Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Aug 24, 2009 08:19 PM

Any recommendation for affordable good places to eat?

Hi, my boyfriend and I are going to be in Chicago for 3 nights and 4 days at the beginning of September. I've already booked Alinea, Avec, and Naha.
Can you recommend some good places with relatively low price tags please? Along the line of:
1. About $50/pp including wine/beer.
2. Neighborhood places/hidden gems most preferred but not essential.
3. No pizza please.

Thank you very much in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Alinea, Avec and Naha are an awesome foundation.

    These ethnic restaurants are all WAY less than $50/person. They're all neighborhood places, totally casual and really good food.

    For great Vietnamese, you can easily take public transportation to Argyle and Broadway. You'll find differences of opinion about what's best. I happen to like Tank on the corners. Others like 777 or 888.

    For authentic Thai, there's Spoon Thai @ 4600 Western Ave and around Wilson (also easy to get to on public trans) or Sticky Rice which is @ 4000 Western at Irving Park. Sticky Rice (my fav) is northern Thai -- as in Chaing Mai . Others like TAC on Sheridan Rd.. All have translated Thai menus.

    There is a Pakistani/Indian strip along Devon and Western. I'm not a huge fan of this genre, but a lot of people like Khan BBQ right on the SW corner.

    Kuma's Corner on Belmont near California is great for burgers.

    I know I'm missing a lot, but surely other people can suggest other places.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chicgail

      Thank you for the recs. I'm adding Sticky Rice and Kuma's Corner to the list.

    2. Definitely Hot Doug's. If you are going on a weekend, be prepared to wait, though!

      1. If you want to have a fun few days of waiting a while to eat (and these are all places where it's often worth the wait):

        Kuma's (an hour or more during peak hours)
        Hot Doug's (expect 1-2 hours on Saturdays)
        Frontera Grill (2 hours or so, every day)

        They'll certainly all fit your budget, although none of them are hidden gems. I really would suggest going to one frontera-style place while you're in town, whether it's Frontera, Mixteco, Real Tenochtitlan, Mexique, Salpicon, Sol de Mexico, etc. This type of upscale mexican remains largely unknown outside of Chicago, and they're within your price point.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gleam

          Thank you for the info. I'll most likely play it by ears then, since I don't want to spend my vacation hours waiting for food.
          I did notice the number of upscale Mexican places in Chicago. From the menus, they look more Mexican Mexican instead of Cal-Mex, right? I'll probably call to reserve at Salpicon to try out.

          Thank you again.

          1. re: gleam

            "This type of upscale mexican remains largely unknown outside of Chicago"

            That's a broad and inaccurate generalization. There are "upscale" and quality regional Mexican restaurants on both coasts and many points in-between.