Being a full-time student and a foodie is quite difficult, to say the least. While I love going out to restaurants with my friends, trolling Instagram for new places to eat, and ordering whatever my heart desires; the habit certainly does not correspond with my budget. In the midst of saving up for Europe, paying rent, bills, and buying groceries, satisfying my passion for new dishes and eateries can be tricky. However, I have managed to find a few great places that are perfect for students who love good food, eating out, but need to do so without breaking bank. Here is a list of a few of my favorite spots in Chicago that are affordable and come highly recommended by yours truly.
543 N. Noble St.
This Cuban restaurant is one of my all time faves, mainly because of its unique menu that includes hints of Middle Eastern cuisine (like falafel and hummus). Their empanadas, breakfast sandwiches, churros, and specialty drinks are to die for, and served in a timely manner. This cozy restaurant sits on the corner of Noble and Ohio and is family-owned, which makes dining there all the more pleasurable. If you want to check it out for yourself, without committing, check out their Instagram (Ninisdeli).
1531 N. Damen Ave.
With warm weather beginning to fill Chicago, patios all over the city have been opening up. Big Star has one of my favorite patios in the city as well as my favorite Mexican staples. Their guacamole is arguably the best in town and their fish tacos are unbeatable. It’s loud, it’s fun, and it’s a great place to go eat with your friends on a Friday night (but beware, the wait can be insane). Just off the Damen Blue Line, this place is a must for anyone loves tacos, horchata, and eating cheap n’ trendy.
Big & Littles
1034 W. Belmont Ave.
This restaurant has a few locations; however, my favorite is its Lakeview spot. Equipped with tacos, burgers, po’boys, sandwiches, and a delectable variety of fries, Big & Little’s has a huge selection with reasonable prices. Good fast food for this cheap is rare, especially considering all of its seafood options. My favorite is the softshell crab po’boy, which has been repeatedly advertised on the famous Chicagofoodauthority’s Instagram page.
116 N. Green St.
I’d like to begin this restaurant summary with a disclaimer, this is not a “cheap eat.” I placed it on my list for those of you who enjoy the finer things in life, and by finer things, I mean oysters. I could probably eat oysters each and every night without getting sick of them, but sadly my bank account won’t allow it. However, at RM Champagne they have $1 oyster nights every Tuesday, which is a big win for any oyster-loving college student. Located in Fulton Market, this faintly French restaurant is absolutely delicious and a good place to splurge if you love seafood and steak frites. They too have a lovely patio, perfect for a romantic date.
Lucy Teruel is a sophomore majoring in communications and minoring in political science. Born and raised on the North Side of Chicago, Lucy loves music, French, shopping, going to the gym and traveling. She’s also an avid sports fan with a particular penchant for the Chicago Cubs. She hopes to one day become a sportscaster, so don’t be surprised if you catch her on the nightly news a few years from now.