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Oct 7, 2009 08:48 PM

Italian Beef - downtown

Where is the best place for an Italian Beef sandwich in downtown?

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  1. Believe it or not, but I think Portillo's has the best IB downtown. I feel it is better than Al's or Mr. Beef by a long shot. Give it a shot!!

    1. It's not exactly "downtown," but Mr. Beef on N. Orleans serves one of the better Italian Beef (and Sausage) sandwiches I've eaten. Portillo's is okay. Al's Beef in River North? F-o-r-g-e-t I-t !

      1. I suppose Italian Beef can generate the same kind of debate as deep dish pizza. My vote goes to Mr Beef. Especially glad that they are open early mornings on Saturdays. It is a guilty pleasure to bite into an IB after a night of partying.

        1. Al's Beef and Luke's Beef.

          Both similar styles. Better hot giardinera for Al's, but a larger sausage for the combo sandwich by Luke's. Portillo's is okay. Their meat is sliced thicker than both Al's and Luke's.

          1. Another vote for Mr. Beef. I used to go to Al's a lot, but they fell out of favor with their prices, charging extra for giardiniere peppers (like, huh? that should be an automatic!), and the beef being overly shredded.

            And believe it or not, Ronny's, on Clark & Lake (in the Thompson Center/State of Illinois building), has a decent one as well. Comes with lots of fries. And for approx. $6.75, it's a steal. Just don't let them put cheese on it. That's a no-no. Sandwiches served until 8p (although they're open until 10p) every day.

            4 Replies
            1. re: sis2catbat

              $0.50 extra for hot or sweet peppers is very common... the (quality) stand that doesn't charge is pretty rare, in my experience.

              1. re: sis2catbat

                I agree on Al's...overly shredded beef, and to be honest, the location I usually frequent (Evanston) has gotten atrociously stingy with the meat. I ordered their large beef sandwich and it had less beef than a regular size Portillo's sandwich. One of my coworkers had to go up and order another hot dog because his sandwich was so skimpy!

                There are hundreds of decent Italian Beef sandwiches all over the city. Mr. Beef, Portillo's, Mickey's, Johnny' usually win no matter where you go.

                1. re: bourj

                  My wife once made us drive to Chicago on a Saturday for Mr. Beef. We live in St. Paul, MN. And you know what, it was totally worth it. I've had most of them now and Mr. Beef just seems to have that extra something the others don't.

                2. re: sis2catbat

                  I didn't get the Italian Beef, but the chicken fried steak sandwich at Ronny's yesterday was just awesome - topped with hot peppers and tomato sauce, that sandwich held us over all evening.