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Top 5 Budget-friendly Restaurants in Chicago

There are many great budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago that offer delicious food at affordable prices. From classic deep-dish pizza at Pequod’s Pizza to the classic Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches at Portillo’s Hot Dogs.

These top 5 budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago are definitely worth checking out for a satisfying and affordable meal. Here is why they are the best restaurants in Chicago for your budget.

1. Portillo’s Hot Dogs – A Chicago institution, one of the top budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago, known for their classic Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. Prices are reasonable, and portions are generous. The restaurant also offers a variety of other dishes, such as burgers, salads, and desserts.

2. Fat Rice – A popular spot, among the top budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago, for affordable Asian fusion cuisine, including dishes inspired by the cuisine of Macau, Portugal, and Southeast Asia. Portions are generous, and prices are reasonable. The restaurant also offers a variety of craft cocktails and beer.

3. Big Star – A casual and hip Mexican-inspired restaurant, one of the most popular budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago, known for their tacos, margaritas, and outdoor patio. Prices are reasonable, and portions are generous. The restaurant also offers a variety of other dishes, such as ceviche, guacamole, and elote.

4. The Purple Pig – A Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, another of the top budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago, known for their small plates and charcuterie. Prices are reasonable, and portions are perfect for sharing. The restaurant also offers a variety of wines, beers, and cocktails.

5. Pequod’s Pizza – A local favorite for deep-dish pizza, amid the top budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago, known for their caramelized crust and generous toppings. Prices are reasonable, and portions are large enough to share. The restaurant also offers a variety of other dishes, such as salads and sandwiches.

These budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago offer delicious food, friendly service, and affordable prices, making them popular spots for locals and visitors alike.

Top 5 Budget-friendly Restaurants in Chicago

1. Portillo's Hot Dogs - Budget-friendly Restaurants in Chicago

Portillo’s Hot Dogs

Address: 100 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60654
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 10:30 AM to 11 PM; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 AM to 12 AM
Phone Number: (312) 587-8910

Portillo’s Hot Dogs, one of the top budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago, is a classic Chicago fast-food restaurant located in the River North neighborhood. The interior of the restaurant is colorful and retro, with a fun and energetic atmosphere that is perfect for families and groups.

The restaurant specializes in classic Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, but they also offer a variety of other dishes, such as burgers, salads, and desserts.

Their signature dish is the Chicago-style hot dog, which is topped with mustard, onions, relish, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers, and a sprinkle of celery salt, all on a poppy seed bun.

One unique aspect of Portillo’s Hot Dogs is their commitment to quality and freshness. All of the ingredients are made fresh daily, and the restaurant uses only the highest-quality meats and ingredients in their dishes.

The service at Portillo’s Hot Dogs is fast and friendly, with staff members who are knowledgeable about the menu and happy to make recommendations or answer any questions. The restaurant can get busy during peak hours, but the staff works hard to ensure that customers are seated and served in a timely manner.

Main Menu Items:

Chicago-Style Hot Dog – A Vienna beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun topped with mustard, onions, relish, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers, and a sprinkle of celery salt. The quintessential Chicago hot dog.

Italian Beef Sandwich – Slow-roasted beef sliced thin and piled high on an Italian-style roll, served with your choice of sweet or hot peppers. A classic Chicago sandwich that is a must-try.

Char-Broiled Burgers – A juicy burger patty made with fresh beef, cooked to order and served on a toasted bun with your choice of toppings, such as cheese, bacon, and grilled onions.

Chicken Caesar Salad – Grilled chicken breast on a bed of crisp romaine lettuce with shaved parmesan cheese, croutons, and Caesar dressing. A healthy and flavorful option for lunch or dinner.

Chocolate Cake Shake – A thick and creamy milkshake made with chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. A decadent and indulgent dessert that is perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.

All of these dishes are made with high-quality ingredients and cooked to order, ensuring that each bite is packed with flavor. Portillo’s Hot Dogs also offers a variety of sides, such as fries, onion rings, and cheese fries, as well as a variety of other sandwiches and desserts. There is something for everyone on the menu, whether you’re in the mood for a classic Chicago-style hot dog or a delicious chocolate cake shake.

Customer Reviews:

“The Chicago-style hot dog was amazing – the toppings were the perfect complement to the juicy and flavorful hot dog. The fries were also really good, and the staff were friendly and efficient.”

“I had the Italian beef sandwich and it was delicious – the meat was tender and the giardiniera added the perfect kick. The chocolate cake shake was also a must-try.”

“The char-broiled burgers were juicy and flavorful, and the cheese fries were the perfect side dish. The restaurant has a great atmosphere and the service was top-notch.”

Portillo’s Hot Dogs is a classic Chicago fast-food restaurant that serves high-quality hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, burgers, salads, and desserts. The restaurant’s signature dish is the Chicago-style hot dog, which is a must-try for visitors to the city. The restaurant is committed to quality and freshness, and the service is fast and friendly. Customers rave about the delicious food and fun atmosphere at Portillo’s Hot Dogs. They rank amid the top 5 budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago for good reasons.


2. Fat Rice - Budget-friendly Restaurants in Chicago

Fat Rice

Address: 2957 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 5 PM to 9 PM; Friday and Saturday, 5 PM to 10 PM; Sunday, 11 AM to 3 PM
Phone Number: (773) 661-9170

Fat Rice, one of the most popular budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago, is a trendy and popular restaurant located in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. The interior of the restaurant is cozy and intimate, with a warm and inviting atmosphere that is perfect for a night out with friends or a romantic dinner.

The restaurant specializes in Asian fusion cuisine, including dishes inspired by the cuisine of Macau, Portugal, and Southeast Asia. Their signature dish is the Arroz Gordo, which is a Portuguese-inspired rice dish that features jasmine rice cooked with chicken, sausage, duck, and a variety of spices and sauces.

One unique aspect of Fat Rice is their focus on bold and creative flavors. The restaurant uses a variety of ingredients and spices to create dishes that are both familiar and exciting, such as the Serradura, which is a traditional Macanese dessert made with layers of cream and crushed biscuits.

The service at Fat Rice is attentive and knowledgeable, with staff members who are happy to make recommendations or answer any questions. The restaurant can get busy during peak hours, but the staff works hard to ensure that customers are seated and served in a timely manner.

Main Menu Items:

Arroz Gordo – A Portuguese-inspired rice dish featuring jasmine rice cooked with chicken, sausage, duck, clams, prawns, Chinese bacon, tea egg, linguiça, and a variety of spices and sauces. A must-try and the restaurant’s signature dish.

Pork Belly Buns – Steamed buns filled with soy-braised pork belly, cucumber, scallions, and hoisin sauce. A delicious and satisfying appetizer that is perfect for sharing.

Curry Crab Rice – Jasmine rice cooked with Sri Lankan-style curry, Jonah crab, and topped with pickled mustard greens, toasted coconut, and a fried egg. A unique and flavorful dish that is a must-try.

Serradura – A traditional Macanese dessert made with layers of sweetened condensed milk and crushed biscuits, topped with whipped cream and served with fresh fruit. A delicious and indulgent dessert that is perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.

Spicy Clams – Manila clams cooked with house-made XO sauce, garlic, ginger, and Chinese celery. A spicy and flavorful dish that is perfect for seafood lovers.

All of these dishes are made with fresh and high-quality ingredients and cooked to perfection, ensuring that each bite is packed with flavor. Fat Rice also offers a variety of other dishes, such as vegetable dumplings, fried rice, and grilled squid, as well as a variety of craft cocktails, beer, and wine. There is something for everyone on the menu, whether you’re in the mood for a spicy seafood dish or a sweet and indulgent dessert.

Customer Reviews:

“The Arroz Gordo was amazing – the combination of flavors and textures was out of this world. The cocktails were also really good, and the service was top-notch.”

“I had the Pork Belly Buns and they were delicious – the pork was tender and flavorful, and the buns were soft and fluffy. The dessert menu was also really unique and interesting.”

“The Curry Crab Rice was a standout dish – the crab was fresh and the rice was perfectly seasoned. The restaurant has a great atmosphere and the staff were friendly and knowledgeable.”

Fat Rice is a trendy and popular Asian fusion restaurant in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago that offers bold and creative flavors. The restaurant’s signature dish is the Arroz Gordo, which is a Portuguese-inspired rice dish that is a must-try. The restaurant’s focus on bold flavors and unique ingredients sets it apart from other restaurants in the area. The service is attentive and knowledgeable, and customers rave about the delicious food and cozy atmosphere at Fat Rice. They stand out among the top budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago.


3. Big Star - Budget-friendly Restaurants in Chicago

Big Star

Address: 1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Hours: Monday to Friday, 11 AM to 2 AM; Saturday and Sunday, 9 AM to 2 AM
Phone Number: (773) 235-4039

Big Star, among the top budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago, is a popular and casual Mexican-inspired restaurant located in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. The interior of the restaurant is relaxed and laid-back, with a fun and lively atmosphere that is perfect for a night out with friends.

The restaurant specializes in tacos, margaritas, and whiskey, but they also offer a variety of other dishes, such as guacamole, ceviche, and elote. Their signature dish is the Taco al Pastor, which features marinated pork shoulder cooked on a spit and served with pineapple, onion, and cilantro.

One unique aspect of Big Star is their commitment to using high-quality and locally-sourced ingredients. They make their own tortillas in-house and source their meat from local farms.

The service at Big Star is friendly and efficient, with staff members who are knowledgeable about the menu and happy to make recommendations or answer any questions. The restaurant can get busy during peak hours, but the staff works hard to ensure that customers are seated and served in a timely manner.

Main Menu Items:

Taco al Pastor – Marinated pork shoulder cooked on a spit and served with pineapple, onion, and cilantro on a warm tortilla. A must-try and the restaurant’s signature dish.

Guacamole and Chips – House-made guacamole served with freshly-fried tortilla chips. A classic and delicious appetizer that is perfect for sharing.

Elote – Grilled corn on the cob topped with mayo, cotija cheese, and chili powder. A flavorful and satisfying side dish that is perfect for summer.

Quesadilla – A large flour tortilla filled with melted cheese and your choice of chicken or chorizo. Served with pico de gallo, crema, and salsa verde. A hearty and delicious option for lunch or dinner.

Margaritas – Big Star offers a variety of margaritas, including classic, frozen, and flavored options, such as the Blood Orange Margarita or the Pineapple Habanero Margarita. A refreshing and boozy drink that is perfect for sipping on the outdoor patio.

All of these dishes and drinks are made with fresh and high-quality ingredients and cooked to perfection, ensuring that each bite and sip is packed with flavor. Big Star also offers a variety of other dishes, such as ceviche, tamales, and carnitas, as well as a variety of whiskey and beer. There is something for everyone on the menu, whether you’re in the mood for a classic taco or a creative margarita.

Customer Reviews:

“The Taco al Pastor was amazing – the combination of flavors and textures was perfect. The guacamole and chips were also really good, and the margaritas were top-notch.”

“I had the Elote and it was delicious – the corn was perfectly charred and the cotija cheese added a nice salty kick. The outdoor patio was also a great place to enjoy a meal on a nice day.”

“The Ceviche was a standout dish – the fish was fresh and the citrus marinade was the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. The staff were friendly and the atmosphere was fun and lively.”

Big Star is a popular Mexican-inspired restaurant in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago that offers high-quality and locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant’s signature dish is the Taco al Pastor, which is a must-try. The service is friendly and efficient, and customers rave about the delicious food and fun atmosphere at Big Star. They deserve to be ranked among the top 5 budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago.


4. The Purple Pig - Budget-friendly Restaurants in Chicago

The Purple Pig

Address: 500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11:30 AM to 10 PM; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 AM to 11 PM; Sunday, 12 PM to 9 PM
Phone Number: (312) 464-1744

The Purple Pig, another of the top budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago, is a popular and upscale restaurant located on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. The interior of the restaurant is rustic and chic, with exposed brick walls and wooden tables that create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

The restaurant specializes in Mediterranean-inspired small plates, featuring dishes such as pork shoulder, octopus, and bone marrow. Their signature dish is the Milk Braised Pork Shoulder, which is slow-cooked and served with mashed potatoes and a cherry mostarda.

One unique aspect of The Purple Pig is their focus on nose-to-tail eating, which means using all parts of the animal in their dishes. They also offer an extensive wine list, featuring both local and international wines.

The service at The Purple Pig is attentive and knowledgeable, with staff members who are happy to make recommendations or answer any questions. The restaurant can get busy during peak hours, but the staff works hard to ensure that customers are seated and served in a timely manner.

Main Menu Items:

Milk Braised Pork Shoulder – Slow-cooked pork shoulder served with mashed potatoes and a cherry mostarda. The restaurant’s signature dish and a must-try.

Bone Marrow – Roasted bone marrow served with a parsley salad and sea salt. A rich and indulgent dish that is perfect for sharing.

Salt-Roasted Beets – Roasted beets served with whipped goat cheese, pistachios, and orange. A flavorful and healthy vegetarian option.

Fried Pig’s Ear – Crispy fried pig’s ear served with a fried egg and pickled cherry peppers. A unique and flavorful dish that is not to be missed.

Octopus – Grilled octopus served with fingerling potatoes, green beans, and a lemon-caper vinaigrette. A delicious and tender seafood dish that is perfect for sharing.

All of these dishes are made with fresh and high-quality ingredients and cooked to perfection, ensuring that each bite is packed with flavor. The Purple Pig also offers a variety of other dishes, such as house-made charcuterie, lamb chops, and steak tartare, as well as an extensive wine list featuring both local and international wines. There is something for everyone on the menu, whether you’re in the mood for meat, seafood, or vegetarian options.

Customer Reviews:

“The Milk Braised Pork Shoulder was incredible – the meat was so tender and flavorful, and the mashed potatoes were the perfect accompaniment. The wine list was also really impressive.”

“The Bone Marrow dish was a standout – the bone marrow was perfectly cooked and served with a delicious herb salad. The atmosphere was cozy and intimate, and the service was top-notch.”

“The Octopus was amazing – the texture was perfect and the flavors were well-balanced. The restaurant has a great ambiance and the staff were friendly and helpful.”

The Purple Pig is an upscale Mediterranean-inspired small plates restaurant located on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. The restaurant’s signature dish is the Milk Braised Pork Shoulder, which is a must-try. The restaurant’s focus on nose-to-tail eating and extensive wine list set it apart from other restaurants in the area. The service is attentive and knowledgeable, and customers rave about the delicious food and cozy atmosphere at The Purple Pig. They have earned the rank of the top 5 budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago.


5. Pequod's Pizza - Budget-friendly Restaurants in Chicago

Pequod’s Pizza

Address: 2207 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 11 AM to 12 AM; Friday and Saturday, 11 AM to 1 AM
Phone Number: (773) 327-1512

Pequod’s Pizza, amid the top budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago, is a popular and casual pizza restaurant located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. The interior of the restaurant is cozy and laid-back, with a fun and friendly atmosphere that is perfect for families or groups of friends.

The restaurant specializes in deep-dish pizza, featuring a caramelized crust that is crispy and chewy at the same time. Their signature dish is the “caramelized crust” pizza, which is topped with cheese, sausage, and your choice of additional toppings.

One unique aspect of Pequod’s Pizza is their use of a cast-iron pan to cook their pizzas, which gives them their distinctive crust. They also offer a variety of other dishes, such as salads, sandwiches, and appetizers.

The service at Pequod’s Pizza is friendly and efficient, with staff members who are knowledgeable about the menu and happy to make recommendations or answer any questions. The restaurant can get busy during peak hours, but the staff works hard to ensure that customers are seated and served in a timely manner.

Main Menu Items:

“Caramelized Crust” Pizza – Pequod’s signature dish, featuring a deep-dish pizza with a caramelized crust, cheese, sausage, and your choice of additional toppings. A must-try and unlike any other pizza you’ve ever had.

BBQ Chicken Pizza – A delicious pizza topped with BBQ sauce, chicken, red onion, and cilantro. A tangy and savory option that is perfect for those who love BBQ flavors.

Caesar Salad – A classic Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, croutons, and Parmesan cheese. A fresh and flavorful option that is perfect as a starter or side dish.

Garlic Bread – A warm and buttery garlic bread served with marinara sauce for dipping. A simple and delicious appetizer that is perfect for sharing.

Italian Beef Sandwich – A Chicago classic, featuring thinly-sliced roast beef on a soft Italian roll with giardiniera and au jus for dipping. A hearty and delicious option for lunch or dinner.

Pequod’s Pizza also offers a variety of other pizza toppings, such as pepperoni, mushrooms, and green peppers, as well as salads, appetizers, and other sandwiches. All of their dishes are made with high-quality ingredients and cooked to perfection, ensuring that each bite is packed with flavor.

Customer Reviews:

“The Caramelized Crust Pizza was out of this world – the crust was crispy and chewy at the same time, and the sausage was perfectly seasoned. The garlic bread appetizer was also really good.”

“The Caesar Salad was fresh and flavorful, and the Deep-Dish Pizza was amazing – the cheese was gooey and delicious, and the crust was unlike any other pizza I’ve ever had.”

“The BBQ Chicken Pizza was a standout – the tangy BBQ sauce and tender chicken were the perfect combination. The staff were friendly and accommodating, and the atmosphere was laid-back and welcoming.”

Pequod’s Pizza is a popular pizza restaurant in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago that specializes in deep-dish pizza with a caramelized crust. Their signature dish is the “caramelized crust” pizza, which is a must-try. The use of a cast-iron pan to cook their pizzas and the variety of other dishes set them apart from other pizza restaurants in the area. The service is friendly and efficient, and customers rave about the delicious food and fun atmosphere at Pequod’s Pizza. They can definitely be counted among the top budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago.


Whether you’re a local or a visitor to the city, these top 5 budget-friendly restaurants in Chicago are definitely worth checking out for a satisfying and affordable meal. This is why they are the best restaurants in Chicago for your budget.



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