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Guide - Restaurants - Best Value

Athenian Room

807 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 773-348-5155

Description: WRIGLEYVILLE. This casual Greek diner serves up consistently tasty and authentic Greek food to hungry locals, including a mix of students and professionals. Menu items include kebabs, gyros, pita sandwiches, and the restaurant's signature Chicken Kalamata. They also serve several hearty American dishes like burgers and fries. No reservations and virtually zero ambiance means this place isn't fancy, but it is a great value with most items being under $10.
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Café Iberico

737 N LaSalle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654 312-573-1510

Description: RIVER NORTH. This popular Spanish restaurant once had only four tables, but now it can seat more than 400 with ease. And, the house is usually packed, thanks to authentic tapas offerings and an upbeat, festive atmosphere. Have a fruity pitcher of sangria and order hot and cold appetizer-sized dishes like baked goat cheese, vegetarian Spanish omelets, chicken brochette with caramelized onions or grilled octopus. A gourmet food shop lets you try to recreate your favorites when back at home. Reservations accepted for parties of six or more. EL: Red Line to Chicago/State or Brown Line to Chicago
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Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop

825 Church St, Evanston, IL 60201 847-733-9030

Description: EVANSTON. Located north of Chicago, this restaurant offers casual-style Deep South fare in an authentic, down-home setting that includes old license plates, rusty aluminum signs, and even an old timey gas pump. The Southern menu includes such comfort food as fried green tomatoes, johnny cakes with honey butter, blackened catfish fillet, jambalaya, and, of course, well-stocked Louisana gumbo. Full bar.
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Ed Debevic's

640 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654 312-664-1707

Description: RIVER NORTH. A must for Chicago first-timers, Ed's is a true Windy City treasure. Reminiscent of a '50s-style roadside diner, the restaurant's retro decor and fun music are always a big hit with guests. After all, this is the place that once sold "Ed's Burp" tee-shirts! While the menu includes homestyle favorites like Ed's Mom's Meatloaf, chicken pot pie, and chicken-fried steak, regulars know that burgers are king here. Go for the always-reliable Ed's Blue Moon Burger or the Route 66, either of which tastes better with a bottle of Ed's Beer. And don't worry: As always, the flurry of insults is free!
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Froggy's French Cafe

306 Green Bay Rd, Highwood, IL 60040 847-433-7080

Description: HIGHWOOD. This restaurant serves delectable seafood, French-style. Friendly prices, a large wine list, and friendly service all add up to recommend a restaurant that delivers terrific food for everyday dining. Try crab cakes to start, and then consider a salmon filet accented with shallots and sweet bell pepper sauce. Meat and poultry items also abound ­ try sliced pot roast or duck with orange sauce for a taste of the kitchen's bounty.
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135 E Lake St, Prudential Plaza, Chicago, IL 60601 312-616-1200

Description: THE LOOP. No trip to the Windy City is complete without sampling the distinctive deep-dish pizza. A great place to start is the Prudential Plaza location of this popular Chicago-style chain, whose spinach deep-dish has gained legendary status. If meat is your thing, go for the classic cheese pie topped with pepperoni, sausage, and fresh garlic. A variety of pasta and salad dishes is also available. When you head back home, you may get the craving for Giordano's. Don't fret: you can order frozen pizzas via their website!
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Heaven on Seven

111 N Wabash Ave, Garland Bldg, 7th fl, Chicago, IL 60602 312-263-6443

Description: THE LOOP. For Cajun and Creole favorites, you can't miss Heaven on Seven. Thanks to a location in a popular shopping area, it entices many locals to stop in for some of the zestiest gumbo this side of the Mason-Dixon. Or, try red beans and rice, jambalaya, or a catfish po' boy. All the Louisiana-style classics are boldly flavored and expertly prepared. Choose your poison from the wall of fiery hot sauces if you're feeling brave. The huge menu also offers basic lunchtime fare like deli sandwiches and burgers if you aren't in the mood for spice. Either way, the place is full of color and bustling with activity. Cash only.
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Mt. Everest Restaurant

630 Church St, Evanston, IL 60201 847-491-1069

Description: EVANSTON. This eatery with the interesting name ­ it serves Indian and Nepalese cuisine ­ serves top-quality fare, and the lunch buffet provides great value with hot entrees, salads, and desserts. The menu features vegetarian selections, tandoori dishes, and lots of options centered around chicken, lamb, or seafood. Drinks include Himalayan tea, wine, and Indian beers. The interior gains interest with colorful Himalayan prints, and traditional Indian music plays overhead.
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Penny's Noodle Shop ­ Lincoln Park

950 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614 773-281-8448

Description: LINCOLN PARK. As you would expect, Penny's specialty is noodles! And she sells a lot of them to the hip crowd that packs her Sheffield Avenue location every night. Though the fare is admittedly, "Thai for the American palette," regulars swear the soups and pad Thai are some of the best in town ­ for a bargain price. Penny's is extremely popular, so expect to wait for a table, and bring your own liquor since Penny's doesn't have a license. EL: Red Line to Belmont
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Penny's Noodle Shop ­ Oak Park

1130 Chicago Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302 708-660-1300

Description: OAK PARK. As you might expect, Penny's specialty is noodles! And she sells a lot of them to the hip crowd that packs this location every night. Though the fare is admittedly, "Thai for the American palate," regulars swear that the soups and pad Thai are some of the best in town ­ for a bargain price. Penny's is extremely popular, so expect to wait for a table, and bring your own liquor since Penny's doesn't have a license. EL: Red Line to Belmont
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Pizzeria Due

619 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 312-943-2400

Description: RIVER NORTH. Two true Chicago staples, Uno and Due, serve classic deep-dish pies and are the local shrines that started the Chicago-style phenomenon. Expect a crowd at either of these sibling pizzerias, and be prepared to wait. As you do, dream of a bacon cheeseburger pie, a shroom version, or the signature pizza, loaded with sausage, pepperoni, romano and mozzarella, and loads of veggies and tomato sauce. If, for some reason, you don't crave a pizza, consider burgers, salads, and everything from steaks to seafood and pastas.
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Pizzeria Uno

29 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611 312-321-1000

Description: MAGNIFICENT MILE. The place for Chicago-style pizza. The original Pizzeria Uno, while quintessentially American in theme and cuisine, deserves particular recognition for its fabulous thin-crust and deep-dish pizza pies, which send lunchtime crowds away full and happy. On the go? Check out their fabulous "Priority Lunches," which include everything from Chicken Spinoccoli (baked chicken and broccoli in pesto cream sauce) and classic Chicago pies to fish-and-chips and sirloin tips. If pizza isn't your bag, they also serve tasty sandwiches, burgers, and pastas.
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222 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60661 312-454-0800

Description: GREEKTOWN. Since 1973, this local standout has prepared traditional Greek dishes. Great fare includes braised lamb, homemade Greek sausages, fried squid, roast lamb loin, dolmades, and orange roughy. The restaurant's casual ambiance features Greek music playing in the background and quaint knickknacks adorning the blue and coral-hued interior.
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Superdawg Drive-In

6363 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60646 773-763-0660

Description: NORTHWEST. Family-owned since 1948, this hot dog drive-in is a local institution, not only for its great menu but for its enormous, roof-top wiener mascots. An indoor dining room is available, but most folks take advantage of the retro carhop service. Hot dogs are the prize, nestled in poppy-seed buns and done up with relish, pickle spears, hot peppers, and pickled tomatoes. They come with hot, salt-sprinkled fries and make a great accompaniment to rich malts and shakes. Other possibilities: burgers, chicken breast sandwiches, Polish sausages, fish sandwiches, and ice cream. A kitschy classic that absolutely lives up to the hype.
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1014 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607 312-829-1990

Description: LITTLE ITALY. For terrific Northern Italian cuisine, Tuscany offers an upscale option in the Little Italy section of town. This cozy eatery, which tends to get a little cramped at times, is as popular with youthful hipsters as it is with downtown suits. During those "brisk" Chicago winters, their wood-burned gourmet pizzas are positively heaven-sent. Not just for locals, Tuscany has treated such "tourists" as former President Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore. Traditional pasta dishes are also available.
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Viceroy of India

2520 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659 773-743-4100

Description: WARREN PARK. This relaxed restaurant serves truly authentic Indian food. The lunch buffet is a big draw thanks to a variety of options at reasonable prices. Order lamb, chicken, rice, vegetarian, or tandoori selections. Representative fare includes chicken vindaloo (cooked in a zesty tomato sauce and served with potatoes) and lamb curry (cooked in an onion and tomato sauce). Northern and southern dishes both make appearances, as do a range of flavorful breads and mild sweets.
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