I would consider Chicago to be the culinary center of the Midwest, but trying to check off your Chicago foodie bucket list can get expensive. Luckily, there are plenty of options that won't blow through your entire paycheck while still satisfying even the biggest food snobs. Here's where to go when you want great food in the Chi without the hefty price tag. 

1. Johnnie's Beef

Chicagoans don't mess around when it comes to Italian beef, and Johnnie's serves up one of the best beef sandwiches around. At $4.50 a pop, they're also one of the best deals in town. Wash it down with an Italian ice, especially if you ask for spicy peppers on your sandwich (trust me, you'll need it).

2. BIG & little's

BIG & little's is Guy Fieri-approved, so you know it's good. Definitely go for one of their po' boy sandwiches (the softshell crab is EPIC) or any of the tacos, most of which range between $3-$5. 

3. Do-Rite Donuts

Do-Rite has some of the best donuts in the city, but most people don't know that they also have dank fried chicken sandwiches that rival Chick-fil-A. The original chicken sandwich, which comes with lettuce, pickles, and mayo, will only set you back $4.99. They also serve breakfast sandwiches, all of which cost less than $5. 

4. Ricobene's

A favorite of Anthony Bourdain's, this pizza place's real attraction is the sandwiches. They've got your classic chicken parm, meatball, and Italian sausage sandwiches, but Ricobene's is famous for their breaded steak sandwich. Don't knock it 'til you try it.

5. Kimski

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A relative newcomer to the city, Kimski is an eclectic fusion of Polish and Korean flavors. What does that mean exactly? Think Polish sausage topped with kimchi and beef-and-potato-filled "potskis," a cross between pierogi and potstickers. Plus, nothing is more than $10.

6. Hamburger Heaven

It may not look like much from the outside, but I promise Hamburger Heaven is worth the trip to the 'burbs. Their Big Mac-style double decker burgers (complete with special sauce) are way fresher than McDonald's and go great with one of their signature root beer shakes—basically a root beer float but blended. Heaven, indeed.

7. Del Seoul

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My first experience with Del Seoul was while I was shadowing at a clinic in Lincoln Park, and the doctors ordered takeout for lunch. I learned two things that day, 1) Their Korean chicken wings are fire, and 2) Rich doctors know how to be thrifty. Definitely go for the wings, or try any of their tacos, most of which are under $2.

8. Lou Mitchell's

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Lou Mitchell's is one of the most well-known diners in the city, and for good reason. It's always crowded on weekends, so customers are offered free, freshly made donut holes while they wait (you'll probably end up buying a few to bring home as well). Everything here is good, but you can't go wrong with one of their malted waffles or steaming egg skillets.

9. Cheesie's Pub & Grub

If you're not a fan of grilled cheese, Cheesie's is not for you, because spoiler alert, it's basically all they sell (although if you don't like grilled cheese, I would say you have some deeper issues to resolve). Hit up any of their three locations for a grilled cheese made with everything from bacon to chorizo to mac and cheese.

10. Ann Sather Restaurant

Ann Sather is a Scandinavian-inspired diner that's been around since World War II. They serve up traditional Swedish pancakes and meatballs, but the real reason people flock here on the weekends is for the cinnamon rolls. Bring a friend, order a coffee, and split two rolls for $3.50 for the cheapest and best breakfast in the city.

11. J.P. Graziano Grocery

Named one of the best delis in Chicago, J.P. Graziano serves up authentic, high-quality Italian meats and subs that put Jimmy John's to shame. It's also a great place to pick up pasta, cheese, olive oil, and other Italian specialties.

12. The Boiler Room

This pizza joint is known for their PB&J special: a slice of pizza, can of PBR, and a shot of Jameson, all for $8.50. And no, this isn't one of those weekly specials—you can get this deal all day, every day. With prices this good, you'll be able to afford a cup of their boozy soft serve for dessert.

13. Andy's Thai Kitchen

Andy's has been praised time and again for having some of the best Thai food in Chicago. They also have some of the best prices. Go between 11 am-2:30 pm Monday through Friday to take advantage of their lunch special: an appetizer and entrée for just $7.50.

14. Uncle Mike's Place

Uncle Mike's Place may look like a fancy breakfast spot, but it's actually a Filipino-inspired diner. Save yourself the time of reading through their extensive menu and just order one of their Filipino breakfast plates, which come with your choice of meat, two eggs, garlic fried rice, and lugao (Filipino porridge), all for under $10.

15. Cemitas Puebla

Cemitas Puebla serves up monster sandwiches on freshly baked rolls piled high with avocado, cheese, homemade chipotle sauce, and your choice of meat. With three locations around the city, a filling, cheap meal is never far away.

16. Sultan's Market

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Chicago residents love this Middle Eastern place for its huge portions and great prices. The falafel and shawarma sandwiches are definitely the most popular, but they also have a huge salad bar where you can pile your takeout box high with hummus and tabouleh for only $6.95/lb.

17. Walker Brother's Pancake House

Does the name sound familiar? You might recognize it from Mean Girls— the prize for winning Spring Fling queen was two gift certificates to Walker Bro's. Yes, it's real, and affordable. Go for the pancakes, duh. 

18. Dimo's Pizza

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Located in the heart of Wrigleyville, Dimo's is a great place to stop after a long night spent celebrating a Cubs win. However, their creative flavor combinations also make it a great place to stop during the daylight hours. There's always a new seasonal slice to try. 

19. Harold's Chicken Shack

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Many people consider Harold's to be the king of fried chicken in the Chicago area. While the menu has a huge selection of chicken, fish, and wing combos, go for the 1/4 white or dark meat chicken dinner, which comes with fries, coleslaw, and bread, perfect for soaking up the leftover Harold's sauce, which is a must.

20. Lawrence Fish Market

I'm really not sure how Lawrence Fish Market manages to sell such great sushi at such low prices, but I'm not questioning it and neither should you. A majority of the rolls are under $5, and many of the sashimi options are only $1. No, those numbers are not typos. 

21. Irazu

Irazu is a laid back restaurant in Bucktown serving up authentic Costa Rican food. Come for the $7 Pepito sandwich (ribeye steak, cheese, sautéed onions, and special sauce), but stay for the oatmeal milkshakes, which have a cult following.

22. Calumet Fisheries

When you think of the South Side, quality seafood probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. However, Calumet is one of only a few authentic smokehouses in Illinois. Make the trek for one of their fried fish or shrimp dinners, and pick up some smoked seafood while you're at it.

23. Pollo Express

This hole-in-the-wall in Pilsen is known for it's amazing freshly grilled chicken. For only $9.50, you can get half a chicken plus two sides, which is guaranteed to give you at least two full meals. Show up on a Tuesday or Thursday and if you order a whole chicken with sides, you'll get another half chicken for free.

24. Tank Noodle

Tank Noodle has a huge menu, but the main reason to come here is for the pho. Nothing compares to a steaming bowl of this stuff on a blustery winter (or spring) day. If soup isn't your thing, they also have a million types of Vietnamese noodles and super cheap sandwiches. 

25. Tufano's Vernon Park Tap

Tufano's has been around forever, and for good reason—they serve old school, no-frills Italian for a great price. A half order of their signature lemon chicken with potatoes is only $9.50, or go for the classic chicken/veal marsala, which will easily last you two meals. Located not too far from the UC, it's a great place to get a quality meal before a Bulls or Hawks game.

Chicago may be one of the more expensive cities to eat in, but this list proves that you can eat well without breaking the bank—you just have to know where to go.