Finding a great place to eat, on the cheap, is easy in River North. This area of the city probably has one of the highest concentrations of restaurants and more keep opening so there are many options. Here are the best quality, lower cost options.
All prices were valid at the time of this post and can change without notice. Prices stated don’t include beverage, tax and tip. Cheers!
Alliance Patisserie, 615 N State St., (312) 374-4144. Sandwiches and cheese plates.
Big & Little’s, 860 North Orleans Street, 312-943-0000. Cash only. Most everything under $10.
Brett’s Kitchen, 233 W. Superior St., 312-664-6354. Fresh, healthy and reasonably priced food at. Limited seating gets crowded may be best for take out.
Bub City, 435 North Clark Street, 312-610-4200. Most entrees are under $15.
Cafe Iberico 737 North LaSalle Drive, 312-573-1510. Insanely good and insanely cheap tapas. Have a sangria or two and you can still get out of there for less than $25.
Club Lago, 331 W. Superior St., 312-951-2849. Old, traditional Italian that’s been there for ever.
Eataly, 43 East Ohio Street, 312-521-8700. Look for grab-and-go paninis, soups and salads across from the entrance. Go up toLa Focacceria, all the way in the back of second floor, starting at $4. At La Piazza you can order meat, cheeses, fried items, etc. One or two plates is easily a meal.
Or Sagre: Pick 5 for $35. Every Friday-Sunday pay $35 at the Guest Relations desk and get a wristband. Then you can go to select counters (not restaurants) and get select items. You are limited to the wine cart, Gelato bar, La pasticceria, cannoli bar, La Focaccia, La Rosticceria and the coffee and wine bars. I haven’t tried this yet but if you drink wine this could be a deal. This deal was available May 2018. They didn’t know when it was going to end.
Evolve Bistro, 350 W. Mart Center Drive, 312-777-7800. Call for reservation and to confirm they’re open. Run by culinary students at the International Culinary School at the Illinois Institute of Art this restaurant. Hours and menu change quarterly. Meals are under $20. Tips benefit Culinary Scholarship Fund.
Hub51 51 West Hubbard Street, 312-828-0051. This mexican, sushi and burger establishment makes a fine margarita and all the mexican items I’ve had were quite good. Most non-sushi menu items like tacos are around $15.
Kiki’s Bistro, 900 North Franklin Street, 312-335-5454. Kiki’s is a french bistro with marvelous food, ambiance and service. Dine between 5pm-6:30pm $30.95 prix fixe menu. Call to confirm that the special menu is available on the date you plan to go.
Kinzie Chophouse, 400 N. Wells St., 312-822-0191. Lunch entrees are a great deal at around $13. At dinner they offer a quarterly, seasonal prix fixe menu for $40. Call to confirm that the special menu is available on the date you plan to go.
L’Appetito, 30 E. Huron, 312-787-9881. L’Appetito is an Italian deli. Breakfast options are under $6, lunch offers cold and grilled sandwiches, soups and salads and pizza squares. Nearly everything is under $10. Join Ritual for discounts.
Lou Malnati’s, 439 North Wells Street, 312-828-9800. Delicious thin crust pies, pasta dishes and the Malnati salad.
Lyfe Kitchen, 413 North Clark Street, 312-836-5933. This is a fast-casual chain offering healthy, portion-controlled and surprisingly tasty options. Items like salads and whole wheat flat bread pizzas are under $15. Join Spring Rewards for discount.
M Burger 5 W Ontario, 312-428-3548. Very good burgers, fries and shakes. There’s indoor seating for maybe 20.
Mercadito 108 W. Kinzie, (312) 329-9555 Taco Tuesdays two tacos for $7.50. 3PM-6PM and 9PM to close.
Mr. Beef, 666 North Orleans Street, 312-337-8500. This may be rated the top Italian beef in the city and their fresh cut fries are good too. Beef sandwich $7. They also have a parking lot. Their website is under construction.
Pizano’s, 800 N. Dearborn, 312-335-8833. Delicious entrees and thin crust pizzas. Decent individual-serving deep dish pizzas around $9.
Portillo’s, 100 W. Ontario, 312-587-8910. Okay so this is a fast food chain but everything is good including their burgers, crinkle fries and garbage salad. And of course the Italian beef and Chicago style hot dogs. Plus they have a drive-thru.
Quartino, 626 North State Street, 312-698-5000. Small plates made for sharing but you can also turn a couple of them into a low cost meal. It can get crazy busy but service is still good. They have a three course lunch for two for $25. They have decent red wine for around $15 a bottle or they sell by the fraction of a litre.
Ramen-San, 59 West Hubbard Street, 312–377-9950. This is probably not the best ramen joint in town but the prices are low, the ramen bowls large and the cocktails unique. $15Express Lunch.
Reza’s, 432 W. Ontario, 312-664-4500. Falafel and other Persian delights served in huge quantity. Check the website for online deals.
Seoul Taco, 738 N. Clark St., Korean-Mexican tacos three for $8.
Silver Spoon, 710 N. Rush, 312-944-7100. Good cheap Thai just off Michigan Ave. Check website for coupon. Lunch special $9.
Shake Shack 66 East Ohio Street, 312-667-1701. Stick to the locally sourced dogs and sausages. Shakes $6.
Star of Siam, 11 E. Illinois St. , 312-670-0100. Cheap and delicious Thai at great prices. Most entrees are around $8.
Tall Boy Taco 325 W Huron, 312-488-4917. This is a taco counter inside Nacional 27 offering tacos, guacamole, queso fundido, beer and margaritas. Tacos are around $4 each.
3 Greens Market, 354 W. Hubbard St. (312) 888-9195. Hot and cold bar $10/lb., Small Cheval burgers $9-10, Dillman’s pastrami $12-14. Nice patio.
West Town Bakery & Diner, 15 E Ohio St, (312) 894-0935. The River North outlet for the Bucktown parent offers sandwiches, soups and salads everything under $12.
Xoco, 449 North Clark Street (entrance on Illinois), 312-334-3688. Rick Bayless’, always packed, torta, soup, salad and churro shop Everything around $8-12. Daily specials $12. On Wed. only after 5PM get three tacos for $11.50. Limited seating.