Yesterday at 5:15 p.m., a group of us met at the corner of Jackson and Michigan Avenue to see how much damage we could do at Taste of Chicago. As the largest food festival in the city (and self-proclaimed to be the biggest in the world), it is overwhelming by its very nature. With around 40 different restaurants and over 100 different menu items, we knew weren't going to sample every single item, but we figured we'd give it our best shot.
Most of the items at Taste hover in the "mediocre to passable" range. This is food that can be reproduced on an epic scale, and it doesn't even seem fair to complain about a place cranking out a product instead of a delicious dish. But against all odds, some places actually do things right.
There were some duds—some dishes so stupefying they seemed almost intentionally bad. But we suppose that the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Click on the slideshow to check out all the options, or jump ahead with our lists below. Also, click here for a map of where to find all of the restaurants at Taste of Chicago.
- House Special Dry Ribs at Lao Sze Chuan
- 4 Mini Churros at Xocoatl
- Brazilian Sausage at Texas de Brazil
- Red Beans and Rice with Jerk Chicken at Vee-Vee's African Restaurant
- Fire Grilled Taco at Carbon Mexican Grill
- Taster Cup of Original Rainbow Cone
- Bissup (Hibiscuss) Sorbet at Iyanze
- Mustard-Fried Catfish at BJ's Market & Bakery
- Irish Egg Roll at The Green Room & The Abbey
- Grilled Slipper Tail Lobster with Garlic Potatoes at Oak Street Beach Cafe
- Single Cheeseburger at Billy Goat Tavern
And The Just Okay
- Octa-Dog Platter at Bobak's
- Steak Mini Jibarito at Sabor Latino Restaurant
- Italian Breaded Steak at Ricobene's
- Pierogi Potato at Kasia's
- Chocolate Frozen "Baby" Banana
- Original Plain Cheescake Eli's Cheesecake
- Thin Crust Cheese Pizza at Bacino's Pizza