Chicago >Food & Dining > Al's #1 Italian Beef
169 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061041.893135 -87.633916
Neighborhoods: Central, Near North Side
Al's Beef I will not drive by without stopping in! – Be it for lunch or for taking care of the craving after a night of partying Al' Beef is awesome! For being a very small little corner shop the food inside packs a big flavor! Being in the VIP Concierge business all my limo drivers know if we are heading home from the area around Al's just plan on stopping! Huge portions and man I love those fries! We've used Al's for catering a couple of boat parties and it blew the out of towners away! Love if you are going by a see a limo and a bunch of crazy suburbanites getting out that's us! We Loves our Al's beef!
holy cow – i never thought i would enjoy a cheese-free sandwich this much until i came here. the Giardiniera imparts a unique, spicy flavor that we just don't have in texas (ours is more mexican and/or cajun influenced) and can only be experienced first-hand to comprehend. thanks to my south side buddy for recommending the combo sandwich or i would not have considered it, but the sweetness of the sausage is a nice contrast to the beef. this is a "must" stop while visiting the city or you haven't really tasted chicago!
very important qualifier! – I see a wide range of opinions here and i think this is why - did you eat at the original on Ontario or one of the "newer" franchised locations?
I would be very surprised to read that anyone who already likes italian beef sandwiches, would NOT like a beef from Al's #1. Very surprised!
On the other hand, I would NOT be surprised to find out that all (or almost all) of the neg reviews were from folks eating at one of the franchised spots.
It is an unfortunate fact that the great majority of franchised businesses have very inconsistent product quality from one location to the next.
Of course, that is not to say that you can't get a great beef from a franchised Al's, but if you are reading things about thick slices of beef or bread shortages or gelatinous (sp?) beef juice, those things are quality issues at those locations bc that nonsense would NEVER fly down on Ontario!
Ya can't blame the owners at Al's for wanting to grow the biz (and their bank accounts), but it comes with a price. When you allow someone else to put your name on their building and use your recipes you are risking potential damage to your name/reputation.
Tasty Beef – Dripping with goodness this beef sandwich is delicious. The fries are a bit on the greasy side but they satisfy. You must get sweet peppers to top the sandwich!
Yucky beef is more like it – Al's beef on 87th & Stoney Island was definitely a disappointing beef experience for me. First off, I went there specifically b/c they recently opened and the outside looked nice. When I got there they had no bread on the premises and I literally had to wait 20 min for the bread to arrive. Then, they took approximately 15-20 min to make my sandwich. I was standing at the counter and there was nothing but what looked like organized chaos going on behind the counter. I finally got the sandwich home and it was hardly up to par. The meat was sliced in big tough pieces, not thinly shaved and tender like it should have been. I asked for a side of gravy because I like my beef really juicy. The gravy was a reddish color with the taste & consisency of cooking oil-YUK.
I know a good beef when I eat one b/c i've been eating at Scatchell's and Chickies for years, unfortunately I moved away. Al's was not good at all. Even though all the staff were really nice & the fries were great I will never go there for beefs again. In the meantime I'll stick to Scatchell's on the West side even if I have to drive a few miles to get it.
chicago visitor sampling local finds this place to be the best spicy italian beef sandwich – while visiting chicago for a few weeks I've been checking local favorite flavors of various kinds. Mr beef was ok, Max's was so so, the line at Portillos was too long. Al's Italian Beef combo sandwich with hot peppers was the best. the combo means it has beef covering an italian suasage. Despite what others have written, the bread was soft and nicely saturated with au jus, plenty of hot sauce and hot peppers, plenty of juicy flavorful beef with the tasty and interesting texture of spicy italian sausage. it was good. about $5/ there are a few parking spaces in a busy area where parking is tough.
The people who are saying this is the best Italian Beef ever must own the place. It's got to be the worst Beef sandwich I've ever had.
Although, the other items on the menu are pretty good.
If you want a real Italian Beef sandwish try Mr. Beef, even Portillo's is way better than this place!
Bestest Italian Beef EVER!!!!1!!! – Al's has been serving me great Italian Beef and fries for over 15+ years. I love going there and getting a big beef, but their other menu items are great as well. I really like that they've added salads and some more options to the mix, but it's hard to order anything else when the italian beef is just that good.
great italian beef and fries. – this is one of my favorite beef stands in chicago. also try the number 6 great fries. realy good soft drinks
Excellent Food and Unmatched Service – My first time visiting Chicago, wanted the famous pizza, got there the line was wrapped around the building, could not wait and behold BIG AL'S BEEF saves the day. This sandwich was so delicious, they just don't make beef like that in Atlanta. I am not big on Beef but, I can still taste the beef. THIS IS A MUST HAVE. As a first timer the staff was so patient and encouraged me to try the signature dish. You cant miss with this local classic.
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