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A Guide To Chicago's “Super Cute Reasonably Priced Restaurants To Catch Up With A Few Friends”

PHOTO: Christina Slaton

The Infatuation is built on the idea of “Perfect For” categories, catering to assorted restaurant needs. Dinner With The Parents? Date Night? Impressing Out Of Towners? We got you.

But occasionally, we field requests that don’t quite fit into any of The Infatuation’s pre-determined categories. And there is one such genre of restaurant that comes up over and over again – at parties, on Instagram, in the yoga classes we don’t actually attend. It’s what we have come to call the “Super Cute Reasonably Priced Restaurant To Catch Up With A Few Friends.”

After considerable research (using our brains), we’ve broken down the core attributes of the Super Cute Reasonably Priced Restaurant To Catch Up With A Few Friends (SCRPRTCUWFF). In general, SCRPRTCUWFFs are:

  • Kind of quiet.
  • But not super boring.
  • With entrées mostly under $20 (or equivalent).
  • Not nice, but pleasant to sit at.
  • Probably Italian food, or at least nothing too exotic.

So without further ado, go ahead and plan that weeknight dinner.


Lula Cafe

Logan Square
2537 N Kedzie Ave

Lula is the original neighborhood spot in Logan Square, and fittingly, doesn't conform to a corporate mentality. It's split into two separate rooms with a tiny connecting corridor in the middle, and the array of people, artwork, and interesting shared plates like bucatini with cinnamon and feta make Lula exactly what you need.



River North
519 N Clark St

Beatrix might be a little big, but it checks off all the other boxes to be a SCRPRTCUWFF: central location, close to a lot of offices, healthy-ish, not expensive, close to Soul Cycle, close to Flywheel, close to Pure Barre, close to The Barre Code, close to Whole Foods for a few groceries on the way home. You get the point.



Lincoln Park
432 W Diversey Pkwy

"What's that cute little garden-level restaurant on Diversey near the park?" Oh, that would be MFK. The bright colors in a small seaside inspired space make MFK the perfect spot to catch-up with your friends while also eating delicious seafood-focused small plates.


Davanti Enoteca

Little Italy
1359 W. Taylor St.

Cute Italian places are an A+ way catch up with a few friends, and Davanti Enoteca in Little Italy has you covered. Get a few pastas and salads to share and dabble in a glass of wine. Wine - the official sponsor of SCRPRTCUWFF's everywhere.


White Oak Tavern is basically the living room of a Lincoln Park brownstone. The place looks like it could be mom's book club gathering spot, but all ages are welcome. In fact, gatherings of people who are supposed to be adults but can't even take care of themselves are welcome too, so you have nothing to worry about. Do you want to start a book club with us?



1475 W Balmoral Ave

Everyone should have a neighborhood restaurant as friendly and delicious as Vincent. But not everyone does, because some neighborhoods don't like us to have nice things. Not Andersonville though, where Vincent is one of the very best places to hang out with friends and eat good food. Make sure to order one of the few variations of mussels, and the veteran move is to bring your own nice bottle of wine.


Bar Pastoral

2947 N Broadway St

If you haven't been to one of the Pastorals around town, you have a lot to learn. The local cheese, bread, and wine shops serve excellent sandwiches and salads along with the cheese and wine. And while most of the locations are meant to grab things on the go, Bar Pastoral is their wine bar and restaurant version where you can actually sit and hang. You want to sit and hang here over charcuterie, cheese, and more.


Pasta Palazzo

1966 N Halsted St

Looking to meet up with the Lincoln Park neighborhood crew? No need to look very hard, because Pasta Palazzo has everything you need. It's not only affordable, but serves simple Italian food, which means there's something for everyone to eat.


Mia Francesca

3311 N. Clark St.

Bruschetta for $8? Pastas less than $20? Pizza for 12! Welcome to Mia Francesca, a member of The Super Cute Reasonably Priced Restaurant To Catch Up With A Few Friends crew since 1992.


Le Bouchon

1958 N Damen Ave

If you're like us and want to spend all of your time hanging out in homey French bistros, then do so at Le Bouchon. We've considered literally moving in before, but we're unsure of how to approach it with them. Can we bring a pillow? Bath in the garlicky escargot sauce? Let us know if you have advice, but we suggest making Le Bouchon the destination for your next weekday friends dinner out.


Friends Sushi

710 N Rush St

River North and the Gold Coast aren't exactly full of cute little restaurants to grab a reasonable bite, but Friends Sushi is one of the few spots that can fill the need. It's hiding inconspicuously on Rush between Huron and Superior, and has all the usual sushi suspects plus basic entrees like chicken teriyaki if you need.



5316 N Clark St

"We're looking, for like, a cute little Italian restaurant, that, like, isn't expensive, but has good food, and is somewhere up north." Oh, like, Anteprima?

Photo: Facebook/Anteprima

Looking for fresh, simply prepared seafood but don't want to spend too much? Glenn's has you covered on exactly that. It might be called a diner, but in reality, it's much more than that. That said, you can also order a bowl of cereal and cold milk for dinner if you're having a bad day. If that's the case, it's better to be surrounded by friends at Glenn's than on your couch.

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