10 Of The Most Underrated Menu Items Of All Time

There are some restaurants that are inextricably linked to their most popular item, like Domino's pizza or Shake Shack's burgers. They serve food that you don't even think twice about ordering because it's their area of expertise. Why go to Chipotle and not get a burrito or wait in line for In N Out and skip the burger? That is, more often than not, the correct thing to order.

But there are some places where a lesser-known item on the menu is better than the signature dish. Sure, taste is a matter of (ahem) taste. But, if you've ever had the banana pudding at Magnolia, you cannot possibly tell us with a straight face that their cupcakes are better — and that's before we even get to chains like Taco Bell, Starbucks, and California Pizza Kitchen.

Ahead are 10 spots where the under-the-radar menu items can, and regularly do, eclipse the signature dish.

Tacos, Jack in the Box

If you don't live near a Jack in the Box, you likely associate it with the burgers. But there's a slightly unexpected menu item that has had a serious cult following since the 1950s — tacos. They're deep-fried, which probably explains why they're so good, and Americans reportedly eat 554 million of them a year. Their legion of fans includes Selena Gomez.
Entrée Salads, California Pizza Kitchen

Hear us out: we are as obsessed with pizza as anyone, but the giant salads at CPK are a step above. Chopped fine, they're filled with as much not-lettuce as they are lettuce, making it a filling meal where every bite has tons of flavors and textures. We're not even saying stop ordering the pizzas altogether, just consider maybe splitting a pizza and a salad with a friend next time you're there and see what you think.
Breakfast, Taco Bell

When it comes to the fourth meal (a.k.a. munchies), Taco Bell is king. But it's still the new kid on the block when it comes to breakfast. But if you're skipping your first meal at Taco Bell, you're missing out on some of their most genius creations, including breakfast Crunchwraps made with hash browns. Two words: hangover cure.
Banana Pudding, Magnolia Bakery

Thanks, in part, to Sex And The City, Magnolia will always be synonymous with cupcakes. But a far less photogenic dessert on the menu is, in our opinion, even better. It's even reputed to make grown men cry.
Lava Cakes, Domino's Pizza

When pizza is literally in the name (and 90% of the menu), it's easy to forget about this under-the-radar superstar, mini lava cakes. If you, reasonably, skip dessert when ordering in, consider adding it to your next order and enjoying the brownie-cake-hot-fudge combo that is these weirdly delicious sweet.
Chickn Shack, Shake Shack

The subject of heated debate at the Refinery29 offices, there are those that claim that Shake Shack's recently-added Chickn Shack is the true star of the menu. Even if you're #TeamBurger for life, it's hard to deny the appeal: buttermilk-soaked chicken with crisp breading, shredded lettuce, pickles, and a tangy ranch, all on Shake Shack's beloved potato roll.
Photo: Courtesy of Chick-Fil-A.
Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Chick-Fil-A

Waffle fries, dipping sauces, milk shakes — there are plenty of standouts on the Chick-Fil-A menu beyond the original chicken sandwich. But the spicy chicken sandwich might be the best. With the same thick breast meat as the original sandwich, it has the bonus of a spicy breading that adds just a hint of spice and a depth of flavor missing from the regular fried chicken items.
Market Table, Fogo de Chão

A Brazilian-style steakhouse known for all-you-can-eat grilled meats might be the last place you expect to find an incredible salad bar, but Fogo de Chão's Market Table (also all-you-can-eat, natch) is a literal smorgasbord of farm-fresh and seasonal options. Plus, most places, its only $15 at lunch.
Breakfast Sandwiches, Starbucks

Starbuck's became the world's third-largest restaurant chain because of its coffee, but not all that is tasty is caffeinated. The breakfast sandwiches, pre-made and heated to order, might not seem like an obvious choice, but they're an easy way to grab a satisfying and cheap breakfast on the go. Plus, you can get Sriracha sauce to go with it.
Brown Sugar DKA, Dominique Ansel

The cronut king sells way more than just doughnut hybrids, but the best, for our money, is the DKA. Technically a Kouign-amann, a type of pastry from the north of France, it most resembles a candied croissant. Much simpler than the cronut, it still manages to surpass its Insta-famous sibling in texture and taste. Bonus points: no need to wait in long lines to get one.
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