169 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60654
Al's Italian Beef
Al's #1 Italian Beef
Al's Beef - Chicago
Parking: Lot, Private
Bike Parking: Yes
Drive Through: Yes
Good For Family: Yes
Good for Kids: Yes
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Cuisines: Italian, European, Continental
Takes Reservations: No
Outdoor Seating: Yes
No coupons available
11/20/2009Provided by Citysearch -
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!
07/09/2009Provided by Citysearch -
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!
05/07/2009Provided by Citysearch -
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.
12/13/2007Provided by Citysearch -
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.
11/19/2007Provided by Citysearch -
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.
09/07/2007Provided by Citysearch -
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!
07/13/2007Provided by Citysearch -
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.
01/07/2007Provided by Citysearch -
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.
01/02/2007Provided by Citysearch -
I was looking for something quick, satisfying and definitly Chicago. I found it at Al's #1 Italian Beef. In my opinion world's better than any Cheesesteak I've had in Philly. If you like spicy food then I highly recommend the hot peppers. I had mine with hot peppers and cheese and it was great. Just enough heat to get your attention but not overpowering. No need for a side item unless you've got a huge appetite. You'll need plenty of napkins but worth the mess, I highly recommend this sandwich!
08/03/2006Provided by Citysearch -
I have been on a mission to find out who has the best beef. I can say, unequivocably, it is not this Al's. First things first, it was a flimsy sandwich, lacking in what a beef sandwich should have on it: beef! Secondly, the bread didn't absorb any of the jus making the bread unnecessarily difficult to chew, especially when it got to the end. On top of these complaints, the meat had no flavor! none! All I could taste was the American cheese, of which they used too much. I could see the jus, I was wondering where it went from the vat to getting on my sandwich. The one thing that Al's had going for it was the fries, and the fries at Mr. Beef are better anyway. If you make a trip to this Al's, take the effort and walk over three more streets east to Orleans and go to Mr. Beef for a real, legit Italian Beef Sandwich.
03/27/2006Provided by Citysearch -
i've had the beef at this location and at the little italy location. the little italy location served up a good one, this location gave me a dry, flavorless beef. avoid this location and go to mr. beef for some consistent italian beef and a true chicago experience.
08/15/2005Provided by Citysearch -
I'm from out of town, and I ordered the big beef combo with sweet and hot peppers, and it came to over $10 (which just seems like a lot to me for the amount of food you get) Don't get me wrong, it was a really good sandwich. You need to get the peppers on it. Get lots of napkins too, because it's going to drip everywhere. The fries are really greasy ... and mine were mostly shards. But grab a table in the lot on Ontario and watch the cars go by. If you don't like the fries you can always toss them on the sidewalk for the pigeons.
06/23/2005Provided by Citysearch -
Don't let anyone lie to you this place has the best beef and fries anywhere in the city. The service was so friendly and the food was soooo good, I even took a bite of my friends burger and its was very very good. But dont get me wrong the main reason i am going back there many more times is the Italian beef. All I have to say to anyone is try it I am not going to stear you wrong.
05/31/2005Provided by Citysearch -
This italian beef and chicago hot-dog stand is the real deal. I had the regular beef, 'hot and dry' which means with hot peppers and not too much beef broth. You can also get mild peppers and/or 'wet' which typically means the whole beef sandwich, bun and all is dipped into the broth. Even with the 'dry' sandwich, the juices from the beef were running down my hands and arms. Get lots of napkins! There are maybe 8 tables inside and another 8 outside. My wife found solace in the fact that they also sold salads. While I ate my italian beef, I felt like I belonged in Chicago, a native. My misty thoughts were shattered when a husky guy came in and odered a chicago dog with the works as an appetizer, and a large beef for main corse...I realized I was just a tourist!
03/07/2005Provided by Citysearch -
I remember AL'S #1 when it was located in the west loop, right around my job in the 70's. I haven't found a place yet that fixes those GOOD, OLD-TIME FRENCH FRIES, the kind the mom-and-pop hamburger joints on the soughtside used to fix. Old tomers looking for these fries, give Al's #1 a try!
01/16/2004Provided by Citysearch -
The prices tend to be a little high for the food, but the sandwiches aren't bad at all. Service behind the counter seems to have gotten much better and I will probably end up going here more often now for the Polish. The outdoor seating is fun in the summer too.