5 Dishes at Taste of Chicago You Need to Experience

The HotPlate team of food experts ventured to Taste of Chicago for some delicious food. We would highly recommend going to Grant Park before July 9th to try a few of the best dishes in Chicago.

Here are our Hot Takes:

5. Gator Bites from Chicago’s Dog House (Our Rating: 7.7/10)

This one is for all the exploratory eaters out there and may even convince some others to step outside their culinary comfort zone. Some people might shy away when they see alligator (one of our own team members certainly did), and we knew this dish might be a bit of a risk, but it definitely delivered. The Gator Bites had a great blend of savory flavors with a small kick of spice that delivered an unexpected but signature flavor, all while managing not to take away from the unique taste of the alligator. One of the biggest issues with alligator is how tough it can and some of us were expecting to have to chew our way through these bites, but we were all surprised with how tender the meat was. The only criticism we had was really with the food presentation — the bites really varied in size, making it difficult to share well.

All in all, great strong taste and definitely a must have for all of you adventurous eaters.

4. Fried Oreos from Punky’s Pizza and Pasta (Our Rating: 7.8/10)

We ended the night with the Fried Oreos and were glad we still had room to try it! This dish is pretty heavy so we recommend having it at the beginning of your dessert round to avoid being too stuffed. The Taste portion came with four fried oreos — which is definitely enough to share between multiple people. Our team agreed that these Fried Oreos were much better than any we have previously eaten. There was a consistent texture throughout and the first bite was the right balance of oreo, dough, and sweetness. We definitely think you should not end your night before trying this dish!

3. Chorizo Empanada from Beat Kitchen (Our Rating: 8/10)

We encountered different kinds of empanadas at Taste of Chicago. Beat Kitchen offered a variety of veggie, beef, chicken, or chorizo empanadas. We decided to try the chorizo one for 6 tickets. The size was good for two people to share. Even though the dough could have been a little bit crispier, the meat was flavorful and not too spicy. Definitely worth stopping by Beat Kitchen!

2. Spicy Black Bean & Corn Tamale from Dia De Los Tamales (Our Rating: 9/10)

The Spicy Black Bean & Corn Tamale was the best vegetarian/vegan option at Taste of Chicago. Decently priced at 6 tickets for the Taste and 12 for the whole thing, the tamale comes with Salsa Roja that adds a spicy kick to every bite. When you first get it, you may not be impressed because the presentation isn’t great. But in terms of taste quality, we would recommend this to anyone — not just vegans!

1. Funnel Cake Sundae from Xurro (Our Rating: 9.8/10)

The Funnel Cake Sundae was our absolute favorite item we tried at the Taste! This dish is not even explicitly listed on the menu so make sure you ask for it specifically. It’s sweet and tasty, with the perfect combination of warm fried dough and cold ice cream, topped with your drizzle of choice. It’s super filling and great for 4–6 people. You cannot leave without eating this dessert!

Overall, don’t miss out on Taste of Chicago. Let us know if you tried any of these dishes and what your favorite dishes are!

HotPlate is a startup focused on helping food enthusiasts find the best dishes at restaurants through individual dish ratings and reviews. You can find out more about us through our website. Be sure to follow us on Instagram (hotplateapp) and join the waitlist to be the first to download the app!