Last month, we took a look at the affordable options in Humboldt Park, so it feels natural to move directly east to see what's available in West Town. That's a lot to cover, and know that this list could have been twice as long, but instead of simply adding in every good dish in the area, we decided to strip the list down to 12 genuinely great options.
'cheap eats' on Serious Eats
This large neighborhood is probably best known for its Puerto Rican community and as the birthplace of the jibarito. But there is much more to explore in Humboldt Park.
It's no secret that the neighborhoods of Lincoln Square and Ravenswood are stuffed with enticing options, but what is most exciting is the variety. Here you'll find old school German joints, cozy neighborhood gems, and perhaps the city's highest concentration of great Thai restaurants.
Sticking under the $10 mark helped narrow the list down to the truly cheap, and I think it is better for it. These are the dishes to look for in Chinatown if you are really looking for a bargain.
Pilsen is best known as the cultural center of Chicago's Mexican population, which partly explains why it contains the most diverse and delicious collection of Mexican restaurants in the city, from beloved old-school institutions like Nuevo Leon to trendy new spots like Del Toro.
Of all the Cheap Eats guides I've put together, this was easily the most personal. I've lived in Logan Square for the past five years, so I feel like I've amassed some serious first hand knowledge of the affordable options.
Whether you're looking for tacos, hot dogs, or Latin American/Korean fusion, Bucktown has so much to offer.
Wicker Park is home to a satisfying mix of cuisines, including established stalwarts and an ever expanding list of new projects. Luckily, many of the places are focused on serving the neighborhood, meaning that finding a stunning, and affordable, meal is easy.
We don't want to get all hyperbolic, but we're unsure if any other neighborhood equals Lakeview in the quantity and diversity of its cheap eats. Sure, the Chicago classics are covered, including some of the best examples of burgers, hot dogs, and pizza in the city. But what we love the is the mix of new and old.
What we love about the best cheap eats in Lincoln Park is that there is an appealing mix of old school joints and new concepts hungry to win over the crowds.
River North, the neighborhood just north of the Chicago River, has no shortage of exceptional restaurants. But eating cheaply here is a totally different prospect, one that requires planning and some serious detective skills.
Ed Levine made ethnic and cheap eats safe for America, or at least New Yorkers, anyway. In some ways, his seminal work, New York Eats, put pastrami and pizza on the same table as foie and truffles. It's precisely why...