I'd never heard of giardiniera before moving to Chicago, but now I can't live without it. In Italy, the term refers to collection pickled vegetables—usually cauliflower, celery, and olives—but here it's almost always addled with a healthy helping of chilies. The result is a crunchy, acidic, and fiercely spicy condiment, which improves almost everything it touches.
In particular, it's hard to imagine Italian subs or Italian beefs without it. But not all giardiniera is created equal. Some is all spice and no acid, while others are soggy when they should be crunchy. These are the sandwiches we think get it right. Take a look at the slideshow to see all of them, or check out the list below.
- Alpine Sub with Roasted Red Peppers and Portabella Mushrooms at Alpine Food Shop
- Italian Beef at Al's #1 Italian Beef
- Gym Shoe at Sun Submarine
- Italian Beef Combo at Johnnie's Beef
- Italian Sub at J. P. Graziano
- Gyros Sandwich with Giardiniera at Niko's Gyros
- Sausage Sandwich with Giardiniera at Nottoli & Son
- A Wreck at Potbelly
- Breaded Steak Sandwich at Ricobene's