One of the most popular kinds of smoked salmon is lox. Cured in salt and sugar, and either cold or hot smoked, lox is typically made from a salmon’s belly. It’s also one of the most succulent cuts that’s perfectly paired with cream cheese and often a bagel. But not all lox is created equal. It’s found on brunch and breakfast menus throughout the city, and not just at Jewish delicatessens. Here are the five best options in Chicago when you’re craving the perfectly smoked piece of lox.
Eleven City Diner
1112 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
This Southside diner may offer traditional diner fare like burgers and sandwiches, but its owner was also inspired by Jewish delicatessens growing up. As such, the menu features a plethora of Jewish dishes, including latkes and, of course, lox. In fact, it offers a lox box with your choice of regular or nova lox. The old school platter comes topped with onions, capers, tomato, cucumber and olive for a reasonable $13.99. Mix it up and grab a lox paired with a potato latke along with either sour cream or cream cheese, and green onion and capers, for $12.99. Eadie’s smoked fish platter is also available with a box of bagels, perfect for a group, which is priced at $44. All these lox options are on the breakfast menu, but they’re available all day.
Hagen’s Fish Market
5635 W. Montrose Ave.
Chicago, IL 60634
This Portage Park market offers all sorts of seafood. While it does offer a cafe menu with deep-fried seafood and chicken, with sides, the market portion of Hagen’s is all about selling fresh and smoked seafood. Grab a variety of slices from sable, salmon, sturgeon and more, or go the cold-smoked fish route and order some stellar nova lox for a reasonable $21.99 per pound. Another unique aspect of this fish market is that you can bring in your own seafood and it’ll smoke it for you.
225 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60601
With six locations in downtown Chicago, Jaffa Bagels is best known for its delicious roast turkey sandwiches. But it also has a stellar lox and cream cheese combo, which is, of course, slathered on a bagel and topped with tomato and red onion (if you want). And it’s all priced for a incredibly reasonable $5. Lox can also be bought separately for $7.
Related: Best Seafood In Chicago
Dirk’s Fish & Gourmet Shop
2070 N. Clybourn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
If you want any kind of fish or seafood, Dirk’s shop in Lincoln Park is the place to go. That’s because it offers options prepared in gourmet house-made products, completely fresh, frozen or smoked, your choice. Dirk’s also has smoked salmon that can be cut to order. Need some inspiration for your fish dish? Dirk’s offers recipes too.
Once Upon a Bagel
1888 1st St.
Highland Park, IL 60035
Originally opened in 1982, this family-owned restaurant now has a number of locations throughout Chicagoland. Today the bakery and delicatessen serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a stunning array of choices, from sandwiches to bagels, pretzels, salads and omelets. One of the favorite menu items of patrons includes the lox plate, which features lox, of course, in addition to cream cheese, onions, tomatoes and olives for under $10.
Related: Chicago’s Best Sushi
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.