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What are the best not super expensive restaurants in Chicago?

jamiehaya73 Sep 10, 2013 11:18 AM

What are the best not super expensive restaurants in Chicago?

  1. k
    kathryn Sep 10, 2013 11:33 AM

    How would you define "best" and "not super expensive"?

    Do you have a ballpark budget, per person, in mind?

    Cuisines? Location?

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn
      jamiehaya73 Sep 10, 2013 11:58 AM

      There are 5 of us and thinking $80-$100 per person or less. Just looking for cool spots, hidden gems etc. Could be a dive that's awesome.

      1. re: jamiehaya73
        kathryn Sep 10, 2013 02:33 PM

        When are you going to visit Chicago?

        How long would you be willing to wait for a table at a place like Au Cheval, Girl and the Goat, Purple Pig, Fat Rice, etc?

        1. re: jamiehaya73
          mdpilam Sep 12, 2013 08:22 AM

          A dive that's awesome?
          Rainbow Cuisine Thai

      2. w
        willyum Sep 10, 2013 12:02 PM

        Check out the Michelin Guide. They rank the best restaurants with one to three stars and most of these are of course expensive, but they also have a separate 'Bib Gourmand' category.

        Bib Gourmand restaurants "indicate quality restaurants that are affordable (less than $40 for two courses plus dessert)."

        There are 64 BG restaurants in the 2013 guide. You can browse the list here:
        http://articles.chicagotribune.com/20... ... I don't even live in Chicago but a lot of those names are familiar to me from Chowhound :)

        1. Gonzo70 Sep 10, 2013 01:13 PM

          My favorites would be Embeya (Asian Fusion), the Lobby (Contemporary American), Boka (Contemporary American) and iNG (Modernist Cuisine). None of these is cheap by any means, but I have had consistently great food and service at these venues and they are significantly cheaper than Chicago's priciest restaurants. You can have a nice dinner and moderate alcohol for $100 per/person (before tax and gratuity) at all of these (Embeya even less than $100).

          1. m
            masha Sep 10, 2013 01:22 PM

            To Gonzo's list, I would add Perennial Virant as a nice spot that is within your price range.

            As to restaurants well below that price point -- in the spirit of a "dive that's awesome" -- you might consider Sun Wah, where you will be hard-pressed to spend $30/pp. It' s a Chinese restaurant located in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. Reserve at least one day in advance and preorder the Peking Duck.

            1. s
              Siun Sep 11, 2013 09:27 PM

              Chicago has tons of options in the $80 -100 price range. In fact, if you're not having a lot of alcohol, you can go to Naha for example in that price range and they are among the very best.

              Inovasi in the suburbs is less - and worth a train ride as is Paul Virant's Vie.

              We recently had a lovely meal at Vincent - some truly stunning dishes and good cocktails.

              I'd second Sun Wah as well.
              (I would not, btw, trust the Michelin ratings for Chicago which many of us feel miss the mark in terms of selections).

              1. m
                mdpilam Sep 12, 2013 08:20 AM

                Some of our favorites:

                Purple Pig
                Piccolo Sogno
                Cafe Spiaggia
                Mercat a la Planxa

                1. j
                  jamiehaya73 Sep 12, 2013 11:39 AM

                  thanks everyone! Lots to look into.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jamiehaya73
                    GourmetWednesday Sep 12, 2013 09:44 PM

                    My choice would be to make a reservation at Maude's Liquor Bar and ask to sit upstairs. I really like the mix of sharable food, drinks, service, and atmosphere.

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