Chicago, the Windy City, is renowned for its deep-dish pizza. The bechamel sauce, sausage or pepperoni on top, and plenty of cheese are typically found in these thick, hearty slices. But there’s more to the Chicago pizza game than deep-dish, and you’d be remiss if you didn’t try every style of crust and topping this city has to offer.

First, though, let’s talk about deep-dish. No trip to Chicago is complete without it. Unsurprisingly, the two heavy hitters are always at odds: Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s. Lou Malnati’s uses a secret buttercrust recipe which they make fresh. The Malnati Chicago Classic is the highlight of the menu so to speak. Their pizzas come loaded with melted mozzarella cheese, their house-made Italian sausage meat, and Tomato Sauce, before it’s baked to perfection. While Giordano’s is famous for their stuffed pizza, which has been around for nearly 40 years. The double-crust pizza is a half-inch thick, filled with ingredients, and layered with a thin slathering of sauce. You can’t go wrong with either of these staples, so don’t feel guilty trying both.

Next up, let’s talk Original Thin Crust. Vito and Nick’s Pequod’s, and Burt’s Place serve appetizing thin crust pizzas. Vito and Nick’s is situated near Midway airport; it has been around since 1932! It’s a no-frills spot with stadium seating that was popularised for their tavern-style pizzas in the 1940s. Pequod’s is a lot newer, opening in 1971 however, it has made quite an impression over the years. Their caramelized crust and crispy pepperoni is what sets them apart among the locals. Lastly, Burt’s Place serves a small-town vibe atmosphere and pizzas made the way owner Burt Katz was making them decades before.

Moving away from pizza, another iconic Chicago dish is the Italian Beef Sandwich. From neighborhood restaurants like Al’s Beef and Johnnie’s Beef to fast-food chains like Portillo’s and Buona Beef, Chicagoans all have opinions on their favorite versions. The sandwich consists of thin slices of beef, slowly cooked with a blend of flavorful spices, topped with roasted peppers, and hordes of garlicky au-jus on a bun.

For a seafood break, try a Chicago-style Hot Dog. A Chicago-style hot dog is never boiled, always griddle-steamed, and served on a steamed poppy seed bun. Layered with yellow mustard, fluorescent green relish, fresh chopped onions, juicy tomato wedges, spicy sport peppers, a crisp kosher pickle spear, and just a pinch of celery salt, it is a deliciously nostalgic experience that cannot be missed.

Finally, for dessert, we have Garret Popcorn Shops, which are sprinkled across the Magnificent Mile. Their popcorn is a combination of sweet and salty, complete with the buttery aroma of caramel and cheese baked into the core of every kernel. They cater a variety of flavours, including seasonal and specialty-flavoured popcorns, If you can’t decide which flavour to order, have faith that “the Chicago Mix” will never disappoint: a blend of their famous caramel and cheddar cheese popcorn which has become a snack of loyalty among locals and visitors.

In the Windy City, Pizza is king. However, beyond the iconic deep-dish pizzas, lies a rich food culture that has made this city a mecca of culinary tourism. From Italian beef sandwiches, hot dogs, and delicious caramel corns, the Windy City offers an exciting culinary experience. With this guide at hand, you are sure to take your taste buds to great heights.