outside of the Chicago area right now.


                  1. re: LikestoEatout

                    Interesting how a post from 3 years ago comes back to life here...and I even see my old posts on the topic!

                    Having Portillo's here in SoCal is great...they do a lot of their foods very well, even if they are a bit pricey (about 20-30% higher than their Chicago stores). Rumor has it that they are looking at 3 or 4 more locations in SoCal to open up over the next couple of year.

                    That being's the 2nd best italian beef is Chicago...the first place award going to Chicago's Best in Irvine. Taste Chicago is ok but not great (and way overpriced)...and there is another place I want to try if I ever get out Redlands-way called Anthony's Chicago Style. Maybe an Inland Empire CHer can go check it out.

                    1. re: RSMBob

                      My family and I moved from northern Illinios to Lake Elsinore, California in the fall of 1982. For the next 25 years we searched in vain for a good pizza place, trying every suggestion from friends and neighbors on what they considered good pizza. What we soon found out was......native or long time Californians had NEVER experience good pizza. One month ago, a little carryout opened 2 blocks from my house promising Chicago pizza, not Chicago -style, Chicago pizza. Lo and behold, they were as good as their word! They not only have the 'real thing' pizza but have Italian beef, Italian sausage, combo, Maxwell Street Polish, Chicago Dogs, and pepper and egg sandwiches. Homemade cheesecake as good as Ely's. Check out their website at
                      Happy eating!

                      1. re: Jim Rockford

                        Wow, sounds great! The website looks if only I didn't have to endure Ortega Highway to get there! Your post reminded me of when I discovered "Giorgio's of Chicago" here years was so good that I wrote the LA Times suggesting they do a review/feature on the place...and they did! It became the only restaurant I was ever a "regular" at and I lamented its closing.

                        JnT seems like it's definitely worth a visit sometime soon!

                        1. re: RSMBob

                          A Chicago bred friend I worked with for many years in OC turned me on to Giorgio's just before it closed in 2001. He and his wife lived in San Juan Capistrano but since moved to Minifee Valley. They travel the Ortega daily on week days. When Joe and Tony's opened I sent him an email and told him to stop by on his way home and try them. A few weeks went by and I got this mail back last week.
                          " This place is unbelievable, the thin crust pizza is great, the Italian beef is fabulous and the Chicago hot dogs are delicious. We have been there 3 or 4 times already. Thanks for hooking us up, my mouth is watering
                          just thinking about going there!''

                      2. re: RSMBob

                        For me, it missed the mark. Maybe because I've been to Portillos in Bolingbrook. When I ordered a "combo w/hot & sweet, dunked" the person taking my order had that puzzled look...kinda like the RCA puppy with it's head tilted to the side. Had to slow down & explain/simplify my order. Just a reminder that I wasn't in Chi town. Portion of beef on "sangwich" was a joke compared to Chicagoland. Gave me the sandwich wet, not dunked, as I requested. Forgot the gardineira. I like Portillos, just not in SoCal. Would love to see Al's open up in SoCal as well.

                        1. re: Ollie

                          << Would love to see Al's open up in SoCal as well. >>


                          However, it's never fair to actually expect "Chicago" in LA. Portillo's beef has always only be "fine" in the greater scheme of Chicago beefs, but the report from LTH says Al's franchises are nothing but disappointment. We shall see.

                          1. re: Ollie

                            In OC, there used to be a fantastic joint in Aliso Viejo called Georgio's which sadly is long gone. Allegedly, Georgio's son opened up Chicago's Best in Irvine. Additionally, Sabatino's in Newport (of sausage fame) are Chicago based and offer an Italian Beef and an Italian Beef and Sausage Combo for lunch.

                    2. Try Giamelli's in Los Feliz or Burbank - they don't call it Italian Beef. Recommend getting it plain and toasted.