A Guide to the Best Chicago Delis

If you’re in Chicago and hankering for some deli, you’re not going to run out of options, as the Windy City is filled with several delis that will make it worth your while. The next time that you’re in Krogers or Publix and got the urge for some, check these out first.

Zaleski and Horvath Marketcafe

A sandwich maker and the Istria Café owners combined to create this casual yet high quality grocery and deli store. There are a lot of food items on the menu but don’t forget to order their Spanish jamon sandwiches with quince paste, and you should also give their French bread sandwich, with ham and farmstead cheese, a try. For desert, have some of their oatmeal cookies, but remember to come early as this place gets packed.

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Publican Quality Meats

The Publican Quality Meats is kind of like a Jack of all trades in that it’s a bakery, grocer, sandwich joint and butcher shop all in one. The place is well known for its meats (sourced locally), but you can also order their sumptuous ribollita soup and sandwich, and the friendly atmosphere is another plus.


An institution in Chicago, Perry’s is home to some truly mouthwatering delis like pastrami, egg salad sandwiches and the classic Perry’s Favorite, consisting of coleslaw, cheese and Russian dressing with fresh rye. If you drop by for breakfast you can order the Mad Moscow or eggs with Russian dressing, corn beef and pastrami all on bagel toast.


Next on our list is Pastoral, home to cut to order artisan cheeses and plenty of great tasting wine. The menu is varied, and if you’re looking to grab a quick meal, get their Spanish Tuna salad sandwich stuffed with generous amounts of onion and pickles. The seats at the patio are comfortable and relaxing, but you can also order olives or cheeses if you’re on the go.

New York Bagel and Bialy

Technically this isn’t in Chicago –it’s in Lincolnwood at the I-94, but we’re including this here because they serve bagels like no other. The New York Bagel and Bialy is open 24 hours so you can drop by anytime you like, but you’re going to have to eat in your car because there aren’t any seats here. But that’s okay as the bagels are terrific.


Kaufman’s closed down in 2011 after a fire, but like the Phoenix it’s risen back up and you can now order and savor their meals just like before. This joint has been around since 1955 and it’s well-known for its old fashioned Jewish rye bread, bagels and bread. However, Kaufman’s has a very varied menu and offers dozens of unique sandwiches including the New York Special with chopped liver and sliced corn beef and (optional) mustard. If that’s not enough you can order some sliced salami, whitefish salad and a cookie, and you’re set.

City Diner

Last but not the least is City Diner, beloved by Chicago residents for its flavorful pastrami and the generous milkshakes. And like any good deli, there are lots of Matzo balls here.