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(Photo by Grace Adee)

(Photo by Grace Adee)

By Grace Adee, Jones

Picture this: You and your friends are standing on a sidewalk corner on Michigan Avenue after a fun time in Millennium Park, and you’re all on your phones trying to scout out something cheap and easy to eat. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the multitude of dining options in the heart of the city. . Perhaps you are even under the false impression that the only affordable food option when you go downtown is McDonald’s! There’s nothing wrong with a good Big Mac, but you can do even better at these six restaurants with meals under ten dollars near Chicago’s iconic elevated train tracks.

1. Cafecito

7 N. Wells St.
http://www.cafecitochicago.com/

This Cuban sandwich and coffee café offers generously-portioned, gourmet Cuban food at extremely reasonable prices. I recommend the classic Cubano, a pressed sandwich with pork, ham, mustard, pickles, and swiss cheese, all on crispy toasted bread, and all for under six dollars. It’s a rich and satisfying meal, with all the flavors working together in perfect harmony. Save room for their famous Cuban coffee and a side of plantains.

2. Benjyehuda

10 S. La Salle St.
http://www.benjyehuda.com/

Benjyehuda is a Chipotle-style build-your-own-dish restaurant with high quality Middle Eastern food. The falafel is as good as any; crispy crunch on the outside, fresh and soft on the inside. The steak is well-seasoned and tender. You must try the fries here– they are some of the best I have ever had, thick and potatoey with an extremely crunchy outside.

3. Pierogi Heaven

169 N. Wells St.
http://pierogiheaven.com/

Pierogi Heaven doesn’t look like much on the inside, but it’s serving up perfect polish dumplings that you need to try. The exciting combination of flavors and textures is surprising when you look at the simple food: Soft dough, savory meat or potato filling, crunchy and salty bacon pieces on top and slightly sweet cooked onions. It makes for a very satisfying meal. Try the meat and potato six-piece combo of large dumplings with toppings for just seven dollars.

4. Naansense

171 N. Wells St.
http://new.eatatnaansense.com/

Do you get the pun? DO YOU GET IT? To be honest that’s why I went to try this place originally, but I ended up getting some fast and delicious Indian food. Again, this is a Chipotle-style set-up, where you pick rice, lettuce, or naan, you pick your meat, and you pick your sauce. My sauce recommendation is their spiced coconut. While it definitely doesn’t fry your mouth with overpowering spice, it has a pleasant little kick and a rich coconut flavor. If you’re extra hungry, make sure you give the samosas a try too.

5. Asada Mexican Grill

180 N. Wells St.
http://loopchicago.com/go/asada-mexican-grill

This casual restaurant is a great place to get some tasty, relatively traditional tacos. The meat is tender and flavorful, with not too many toppings to overpower its great flavor. I recommend the barbacoa taco, but the carne asada is great, too. Pro tip: Tacos here come in sets of three, but if you ask you can get three different kinds of tacos in one order.

6. Furious Spoon (Revival Food Hall)

125 S. Clark St.
http://revivalfoodhall.com/
http://furiousramen.com/

The Revival Food Hall is a giant, beautiful food court with a hipster vibe that opened this past summer. It includes second locations for many fantastic Chicago restaurants, so if you head over there you really can’t go wrong -though I will warn you that some of the restaurants can get a little pricier depending on where you go and what you order! One great option there is Furious Spoon, a fantastic ramen restaurant serving up the savory soup that is far from what you make in your microwave. I recommend Shoyu ramen, which has rich, salty pork belly mixed in!

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