Select Page

The Best Food to Try at Portillo’s

If you are a true foodie, you know that Portillo’s menu offers some of the most mouthwatering fast-food items.

Since its inception in Villa Park, IL, in 1963, the restaurant chain has been serving authentic dishes, including famous hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, homemade milkshakes, and chocolate cake.

The menu at Portillo’s is a blend of classic American and Italian dishes, all with a signature twist.

From the Chicago-style hot dogs adorned with classic toppings like mustard and relish to the slow-cooked Italian beef sandwiches piled with veggies, every menu item is reminiscent of the windy city’s culinary traditions.

So if you’re new to this chain, let me introduce you to the 20 best Portillo’s menu items ranked from great to absolutely must-try!

20. Bowl of Chili

Portillo’s is well-known for its wide range of American comfort food dishes, and the Bowl of Chili is a shining example of that.

This scrumptious and hearty dish offers a fusion of flavors, featuring a seamless blend of spices, meat, cheese, and onions.

At first glance, the Chili Bowl reveals an inviting layer of melted cheese that intermingles with freshly chopped onions, offering a sensory feast of color, aroma, and texture.

Diving deeper into the dish, you’ll discover a rich amalgamation of ingredients, including ground beef, chili beans, tomatoes, and a blend of tantalizing spices.

Together, these ingredients create a bold and flavorful chili that warms your soul.

Nutritional Information:

430 calories, 20g fat, 42g carbohydrates, 22g protein

19. Broiled Chicken Sandwich

This exquisite sandwich is made with char-broiled chicken breast, seasoned with a blend of secret house spices.

The chicken features a mouthwatering aroma that excites your senses.

The creamy mayo, crisp lettuce, and fresh tomatoes add a mild yet refreshing, while the brioche bun makes for a buttery enclave to house this entire experience.

The texture of the Broiled Chicken Sandwich is also worth noting.

The chicken breast maintains its natural juices amid the char, with the outer edges offering just the right amount of snap.

Nutritional Information:

400 calories, 17g fat, 59g carbohydrates, 33g protein

18. Half Slab of Ribs

Meet Portillo’s Half Slab of Ribs, a generously portioned dish that treats your taste buds to a variety of flavors and textures.

The ribs are seasoned with a secret blend of spices, slow-cooked until fall-off-the-bone tender, then grilled to create a crispy exterior, and slathered in a rich, homemade barbecue sauce.

The rich, tangy sweetness of the homemade barbeque sauce mingles wonderfully with the smoky, charred crust and the heat from the spices.

The slow-cooked meat is so juicy, and the char-grilled exterior grants a gentle crunch.

Visually, the dish is a classic presentation -– a rich, russet glaze over the ribs, tempting you to get hands-on with this ultimate comfort food!

Nutritional Information:

510 calories, 30g fat, 39g carbohydrates, 19g protein

17. Chicken Tenders

If you love the Breaded Chicken Sandwich but want to forego all the carbs, I highly suggest the Chicken Tenders on Portillo’s menu.

This dish is a simple yet delish affair. It consists of the same lightly breaded, all-white chicken tenders fried to a golden brown.

Unlike the usual minced chicken tender, Portillo’s uses breast meat, which ensures a firmer and more enjoyable texture.

The light yet crispy coating embodies both crunchiness and tenderness, making for a sublime experience with each bite.

Each order comes with four chicken strips and dipping sauces, such as honey mustard, BBQ sauce, or ranch.

Personally, I prefer the honey mustard sauce the most.

Nutritional Information: (4 Pieces)

340 calories, 16g fat, 24g carbohydrates, 24g protein

16. Beef-n-Cheddar Croissant

Portillo’s Beef-n-Cheddar Croissant is an indulgent fusion of succulent Italian beef and rich cheddar cheese, beautifully nestled within a warm, toasted croissant.

This innovative sandwich combines each component to create a delicious and unforgettable experience for the tastebuds.

The famed Italian beef and cheddar cheese make for an awesome symphony of flavors.

The beef comes thinly sliced and seasoned skillfully, ensuring that each bite packs a flavorful punch.

The layer of melted cheddar cheese adds a hint of creaminess and tanginess that beautifully marries with the savory beef.

This winning duo sits inside a golden, toasted croissant, bringing a buttery and flaky texture to the table.

Nutritional Information:

670 calories, 41g fat, 44g carbohydrates, 31g protein

15. Breaded Whitefish Sandwich

Portillo’s Breaded Whitefish Sandwich boasts an appetizing appearance, with its golden brioche bun encasing the breaded whitefish filet, which has been delicately cooked.

The addition of American cheese melds into the sandwich, providing that extra richness that cheese lovers crave.

The chopped lettuce offers a refreshing crunch, while a generous dollop of tartar sauce enhances the overall flavor profile.

One bite into this sandwich transports you to the coast with the wild-caught whitefish filet that surely outshines its farm-raised counterparts.

Its flaky texture is contrasted by the crispiness of the breadcrumb coating, combining two sensations that keep you craving more.

Nutritional Information:

710 calories, 43g fat, 55g carbohydrates, 23g protein

14. Greek Salad With Grilled Chicken

I always love a good Greek salad and prefer to have it with added protein.

Portillo’s Greek Salad with Grilled Chicken is the answer to this craving!

The salad contains all the signature ingredients of a classic Greek salad, such as crisp romaine lettuce, juicy tomatoes, crunchy red onions, and sweet, crumbled feta cheese.

But adding grilled chicken breast adds a hearty, protein-rich element to the dish.

The tart Kalamata olives and creamy Greek vinaigrette dressing complement the smoky flavor of the grilled chicken.

For extra texture and flavor, Portillo’s also layers the salad with croutons, adding yet another dimension.

Nutritional Information: (Without Dressing)

340 calories, 16g fat, 15g carbohydrates, 27g protein

13. Italian Beef Sandwich

Portillo’s Italian Beef Sandwich is an iconic and beloved dish that captures the essence of a classic homemade meal.

The sandwich is made with slow-roasted homemade Italian beef and elevates the traditional fast-food experience.

It is a gastronomic wonder built upon the foundation of freshly baked Turano French bread.

The homemade Italian beef is slow-roasted for a whopping four hours.

This long roasting ensures that every slice of beef is incredibly tender, juicy, and packed with flavor.

Depending on your preferences, the sandwich can be served with a splash of gravy, dipped entirely in gravy, or kept relatively dry.

It’s worth noting that this gravy is derived from the beef’s natural juices during the roasting process, carrying the taste profile of the meat throughout the sandwich.

If you ask me, one tub of gravy is not enough!

Nutritional Information:

690 calories, 34g fat, 59g carbohydrates, 33g protein

12. Baked Mostaccioli

The Baked Mostaccioli on Portillo’s menu is an Italian-American culinary feast through and through.

It exemplifies Portillo’s best comfort food, transitioning effortlessly from casual family gatherings to dinner parties.

The dish is made with Mostaccioli, a type of penne pasta drenched in your choice of rich red sauce and then enveloped in a blend of freshly grated mozzarella and Asiago cheeses.

The taste and quality of this Portillo’s pasta dish are undeniably soul-warming.

The al dente pasta is a canvas for the flavorsome meat sauce, allowing it to take center stage.

The combination of the tangy tomato sauce infused with garlic, onions, and the faintest hint of oregano brings just the right amount of indulgence and sophistication to the dish.

Nutritional Information: (With meat sauce)

1400 calories, 64g fat, 130g carbohydrates, 81g protein

11. Breaded Chicken Sandwich

Fast-food chicken sandwiches can be a hit-or-miss affair, but thankfully this one is far from missing the mark!

Portillo’s Breaded Chicken Sandwich is juicy and flavorful, with its signature crispiness from how the breading is prepared.

It consists of a lightly breaded, deep-fried all-white chicken breast filet and is served in a toasted bun.

The sandwich includes the classic condiments of mayonnaise, tomato, and lettuce to accompany the chicken.

The chicken filet’s exterior boasts a light, crispy breading that provides a satisfying crunch with each bite.

Meanwhile, the white meat melts in your mouth, creating a tempting contrast.

The chicken is seasoned with the right spices and herbs, accentuating its natural flavor.

It is easily the best chicken sandwich on Portillo’s menu!

Nutritional Information:

600 calories, 25g fat, 60g carbohydrates, 30g protein

10. Chopped Salad

Although I am a meat lover, there are days when I just feel like having a salad.

The Chopped Salad is always the best Portillo’s salad in my mind.

The romaine and iceberg lettuce mix brings a light, crunchy texture that serves as the canvas for other ingredients to paint their flavors.

The ditalini pasta is cooked to al dente to contrast beautifully with the greenery.

The diced chicken offers a burst of flavor, while the crispy bacon adds an irresistible smoky profile.

The salad is then completed with juicy tomatoes, red cabbage, and gorgonzola cheese and tossed in a homemade house dressing.

Speaking of gorgonzola, the pungent, creamy bites of this robust cheese coalesce with the mellow green onion and crunchy red cabbage to create a fantastic flavor profile.

Nutritional Information: (Without Dressing)

550 calories, 25g fat, 37g carbohydrates, 40g protein

9. Penne al Arrabbiata

The word “arrabbiata” means “angry” in Italian, and Portillo’s Penne al Arrabbiata pasta dish certainly delivers on that promise.

The sauce is thick and rich with robust tomato flavor and gets its kick from red pepper flakes, which provide just the right heat level without being overpowering.

The spices work marvelously with the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and the earthy notes of the basil, allowing each ingredient to shine through in every bite.

The Parmesan cheese adds an umami twist, creating a nuanced and complex flavor profile that keeps your taste buds guessing.

As soon as your fork pierces the penne, you know you’re in for a treat.

The combination of spicy marinara and fragrant basil creates a luscious, velvety texture that envelops each piece of pasta.

Nutritional Information:

1170 calories, 59g fat, 126g carbohydrates, 34g protein

8. Strawberry Shortcake

If you are a fan of Italian-inspired desserts and love indulging in sweets, you must try the Strawberry Shortcake.

This dessert is light and refreshing, making it a perfect choice to round up your meal.

Portillo’s has succeeded in giving a unique twist to the classic strawberry shortcake, and it’s worth a try.

They use angel food cake instead of the traditional shortcake, which makes it lighter.

It’s layered with fresh strawberries and a homemade mascarpone cheese whipped topping to create the cake’s airy texture.

With just one bite, you’ll be transported to the summery days filled with fireworks and fun times.

Nutritional Information:

480 calories, 20g fat, 73g carbohydrates, 3g protein

7. Penne Diavolo

At first glance, Portillo’s Penne Diavolo exudes a sense of warmth and comfort with its luscious, creamy sauce.

The visual contrast between the vibrant spinach, the alluring red from sundried tomatoes, and the golden hue of the penne pasta promises a gratifying dining experience.

The taste of this pasta dish exceeded my expectations!

The sundried tomatoes provide a tangy sweetness that not only offsets but also highlights the spiciness of the cream sauce.

This spicy twist is not overwhelming, but rather, it subtly builds up and disperses evenly, leaving a pleasant aftertaste.

Overall, the penne pasta possesses a springy texture that pairs beautifully with the velvety sauce.

Nutritional Information:

2010 calories, 125g fat, 153g carbohydrates, 69g protein

6. Italian Beef & Sausage Combo

Why not have both if you can’t decide between beef or sausage? It’s like Portillo’s knows what is on my mind!

The Italian Beef & Sausage Combo is a must-have item on Portillo’s menu for anyone who loves hearty and savory sandwiches.

This tasty creation features two of their classic dishes, the Italian beef sandwich, and the pork sausage.

The sandwich consists of char-grilled Italian pork sausage and an ample serving of homemade slow-roasted Italian beef.

It is then encased in freshly baked Turano French bread that offers a soft interior and a crusty exterior.

However, the crowning touch to this masterpiece comes in the form of their homemade oven-roasted sweet peppers or spicy hot giardiniera peppers, which kick everything up a notch with contrasting flavors.

With all the mouthwatering flavors and textures, it’s easy to see why it’s the best Portillo’s beef sandwich.

Nutritional Information:

690 calories, 34g fat, 59g carbohydrates, 33g protein

5. Jumbo Chili Cheese Dog

If you are craving satisfying comfort food, the Jumbo Chili Cheese Dog from Portillo’s is the answer.

This hot dog is made with a juicy jumbo beef sausage, prepared to ensure great taste and texture.

It’s topped with Portillo’s homemade chili, which contains ground beef and all the exotic spices.

The chili’s bold flavors and beef complement the hot dog well, and the cheddar cheese adds a creamy touch.

This chili cheese dog is nestled in a soft poppy seed bun and packed with flavor.

Additionally, raw onions are included on top as a garnish to provide a satisfying crunch and a tangy taste.

Nutritional Information:

610 calories, 40g fat, 37g carbohydrates, 27g protein

4. Chocolate Cake Shake

The Chocolate Cake Shake is by far the best milkshake at Portillo’s!

It includes a whole slice of their famous chocolate cake and features a rich and creamy combination of ice cream and chocolate sauce.

The result is an exquisite shake that will make your mouth water.

The cake pieces add crunchiness and sweetness, while the chocolate syrup adds more chocolatey flavor to the milkshake.

This indulgent shake is truly a chocolate lover’s dream come true!

Nutritional Information:

850 calories, 25g fat, 138g carbohydrates, 13g protein

3. Whole Chocolate Cake

The best dessert at Portillo’s is the Whole Chocolate Cake, an indulgent cake sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

It is made with rich cocoa powder and butter, giving it a moist and velvety texture. It’s then layered with creamy chocolate frosting for a sweet finish.

This cake is truly a crowd-pleaser and won’t last long on your table.

It’s great for any occasion, whether you are celebrating someone special or want to treat yourself after a long day.

If you want just a small cake without overdoing it, you can get it by the slice instead.

Nutritional Information: (Per Serving)

720 calories, 37g fat, 86g carbohydrates, 6g protein

2. Bacon Double Cheeseburger

I absolutely love Portillo’s Bacon Double Cheeseburger!

In my opinion, it is the best burger at Portillo’s.

It has two char-broiled beef patties, two slices of melted cheese, thick bacon strips, crisp lettuce, and a ripe tomato slice in a toasted bun.

The char-grilled patty is the highlight of the burger, and the bacon adds a salty flavor that compliments the cheese and beef.

The fresh tomato slice and creamy mayo also contribute to the overall tastiness.

The crisp lettuce provides a crunchy texture in every bite and enhances the burger’s flavor.

Nutritional Information:

1130 calories, 68g fat, 47g carbohydrates, 76g protein

1. Maxwell Street Polish Sausage

The Maxwell Street Style Polish Sausage is Portillo’s way to pay tribute to the famous street food of Chicago’s past.

It uses Makowski’s Real Sausage and is named after the Maxwell Street area where Polish sausage street carts used to be popular.

The Polish sausage is grilled to create a slightly charred exterior that gives it a subtle smoky flavor and crisp texture.

Freshly grilled onions are added to create a sweet and savory contrast to the smoky sausage.

Yellow mustard is also included, providing an extra tangy flavor that compliments the hot dog superbly.

All of this is then served in a warm poppy seed bun, making it visually appealing and scrumptious.

If there’s one thing you truly have to experience at Portillo’s, it is the Char-Grilled Maxwell Street Style Polish Sausage – Portillo’s best hot dog!

Nutritional Information:

570 calories, 39g fat, 32g carbohydrates, 25g protein


Portillo’s is a great place for anyone looking to indulge in delicious comfort food.

The wide selection of items on Portillo’s menu offers something for everyone, from Hot Dogs to decadent Chocolate Cake Shake to fully-loaded Bacon Double Cheeseburger.

The Char-Grilled Maxwell Street Style Polish Sausage is an iconic must-try dish that pays homage to the legacy of Chicago street food.

Next time you are craving a hot dog, burger, milkshake, or a delicious pasta dish, head over to Portillo’s near you and enjoy one of the best fast food around.

For more information about Portillo’s, check out the articles below.

About the Author

Lianne Fachetti is a content writer who adores food from all cultures. When she’s not working, she’s busy creating new recipes, trying out new restaurants, playing with her German Shepherd Max, and tending to her vegetable garden.


July 17, 2023