I like to consider myself a bit of a foodie. I love trying new things and working unexpected flavors into my diet. Sometimes, the new and unexpected things work out great. Other times, not so much.
When that happens, I instantly turn to comfort food for, well, comfort. The Portillo’s menu has all that and more!
Burgers, hot dogs, crunchy fries, and rich chocolate cake are some of my favorite comfort foods. They’re a surefire way to bring a smile to my face, so I’m always on the hunt for a new place to get my fix.
Portillo’s is truly the perfect place for old-fashioned comforts reminiscent of the ice cream parlors of yesteryear. With its retro decor and homemade recipes, it’s a great place to pop in and grab a bite to eat.
In this article, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite Portillo’s dishes. They have a little bit of everything, from salads to big, beefy sandwiches, so you’ll have no problem finding something that works for you.
Best Portillo’s Menu Items
- Chopped Salad
- Italian Beef Sandwich
- Chocolate Cake Shake
- Cheese Fries
- Hot Dog
- Greek Salad
- Big Beef Sandwich
- Chocolate Cake
On those rare days that I’m not in the mood for a burger, beef sandwich, or hot dog, I love Portillo’s Chopped Salad. Don’t let the name fool you. This salad is a complete meal in a bowl, served up fresh to order.
The Chopped Salad at Portillo’s comes with a crunchy mix of romaine and iceberg topped with everything you could possibly want in a salad. It’s truly a Portillo’s fan favorite!
Juicy chicken, crunchy bacon, ditalini pasta, tomatoes, scallions, cabbage, and, my favorite part, gorgonzola cheese, top off this salad. All of it gets finished off with Portillo’s homemade house dressing.
Italian Beef Sandwich
Did you say “slow-roasted beef?” If you did, you’re in luck because Portillo’s Italian Beef Sandwich is absolutely to die for. I love a hearty beef sandwich on soft Italian bread, and this sandwich didn’t disappoint.
Portillo’s chefs start by piling their famous slow-roasted beef onto freshly baked bread. If that isn’t enough to make your mouth water, wait until you hear about the gravy.
It’s full of flavor, thanks to the secret blend of spices Portillo’s uses to give their beef sandwiches a unique taste.
The best part is that you can customize this sandwich. Personally, I’m a dipper. However, I also love to add the hot giardiniera peppers on top to give it an extra zip of spice.
An old standby favorite of mine is a nice, juicy burger. Portillo’s has a great selection, but for me, simplicity is key. I love their classic ⅓-pound Hamburger.
It’s char-grilled, so it has that nice, right from the grill flavor that makes a burger something special. It’s perfect if you want flavors that bring fond summer memories to mind.
The burgers are served in a pretty standard way. Mayo, lettuce, a slice of tomato, thinly sliced red onion, and, of course, pickles and ketchup are piled on top of the patty on an old-fashioned burger bun.
Everything on it is freshly made and sliced, so you’ll have no problem getting the full burger experience.
Chocolate Cake Shake
A trip to Portillo’s won’t be complete until you’ve sampled at least one (or two) of their desserts. They have plenty of shakes and cakes to choose from, but my favorite by far is the Chocolate Cake Shake.
Even though pretty much any milkshake has me reaching for a straw, this one is especially fun.
A chocolate milkshake takes on a whole new meaning with this yummy drink. You can choose whatever flavor of ice cream you like, and the Portillo’s crew will shake it up with a nice slice of chocolate cake.
I’m a big fan of vanilla ice cream for this shake because it gives it a flavor similar to a Black & White.
Oh, and my favorite part? It never once clogged my straw.
Cheese fries are a weakness of mine. A big one, I’ll admit.
Portillo’s always gets me with their fries because they’re crunchy on the outside and airy on the inside, sprinkled with just the right amount of salt, and served with the best dipping cheese you could ask for.
I pretty much always add these to my regular food order. They’re nice if I want to add something substantial to the side of a salad or as a side for my hot dog. Sometimes, though, I just want a quick snack, and these babies take the cake.
I’ve never—I repeat, never—had a hot dog quite like a Portillo’s hot dog before. At first, the poppy seed roll kind of threw me off, but it actually turned out to be pretty amazing. This Chicago-style dog definitely takes the cake.
This hot dog is topped with a little bit of everything. Mustard, relish, and ketchup are the standard condiments, of course.
But to shake it up, Portillo’s adds celery salt, fresh onions, diced tomatoes, a pickle, and peppers.
If the Chopped Salad isn’t quite what you’re looking for, check out Portillo’s Greek Salad. I’m not a huge olive fan, so I left the Kalamatas off, but aside from that, this dish had everything I could ask for in a meal-sized salad.
The Greek Salad starts with a bed of crunchy romaine. Then, the cooks top it with juicy grilled chicken, slices of tomato and red onion, Kalamata olives, and cucumber. And, of course, a nice helping of feta cheese.
Their yummy Greek vinaigrette comes on the side, so you can use as much or as little as you want.
Big Beef Sandwich
Portillo’s Italian Beef Sandwich is perfect if you want to grab a sandwich for lunch without feeling too full. But what if your stomach is rumbling for something bigger?
Fortunately, Portillo’s offers a great solution with their Big Beef Sandwich.
With 50% more beef on a larger roll than their Italian Beef Sandwich, the Big Beef Sandwich will keep you covered for a while. You can top it with gravy, roasted peppers, or giardiniera to add a bit more flavor, or simply enjoy the homemade, slow-roasted goodness on its own.
Although Portillo’s Chocolate Cake Shake hits the top of my favorite dessert list, the Chocolate Cake that goes into it is an excellent option if you’re looking for something to eat with a fork that won’t guarantee a major case of brain freeze.
The cake slice Portillo’s offers is perfect for sharing. Or, if you have room, you can keep the whole piece to yourself. What I really like is that you can also purchase a whole cake.
So if you love your slice and want to go for a second (or third) at home, you can buy a whole cake to take with you.
Portillo’s is an excellent choice of restaurant if you want the simplicity of a burger, an old-fashioned milkshake, or a guilt-free salad.
I’m a huge fan because I love comfort food, but it’s also a great place to go if you want to satisfy your craving for a summer BBQ in the dead of winter.
I hope I’ve given you a good idea of what kind of dishes to expect when you go into Portillo’s. Whether you run in for take-out or sit down for a spell, you’ll have a great time soaking in the old-school atmosphere.
With its checkered walls, indoor hot dog stand, and picnic-style tablecloths, you’ll feel right at home when you visit.
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