Eat a Lot, Pay a Little for Tasty Food in Chicago

Jamie Bartosch

By , Local Expert, Chicago
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Words like frugal, value, and deal mean different things to different people. So at 10Best, we picked a few of our favorite places where you can eat a yummy meal without spending tons of cash. A few of our favorites include Superdawg Drive-In and Al's #1, which are low in cost and among the quintessential Chicago dining experiences. While places like this get high marks for personality, they also are high in calories. That's why we also included some healthier options on our best value list. After all, you can only eat so much deep-dish pizza, hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches before you crave something that doesn't come...  Read more »

  • 1

    Al's #1

    It's THE place for an Italian beef sandwich in Chiacgo. Don't be fooled by the no-frills interios. The beef sandwiches are delicious.

    Local Expert Tip: "Grab plenty of napkins and lean forward when you take a bite, so the beef juice doesn't drip on our shirt."

  • 2

    Superdawg Drive-In

    • Cuisine: American, Burger
    • Average Main Course Price: $5
    • Neighborhood: Northwest

    The throwback, friendly feel of this place compliments its tasty, super-sized hot dogs and french fries in a box.

    Local Expert Tip: "Don't call them hot dogs when you're ordering. They're Superdawgs."

  • 3

    Penny's Noodle Shop — Lincoln Park

    Locals flock to this place because you're in, you're out, the noodle dishes are consistently good, and it's an inexpensive meal.

    Local Expert Tip: "Finding a table here can be challenging during peak hours. So to feel less squeezed, try going during off-hours."

  • 4

    Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop

    With quality southern food and a cute interior, it's a great place to meet friends when you don't want to spend a lot.

    Local Expert Tip: "Try the jambalaya -- it's packed full of shrimp, andouillie sausage and rice, with just the right amount of kick."

  • 5

    Lou Malnati's Pizzeria - River North

    The deep dish pizza is among the best in Chicago.

    Local Expert Tip: "The wait for a deep-dish pizza can be up to 45 minutes, so call and place your pizza order in advance. That way it'll be waiting for you."

  • 6

    Sultan's Market

    Warm pita, flavorful meats and budget-friendly prices make this a great and quick grab-a-bite spot.

    Local Expert Tip: "While they're best known for their falafel, their shwerma dishes are just as delicious."

  • 7

    Heaven on Seven

    There aren't many inexpensive downtown restaurants, but this is one of them.

    Local Expert Tip: "Just for fun, try a super hot sauce. And be sure to capture the moment with video!"

  • 8

    Opart Thai

    Consistently good food, a cozy interior and an off-the-L location make this budget meal a standout.

    Local Expert Tip: "Take the train. It's right across the street from the Western Ave. Brown Line "L" stop, and there are lots of places to walk around and see afterward."

  • 9

    The Original Gino's East of Chicago

    While it's touristy, the grafitti-covered walls add ambience while eating some of the best deep dish pizza in Chicago.

    Local Expert Tip: "Bring a marker! The walls are covered in grafitti, and you can add your doodles to the collection."

  • 10


    Solid food, attentive service, and a more upscale atmosphere than most Greek and Mediterranean restaurants,...  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "The best value is their large lunch buffet."


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