Rather spend your money on sightseeing and shopping than fancy restaurants? You can still taste the best of Chicago without spending a bundle or resorting to fast food. Even college kids stay within their budget while bypassing Subway and tiny greasy burgers. Visiting Chicago to taste what the best chefs have to offer? If money is no object, you can’t miss restaurant row during your trip.
Cheap Eats at the Harrison/Red Line Stop Off the El
The Harrison/Red Line stop is near three college campuses, which means that area restaurants have to be within a student’s budget. Try one of these restaurants and still have money left over.
Restaurant: Amarit Thai
Where:600 South Dearborn Street
Highlights:Amarit Thai serves huge portions for super low prices. The best deals can be found around lunchtime, but even in the evening, dinner’s only an additional 50 cents. Overall, most entrees are under $10. If you want to try more than one dish, you can order two entrees and still not splurge.
Where: 614 South Wabash Avenue
Highlights: Tamarind serves five different cuisines – Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese. Every dish is inexpensive no matter which type of cuisine you go with. Plus, you can get sushi rolls for as low as $3 a pop.
Restaurant: Epic Burger
Where: 517 South State Street
Highlights: Epic Burger’s burgers are made without hormones, antibiotics, nitrates and preservatives. Choose from beef, turkey, chicken and Portobello burgers, all cooked to order for $5.99. Add fresh cut sea salt fries to your meal for just $1.99 more.
Pizza is by far one of the cheapest, most delicious meals you can have, and Chicago is famous for its deep-dish pie. Hop onto the El and hop off at the Pulaski stop, which is the best part of Chicago for pizza. Angelo’s Stuffed Pizza at 4850 Pulaski Road is teeny tiny. While you wouldn’t necessarily want to visit after one glance, order their classic stuffed pizza – you won’t be disappointed, even though you’ll be waiting for a bit. Ricobene’s at 5160 South Pulaski Road serves yummy, crispy pizza by the slice, not to mention a to-die-for breaded steak sandwich.
Pricey Bites at Chef-Centric Restaurants
If you traveled to Chicago mainly for the food, get off the El at the Morgan stop and head to the two area restaurant rows: Fulton Market and Randolph Street.
Restaurant: Next and The Aviary
Where: 953 and 955 West Fulton Market
Highlights: Grant Achatz’s restaurant and adjoining bar serve Latin American cuisine. You have to buy tickets and pre-pay to eat at Next, but you can walk into The Aviary if you didn’t plan ahead. The Aviary takes reservations, too.
Where: 945 West Fulton Market
Highlights: Moto is Chef Homaro Cantu’s flagship restaurant. The space has also been the testing area for culinary innovations and patents for the past ten years. A dining experience at Moto is far from normal. Instead, get ready for a unique, energetic, fun and interactive evening.
Where: 1023 West Lake Street
Highlights: Mark and Liz Mendez own this wine bar that serves Latin Cuisine. In an otherwise busy city, Vera is a relaxing, intimate space. Wines hail from Spain, Europe, North America and South America, and plates are perfect for sharing.
Prefer a gourmet brunch to an exquisite dinner? The Harlem/Lake stop off the El has just what you’re looking for. Delia’s Kitchen at 1034 Lake Street in Oak Park offers a delicious brunch with just the basics, like golden pancakes and fluffy omelets. Munch at 104 North Martion Street in Oak Park is on the other end of the food spectrum, with brunch dishes that utilize tons of avocado and red quinoa for vegetarian customers.
About the author: Burt Webbs is a freelance writer based in Galena, Illinois who enjoys studying historical landmarks. Burt has a passion for writing about Galena lodging, especially the histroical www.ryanmansiongalena.com.