Baker Alex Bois churns out breads that are crusty and pillowy, with just the right amount of chew. Morning crowds head here for the hearty breakfast sandwiches served on kaiser rolls. A standout is the Pastrami & Hash, which features smoky slices of seared pastrami with a caramelized crust. The meat is stacked on a twice-fried hash brown, then topped with Russian dressing and a creamy fried egg.
Top Round may have made a name for itself as a retro joint cranking out irresistible roast beef, but it’s the cheese sauce that keeps people coming back for more. Each batch of this Cheez Whiz-inspired sauce is made from evaporated milk, blue cheese and 15 pounds of American cheese, as well as hot sauce and spices for an added kick. The gooey blend goes well on the restaurant’s au jus sandwiches, house-cut curly fries and virtually everything else served there.
Bigger is better at this down-home joint, starting with its signature sandwich: The Jethro. This porky delight weighs in at nearly 2 pounds. It all starts with a breaded-and-fried pork tenderloin, which is placed on one half of a fluffy hamburger bun, then heaped with pulled pork, smoked ham and thick slabs of hickory-smoked bacon, then blanketed in an aged white cheddar cheese sauce and topped with the other half of the bun.
Crowds flock to this rustic Italian restaurant for dishes like the Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses. As the name implies, five cheeses (pecorni romano, fontina, Gorgonzola, mozzarella and ricotta) are used to make a rich sauce, which is then combined with rigate pasta shells and baked to create a bubbly, golden-brown crust.
When Tito Gonzales opened this family-owned joint three generations ago, he set out to create a dish that blended the bold flavors of his Mexican heritage with the Italian cuisine he loved. And so the Carne Adovada Turnover was born. For this dish, pork shoulder meat is marinated in a fiery Hatch red chile blend and roasted until tender. The juicy pork meat, along with Wisconsin cheddar, is then stuffed into a flour tortilla that’s sealed shut like a calzone and fried until irresistibly crisp.
In the mood for some irresistible barbecue? Head to Killen’s, where the crowds line up to chow down on massive beef ribs, smoky brisket and more. The deliciously fatty, barely trimmed brisket is treated with a salt-and-pepper blend before cooking, resulting in a satisfyingly crispy black crust.
Head here for classic Mexican sandwiches known as las tortas. A standout is the Pierna Enchilada Torta, which is made from high-quality pork that’s marinated in freshly squeezed orange juice and a simple spice blend. A bold adobo salsa adds some kick before the tender pulled pork is piled on a bun.
This authentic Mexican joint is cooking up regional dishes that are true to their roots, which is why it was crowned as the best spot for Mexican food in America on Top 5 Restaurants. If you’re new to the flavors of the Yucatán, order the Cochinita Pibil. Seasoned pork butt, onions and tomatoes are stuffed inside a banana leaf and then roasted, resulting in a perfectly tender dish bursting with fruit-tinged flavors. A topping of pickled onions adds a bit of crunch.
This chophouse serves up irresistibly juicy steaks that are butchered and hand-cut in-house. Order The Duke: This tender rib eye is brushed with beef butter and seasoned with an herby, housemade salt. It’s cooked in a Josper oven with coal for smokiness and served with pickled cherry peppers. If steaks are the star of the menu, the burgers are the sleeper hit. "Their burgers are the best in the Windy City," says Sarah Grueneberg, who is a fan of both the Dry-Aged Steakburger and the Lamb Burger.
This Creole restaurant is a big draw for couples, thanks to its romantic setting and indulgent dishes like shrimp remoulade and bananas Foster. For this dessert, halved bananas are caramelized in a decadent concoction of brown sugar and dark Jamaican rum, then served over vanilla ice cream.
Hidden behind a gas station is a small hole in the wall where Chef Rodrigo Albarran-Torres is using his mother's recipes to cook up some authentic Mexican food. Guy and Joe Theismann, former NFL quarterback, devoured the lamb taco enchiladas and tacos al pastor, praising the balance of flavors.
This modern Mexican eatery is a late-night hot spot for hungry Brooklynites, complete with an on-site DJ. The menu is packed with unique spins on Tex-Mex favorites, like the Cadillac nachos. Housemade tortilla chips are loaded with refried cranberry beans, then drenched in jalapeno cheese sauce, citrus sour cream and three chile-spiked salsas that pack a punch. A flurry of fresh cilantro and chopped radishes lend additional zest to the dish.
Two-for-one beers aren’t the only draw at this bar, as the bratwursts are also a standout. Try The Milton: A fresh Usinger’s sausage is poached in beer, then grilled to create a charred crust. The brat comes on a pretzel bun, loaded with a buttery mix of mushrooms, onions and melty cheddar.
This cozy bistro offers French cuisine served in a chalet-inspired setting, and the beef fondue for two is perfect for sharing with a date. A tender cut of top sirloin steak is thinly sliced, then served with three dipping sauces: green peppercorn glaze, saffron aioli and romesco.
The menu here is simple: doughnuts, fried chicken and coffee. The Korean-style chicken is twice-fried to create an extra-crunchy crust before being dressed up with the seasoning or glaze of your choice (options include chili garlic and buttermilk ranch). Buttery doughnuts make for a sweet finish.