Dining in Chicago doesn't have to break the bank. These money-saving tips will leave you with a full belly and extra cash to spend on the rest of your vacation. While you explore the city bite by bite, remember these tips:
FIND A DEAL
You might not make it to dinner if you spend much time sorting through the many deal and coupon sites that serve Chicago. Need a simple solution? Download the Choose Chicago web app. It not only puts an entire guide of the city at your fingertips, but it also has current restaurant deals that will get you into more of Chicago's fabulous restaurants. Download the app.
HAPPY HOUR MENUS
Take advantage of happy hour specials to get a great sampling of a restaurant's menu without spending too much or forgoing your favorite libation. Try Café Ba-Ba-Reeba in Lincoln Park for Spanish fare with drink specials and tapas. Dine at the Purple Pig, located on The Magnificent Mile, to splurge on Mediterranean-style charcuterie plates, cheese selections and wine. McCormick & Schmick's also has a lively happy hour scene with specially priced cocktails, martinis and appetizers, or grab a seat at Hub 51 for their half-price sushi options.
LUNCH INSTEAD OF DINNER
In between shopping on The Magnificent Mile and taking pictures at Millennium Park, stop for lunch. Lunch offers a delicious dining option with a lower price tag. And you can always go for a cup of coffee versus the pricy glass of wine. For an upscale option, dine at Terzo Piano in the modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. Their menu is a refined twist on Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Grab a table at Coco Pazzo Café in Streeterville to experience Italian food straight from Tuscany. For a popular alfresco dining option, Tavern on Rush is a Gold Coast staple where locals and visitors rub elbows with politicians and celebrities.
Sometimes your favorite cocktails are also the most expensive part of dining out. BYOB (bring your own booze) restaurant options are an easy way to eat out, ensure you have your favorite drink and save some money. Tanuki is a small open-kitchen sushi spot in Lakeview that is BYOB. They master the flavors of Asian cuisine mixed with Western inspiration. Big and Little's was featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with their oyster po-boys as the star.