Restaurants for Budget Travelers in Chicago 

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  • 1


    41 reviews

    It's kind of touristy, but if you like a good cheesesteak, the sandwich here with sweet peppers and mozzarella is pretty unreal. Get a lot of napkins.

    Popular withFoodiesBackpackersBudget
  • 2

    Bourgeois Pig Cafe

    4 reviews

    The Bourgeois Pig is a great place to meet a friend or a colleague for coffee or ice cream, and also a good place to grab a table for a couple hours of work (though it is often crowded, so you won't always be able to find an empty table). I especially like coming here in the late spring and ...

    Popular withBudgetLocalFoodies
  • 3

    Lou Mitchell's Restaurant & Bakery

    Lou Mitchell's was started in 1923 and I first came here in 1993 after I picked up the book Road Food. My ex-wife and I came in mid-week (with no line) and were charmed by the old Chicago ambiance, the good and plentiful food, and of course a choice of donut holes or milk duds. In fact, I still have ...

    Popular withBudgetHistoryFamilies
  • 4

    Rock N Roll McDonald's

    9 reviews

    Couldn't say no to visiting McDonalds in Chicago. It's one of the biggest one I've been in (and they have an escalator). Why this one is special: - Convenient location after a bar outing - it's 24hours - The furnitures are clean and modern - Plenty of space to lounge around - The second floor is covered in history of ...

    Popular withFamiliesLocalBudget
  • 5

    Greek Islands

    11 reviews

    Ever since I was a kid, my favorite place to eat out in Chicago has been Greektown, exotic and homey all at once, and the food! Everything is tasty, different, and fun. Greek Islands is a great place for groups of four or more. Order, pass around, taste, drink. Tell stories. It's all good.

    Popular withFoodiesFamiliesBudget
  • 6

    Giordano's Pizzeria on Rush

    37 reviews

    If you are visiting Chicago for vacation or just a weekend getaway, I highly recommend that you try "Chicago" deep dish pizza at least once during the visit. I haven't been to many pizzerias in Chicago, but Giordano's Pizzeria serves excellent deep dish pizza. The wait for a seat during lunch and dinner is proof of the restaurant's popularity and ...

    Popular withFoodiesBudgetStudents
  • 7


    13 reviews

    What can I say about Rick Bayless that hasn't been said? Just go, for crying out loud. Stand in the line and don't complain about it, because you're going to get amazing food at a reasonable price.

    Popular withFoodiesBudgetOutdoor
  • 8


    2 reviews

    Great bowl of soup - hard to get out of this place with out wanting to order everything, pierogis, potato pancakes, Bigos stew, stuffed cabbage. But best deal on a bowl of soup with bread $3.50 in town!

    Popular withBudgetLocalFoodies
  • 9

    Big Chicks

    4 reviews

    great fun...relaxed atmosphere..but never sleepy. Monday's is $1 burger night...very popular. Thursday's is bear night. Sunday's @ around 4pm is a free bbq. Fri and Sat nights get a great mixed crowd. also has restaurant open during the day. eclectic menu...something for everyone...many veggie / vegan options but plenty for the carnivores too

    Popular withLGBTFoodiesBudget
  • 10

    Kuma's Corner

    There are three things you'll notice when you walk into Kuma's for the first time. 1) The loud heavy metal music. 2) The pierced, tattooed crowd. 3) The long wait. Do not be deterred. The burgers: huge, juicy, covered in unique and flavorful toppings. They're heavy metal themed, with names like Megadeath and Slayer, and finishing one will make you ...

    Popular withFoodiesLocalBudget
  • 11

    Sprinkles Cupcakes Chicago

    8 reviews

    If I knew who invented the Cupcake ATM, I would find her and kiss her. You swipe your card, you scroll through all the varieties (ALL the varieties--there are a ton!) Sprinkles has that day, you pick your favorite, and it pops right out in a nice little box, ready for snacking while you walk, or to take back to ...

    Popular withFoodiesBudgetStudents
  • 12

    Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen

    9 reviews

    I love going through the cafeteria-style line and kibitzing with the cooks and servers. The corned beef is great, each sandwich has enough for two. Try the kishka, and a vanilla cream, and a pickle, and some cole slaw. There's a parking lot out back.

    Popular withLocalFamiliesBudget
  • 13


    4 reviews

    The signature drink at Ipsento, some crazy concoction of coconut and cayenne, is going to be the best thing that's happened to you in a long, long time. This coffee shop is cozy, quiet, and warm. I'm a fan of the reading series they host on Saturday nights as well.

    Popular withLocalBudgetStudents
  • 14

    Garrett Popcorn

    4 reviews

    I sought out Garrett's in the Chicago O'Hare Airport based on an enthusiastic recommendation from native Chicagoan, fellow travel writer and dear friend Jill. When I told Jill I had a stopover in Chicago she immediately shouted out "Garrett's Popcorn!" I was instructed to try their famous Chicago mix with cheddar cheese and carmel corn and I was nt disappointed! ...

    Popular withFoodiesLocalBudget
  • 15

    Jim's Original

    4 reviews

    This stand tends to be a favorite sausage run for any late night cravings. There's no seating, but there is a counter to stand by along their wall outside for balmier days. Hence, whoever can just drive there and grab a bunch of polish sausages for you is your new best friend.

    Popular withFoodiesBudgetLocal
  • 16

    Mario's Italian Lemonade

    2 reviews

    It isn't summer in Chicago until you go to Mario's for some Italian Ice! They are only open from May- September so don't miss out. My favorite is Tutti Fruitti.

    Popular withBudgetFoodiesStudents
  • 17

    The Boiler Room

    3 reviews

    When you get tired of Chicago Style Pizza, the incredible thin crust pizza at Boiler Room will save you. At just a few bucks a slice, you won't go broke trying a few different varieties (but you can't go wrong with the pepperoni). There's a great beer list if a PBR and a shot of Jameson isn't your thing. Don't ...

    Popular withLocalStudentsBudget
  • 18


    2 reviews

    Tiffin is the go to Indian restaurant for my friends and family. We've been enjoying their food for years. On my last visit to Chicago some friends and I went for lunch on a Saturday and opted for the all-you-can-eat buffet. There were lots of great dishes, and all were delicious and well-prepared. I had the palak paneer, a chicken ...

    Popular withBudgetLocal
  • 19

    Pho Xe Tang (Tank Noodle)

    5 reviews

    Chicago's best Vietnamese restaurant! Despite the giant menu, it is difficult to venture away from their generous bowl of pho. Their broth for pho is so comforting. The bahn mi selection is great and is made with the perfect bread -- I want to use that for all kinds of sandwiches! The catfish in clay pot dish is also addicting.

    Popular withFoodiesBudgetLocal
  • 20

    El Cid

    2 reviews

    You can't beat the value at El Cid, a Logan Square institution. I love the chimichanga (who doesn't love a deep fried burrito?) and the spicy salsa verde. Come when the weather's nice, ask to sit on the back patio, and order a margarita. You won't regret this, I swear.

    Popular withStudentsBudgetLocal
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