HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >

Italian Beef - downtown

keith304 Oct 7, 2009 08:48 PM

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

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. c
    chgo36 RE: keith304 Oct 8, 2009 09:31 AM

    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. g
      gomexico RE: keith304 Oct 8, 2009 10:18 PM

      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. m
        ms. chow RE: keith304 Oct 9, 2009 05:52 AM

        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. c
          ChicagoHokie RE: keith304 Oct 9, 2009 02:34 PM

          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. s
            sis2catbat RE: keith304 Oct 9, 2009 07:41 PM

            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
              gleam RE: sis2catbat Oct 9, 2009 07:50 PM

              $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
                bourj RE: sis2catbat Oct 11, 2009 11:38 AM

                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's...you usually win no matter where you go.

                1. re: bourj
                  Db Cooper RE: bourj Dec 6, 2011 11:33 AM

                  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
                  gini RE: sis2catbat Nov 9, 2009 06:13 AM

                  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.

                3. p
                  Pete Oldtown RE: keith304 Nov 12, 2009 10:07 PM

                  I like Luke's across the street from the Sears Tower. I might be influenced by their amazing fries.

                  1. f
                    floydscatfarm RE: keith304 May 17, 2012 06:03 PM

                    There's a place on N Arlington Heights Road just north of Algonquin Rd called Johnny's Beef and Italian ice. The beefs are as good as Mr Beef and Portillo's but half the price, $3.85 for a Beef. You can get a dog and fries with it for $2.55 more and leave feeling full like you just ate Thanksgiving dinner and only spent 7 bucks.

                    Show Hidden Posts