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ISO Lakeview area and/or downtown dinner recs that won't break the bank

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I'm coming to Chicago on business mid-November for two nights, and looking for places for 2 dinners and one lunch that are legit good places but not super expensive. I'm happy to head downtown if that's really my best bet, but bonus points for places in Lakeview area, since that's where I'll be. I'd prefer not to spend more than 50 on dinner and ideally I'd like that to cover more than just an entree. I've been to a couple of Chicago's great restos -- Spiaggia, Topolo, a few more -- but from a cursory search, the ones I'd love to try -- Vermilion, Naha, Blackbird, etc -- are in the 30-something range for an entree, which is too much this time around. Would love some direction re: places I haven't tried. Happy to go cheap ethnic, if that's the best route (someone recommended JoyYee, if that means anything). Thanks in advance.

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Spiaggia
980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Naha
500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

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  1. I'd love to see where this thread goes.
    IMO, you are better off. I have a feeling you will be discovering more of what Chicago dining is about this time around. Just my opinion.

    1. I rarely eat downtown because after work, I want to go home. Here are some of my favorite places accessible by public transporation.

      Hopleaf (www.hopleaf.com) in Andersonville. #22 Clark bus north to Foster. Outstanding selection of craft beer, killler mussels, and one of my favorite sandwiches in Chicago CB&J.

      Ras Dashen (www.rasdashenchicago.com) Red Line to Thorndale. A short block walk south on Broadway. Eithopian Food. Excellent even solo.

      Caro Mio (www.caromiochicago.com) Brown line to Montrose. BYOB Italian. Most of their dishes feature home-made pasta. Very good.

      Mixteco Grill (http://www.yelp.com/biz/mixteco-grill...) Brown Line to Montrose again. But walk 4 blocks east to Ashland. Chef Bayless trained chef. BYOB upscale Mexican. One of my favorite places in the city. Definitely call for reservations.

      I realize that these aren't in Lakeview proper but you don't say where in Lakeview you are.

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      Hopleaf Bar
      5148 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

      1. I really like the style of restaurants you named, but can't handle the day to day prices either - not that they are bad, just too bad they are more than I choose to spend most nights out.

        Here are a few:
        Terragusta - two locations, Addison is BYOB, great food, you can find many reviews to support this view

        Raw Bar - bit of an odd menu in that it covers seafood and then for some reason goes middle eastern - we stick witht eh seafood and entrees, great food, cozy dining room - not great rest rooms (they should fix this)

        Sapori Trattoria - neighborhood Italian feel without being all about big heavy red sauce. Excellent food, solid service and the price is right.

        Mia Francesca - a bit Chicago cliche, but I still like it - you will likely have to wait for a table though

        Cafe 28 - it has been a while but we liked this despite the odd location right by the tracks - noise was not a problem outside of Cubs game days in the bar area (which I still find odd)

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        Sapori Trattoria
        2701 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60657

        Mia Francesca
        3311 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60657