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“Good but not number 1”

Al's #1 Italian Beef
Ranked #234 of 9,668 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$1 - US$20
Cuisines: American, Delicatessen
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Child-friendly
Dining options: After-hours, Lunch, Delivery
Neighbourhood: Near North Side
Columbus, Indiana, United States
Level 5 Contributor
91 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Good but not number 1”
Reviewed 8 May 2014

Thought this was The place for Italian beef..it was ok, but not anything special. Reminded me a bit of the "soup nazi" from Seinfeld. Pick what you want and take a seat..will bring it to the front when it's ready. Beef was good, but can't say much for ambience, or anything else. Not sure I would recommend this for Italian beef for friends visiting Chicago.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank OtleyandFatcat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Oxford, Ohio
Level 6 Contributor
235 reviews
166 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Eat it Like the Natives!”
Reviewed 8 May 2014

I've become a bit of an Italian Beef fanatic, you see. It's replaced the Philly Cheesesteak as the lead off batter on my sandwich roster. So, you can imagine my excitement, when the wife announced a trip to Chicago. Al's #1 Italian Beef was not a mere restaurant that would be forgotten in passing. It would be an unmistakable, legendary, world famous, iconic, spicy, soggy, beefy attraction and landmark of anticipation.
The staff was great! The dude who took my order couldn't have been friendlier. He found out we were from Cincinnati on a pilgrimage to Al's and immediately launched into a discussion on the opinions of Cincinnati Chili (he had a strong distaste for it) while appreciating my desire to sample one of Chicago's finer dishes. Thanks!
You're worried about your sammy falling apart, aren't you? It might, but it's worth the sacrifice. Al's is a shredded beef where other Italian Beef's I've tasted have been of the sliced variety. The thing that sets Al's Beef apart from every other guy's beef, though, is their secret seasoning. It is unique. The funny thing is, I could swear that one of the defining ingredients is the same as used in Cincinnati Chili's spice blend. I'd LOVE to find out! Unless you just can't handle heat at all, try it like the natives eat it: sweet and spicy peppers, dunked.
So, was it everything I'd ever dreamed of? Maybe not, but it is a notable sandwich that I very much enjoyed and would revisit in a heartbeat. It is a Chicago landmark that any foodie or Italian Beef junkie should put on their list of tourist attractions!

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank IslandTime78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A Must when in Chicago”
Reviewed 6 May 2014

Hole in the wall place for the best Italian beef around! I got the spicy beef that was tender and packed a nice kick

Visited May 2014
Thank Albert M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
121 reviews
88 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2014

Saw this place on MAN V FOOD and had to eat there ! It tasted as good as it looked on TV !!! A must do when you are in CHICAGO

Visited February 2014
Thank steve b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 6 April 2014 via mobile

Very underwhelming Italian Beef. I can do better in my own kitchen. The fries were over salted and the cheese fries were not good. My advice go to one of the many places that serve Italian Beef on the outskirts of the city.

1 Thank Chris E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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