Chicago’s 13 Best Budget-Friendly Restaurants

Chicago’s 13 Best Budget-Friendly Restaurants

1. Tank Noodle

Image result for tank noodle chicago

“Tank Noodle has a huge menu, but the main reason to come here is for the pho. Nothing compares to a steaming bowl of this stuff on a blustery winter (or spring) day. If soup isn’t your thing, they also have a million types of Vietnamese noodles and super cheap sandwiches.”

2. Pollo Express

Pollo Express

“This hole-in-the-wall in Pilsen is known for it’s amazing freshly grilled chicken. For only $9.50, you can get half a chicken plus two sides, which is guaranteed to give you at least two full meals. Show up on a Tuesday or Thursday and if you order a whole chicken with sides, you’ll get another half chicken for free.”

3. Calumet Fisheries

Calumet Fisheries

“When you think of the South Side, quality seafood probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, Calumet is one of only a few authentic smokehouses in Illinois. Make the trek for one of their fried fish or shrimp dinners, and pick up some smoked seafood while you’re at it.”

4. Lawrence Fish Market

Lawrence Fish Market Chicago

“I’m really not sure how Lawrence Fish Market manages to sell such great sushi at such low prices, but I’m not questioning it and neither should you. A majority of the rolls are under $5, and many of the sashimi options are only $1. No, those numbers are not typos.”

5. Harold’s Chicken Shack

Harold's Chicken Shack Chicago

“Many people consider Harold’s to be the king of fried chicken in the Chicago area. While the menu has a huge selection of chicken, fish, and wing combos, go for the 1/4 white or dark meat chicken dinner, which comes with fries, coleslaw, and bread, perfect for soaking up the leftover Harold’s sauce, which is a must.”

6. Dimo’s Pizza

Dimo's Pizza Chicago

“Located in the heart of Wrigleyville, Dimo’s is a great place to stop after a long night spent celebrating a Cubs win. However, their creative flavor combinations also make it a great place to stop during the daylight hours. There’s always a new seasonal slice to try.”

7. Walker Brother’s Pancake House

Walker Brother's Pancake House Chicago

“Does the name sound familiar? You might recognize it from Mean Girls— the prize for winning Spring Fling queen was two gift certificates to Walker Bro’s. Yes, it’s real, and affordable. Go for the pancakes, duh.”

8. Sultan’s Market

Sultan's Market Chicago

“Chicago residents love this Middle Eastern place for its huge portions and great prices. The falafel and shawarma sandwiches are definitely the most popular, but they also have a huge salad bar where you can pile your takeout box high with hummus and tabouleh for only $6.95/lb.”

9. Cemitas Puebla

Cemitas Puebla Chicago

“Cemitas Puebla serves up monster sandwiches on freshly baked rolls piled high with avocado, cheese, homemade chipotle sauce, and your choice of meat. With three locations around the city, a filling, cheap meal is never far away.”

10. Andy’s Thai Kitchen

Andy's Thai Kitchen Chicago

“Andy’s has been praised time and again for having some of the best Thai food in Chicago. They also have some of the best prices. Go between 11 am-2:30 pm Monday through Friday to take advantage of their lunch special: an appetizer and entrée for just $7.50.”

11. The Boiler Room

boiler room chicago

“This pizza joint is known for their PB&J special: a slice of pizza, can of PBR, and a shot of Jameson, all for $8.50. And no, this isn’t one of those weekly specials—you can get this deal all day, every day. With prices this good, you’ll be able to afford a cup of their boozy soft serve for dessert.”

12. Ann Sather Restaurant

ann sather chicago

“Ann Sather is a Scandinavian-inspired diner that’s been around since World War II. They serve up traditional Swedish pancakes and meatballs, but the real reason people flock here on the weekends is for the cinnamon rolls. Bring a friend, order a coffee, and split two rolls for $3.50 for the cheapest and best breakfast in the city.”

13. Cheesie’s Pub & Grub

cheesies chicago grilled cheese

“If you’re not a fan of grilled cheese, Cheesie’s is not for you, because spoiler alert, it’s basically all they sell (although if you don’t like grilled cheese, I would say you have some deeper issues to resolve). Hit up any of their three locations for a grilled cheese made with everything from bacon to chorizo to mac and cheese.”