Portillo’s Big Beef Sandwich With Hot Giardiniera and Fries

Cameron Grant
Osteria Langhe

“You can’t eat the sandwich while driving, but eating the fries in the car is a great amuse-bouche. I’m not sure what they use in their fryer, but there are enough ribs or chicken cooked in that fryer that the fries are slightly meaty.” Multiple locations, portillos.com

Cevapcici at Kiosk Balkan Street Food

Eve Studnicka
Funeral Potatoes

“I’m obsessed with Kiosk Balkan Street Food. I think about it every day, and order the cevapcici — so frequently that I can spell it now — with extra kajmak and urnebes.” 3517 N. Spaulding Ave., Avondale

Tlayuda Vegetariana at Chile Toreado

Pepe Barajas
La Josie and Solazo

“I usually order the veggie tlayudas — and like that they are open faced. Most of the tlayudas in Oaxaca are folded, but making them open faced makes them more flavorful with a nice crunch.” 2022 W. 35th St., McKinley Park


Bulgogi and Hae Mul Tofu Soup at Durebak Restaurant

Qi Ai

“The bulgogi hits all the right chords with succulent beef cooked in a sauce of brown sugar, soy, and sesame oil, then mixed with lightly sautéed vegetables. The tofu soup with kimchi and seafood pairs elegantly for a Korean-style surf and turf meal.” 801 Civic Center Dr., Niles


Sesame Noodle Bowl at Uncooked

Ed Tinoco
Next Restaurant

“The creamy almond-based sauce adds rich umami notes to the kelp noodles. It’s the kind of flavor that you rarely see at fast-casual spots these days.” 210 N. Carpenter St., West Loop

Photography: (Portillo's) Courtesy of Portillo's; (Grant) Rachel Bires; (Barajas) Ally Straussner; (Studnicka) Malcolm Riordan; (Ai) Marcin Cymmer; (Cevapcici) Jason Lee; (Noodles) Olivia Kohler Photography; (Tinoco) Allen Hemberger/Small Batch Creative