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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 Chicago...got 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.

        Link: http://www.windycschicagohotdogs.com/

        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. 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 said...it'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 www.jntpizza.com
                    Happy eating!

                    1. re: Jim Rockford

                      Wow, sounds great! The website looks good...now 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 ago...it 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.

                    1. Not exactly Chicago style but great nonetheless, try the hot sandwiches at Busy Bee in San Pedro

                      1. Try Portillos in Buena Park. They have vienns beef and Vienna red hots. Its as authentic Chicago style beef and dogs I have found here yet. They have another location in Moreno Valley as well. They are all over Chicago land so give them a try.

                        1. If only CA could have a beef stand on every corner like we already have taco stands on top of each other.

                          To get a true Chicago style beef, combo, square pizza -- oh yeah -- one must go to Chicago. You are correct sir to say that Joe Mantegna's is about as close as it gets to "Chicago Style". However, let me just point out a list of things that make Joe Mantegna's "Taste of Chicago" a joke:

                          1) Hot Dogs - they must import them a small town in Mexico called Chicago cause they ain't no Vienna Red Hots Those things are what gives a hot dog a bad name. The casing is too thick & it tastes like a Slim Jim or similar type sausage -- they are not Chicago Hot Dogs;
                          2) Pizza - talk about a joke -- it was no different than any other CA pizza made by a latino. Do not waste your hard earned money on this one.

                          3) Ribs: - not too bad. Next time I go I am hopeful that I can ask for the sauce on the side so I can taste the pork. Overall not too bad;
                          4) Italian Sausage - again, not too bad. I like a cobo w/hot sauce. I believe they only offer some crapy Mexican hot sauce from a bottle.

                          They have the audacity to serve hot Mexican style vegtables as if I wanted to wrap my combo in a corn tortilla & ask for a shot of tequlia.

                          What we need in LA is Aurelio's Pizza. Now your talkin PIZZA!!!!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Dami17

                            Aurelio Pizza? That's a piss poor chained pizza with standards even lower than Pitfire. Anyone Chowish in Chicago isn't eating "Chicago" style, it's Great Lakes/Spacca Napoli/Coalfire/Sono, and to a lesser extent, Antica.

                            This thread is rather inane. Portillo's has been in in Buena Park since 2005? They ship in their beef in, use Vienna hots, and have poppy buns, as well as combination sausage/beef. I've tried a handful of wannabe Chicago places in LA, and nothing even comes close.

                            Sometimes you just have to settle for mediocrity, as I wouldn't be caught dead in a Portillo's while in Chicago, except when showing tourists around.

                          2. I haven't been but Mr. Beef in Venice Beach is a Chicago transplant. The website (http://mrbeefla.com/) indicates it is temporarily closed. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Searching4Dunny

                              They have been shut down for well over 2 years.

                              1. re: wienermobile

                                However, Chicgao Nick's opened up in the same vicinity and is decent:

                                Chicago Nick's
                                1827 Ocean Front Walk
                                Venice, CA 90291
                                310-578-BEEF (2333)

                                1. re: wienermobile

                                  Too bad. Desite being opened b a family member (son?) it never caught on. The original Mr Beef makes a relly good, and it doesn't seem like that complicated a creation.
                                  Fwiw, Al's (which is really good, and easly tops Portillo's version) seems to be expanding west. They're open in Phoenix and soon Vegas & San Jose. I am crossing my fingers.

                              2. Would you call the hot, wet roast beef sandwich at Eastside Deli Market a Chicago-style Italian beef? Anyway, it is huge, not expensive, and delicious.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: nosh

                                  No, it doesn't have the Italian seasoning in the au jus and IIRC, they don't have ghiardenere peppers

                                2. Hard Times Pizza in Silverlake has recently added an Italian beef to its bill of fare which I tried a couple of weeks ago. It's a very decent version which I'd gladly try again. (Lots of hot giardenera on it). Also I'd second the thumbs up to the beef sandwich at Eastside Deli. It's huge and pretty darn tasty.

                                  1. Portillo's in Buena Park on La Palma near Knott's Berry Farm still the best for Italian beef sandwiches.