Great Affordable Restaurants
From modern Mexican to haute Asian, here are our six picks around the world.
Philadelphia: Pizzeria Stella
Dinner for two $31.
The Scene: A Naples-meets-NYC-style pizzeria from restaurateur Stephen Starr.
The Dish: Pizza topped with clams, broccoli rabe, pancetta, and mozzarella.
The Steal: Glasses of wine are $5.50, draft beers go for $4, and pies start at $9.
Atlanta: Miller Union
Dinner for two $59.
The Scene: Chef Steven Satterfield cooks up local cuisine in a mid-century warehouse building.
The Dish: A farm-fresh egg baked in celery cream; chicken-liver mousse on cranberry-walnut toast with pickled radish.
The Steal: Tuesday night’s Harvest Dinners: family-style three-course meals for $30.
Dinner for two $45.
The Scene: Chef Rick Bayless’s newest venture: a retro diner serving up Mexican food.
The Dish: Fried-to-order breakfast churros and a cup of Mexican hot chocolate made from house-ground cacao beans.
The Steal: After 3 p.m., caldos—hearty soups filled with slow-cooked pork carnitas and potato-masa dumplings—are $10.
San Francisco: Frances
Dinner for two $72.
The Scene: Nouveau California dishes served in a Zen-chic neighborhood bistro.
The Dish: Star chef Melissa Perello’s applewood-smoked bacon beignets topped with crème fraîche and chives.
The Steal: “Market shots,” mini cocktails at $3 for three ounces, made of fruits found at the farmers’ market that day. Or try the $1-an-ounce house red and white wines.
Dinner for two $42.
The Scene: Chef Angus An’s Thai restaurant with stylish bamboo walls and granite counters.
The Dish: The koh soi gai soup has house-made curry and egg noodles.
The Steal: At lunch and late night, pair the special pad thai—the noodles are fresh—with a Singha beer for $15.
Hong Kong: Café Gray Deluxe
Dinner for two $90.
The Scene: Amazing harbor views at the ultra-glam dining room atop the Upper House hotel.
The Dish: Steak tartare and a side of chef Gray Kunz’s signature house-made ketchup; sea bass in ginger bouillon.
The Steal: The $37 lunch prix fixe, which changes seasonally.
A favorite among well-to-do housewives and their teenage daughters, this boutique stocks an irresistible mix of new jewelry, body products, and garden accessories, plus fanciful greeting cards and Japanese stickers. Its vintage clothing section is a highlight; the goods have included a 50’s-era black cocktail dress that came with a black-and-white photograph of the original owner wearing it.
A Naples-meets-NYC-style pizzeria from restaurateur Stephen Starr. Order the pizza topped with clams, broccoli rabe, pancetta, and mozzarella.
In a mid-century warehouse building once occupied by the Miller Union Stockyards, Chef Steven Satterfield brings sustainable Southern fare to Atlanta's Westside. The rustic, yet modern decor recalls a charming, country cottage. Focusing on simple, authentic flavors, the farm-to-table restaurant bases its menu around each season's harvest, meaning diners enjoy the freshest local ingredients available. Highlights on Chef Satterfield's menu include the farm-fresh egg baked in celery cream, housemade pork sausage and peach-glazed Georgia quail.
Master of Mexican gourmet Rick Bayless delights diners with this casual and affordable “little sister” to the more upscale Frontera in River North and North Side’s Topolobampo. Patrons line up inside the cozy yellow café for the torta ahogada, or “drowned sandwich,” made with succulent carnitas, pickled onions, black beans and chile de árbol sauce, served on chewy bread, and dipped in tomato broth. You’ll dine amidst the aromas of simmering caldos (soup with carnitas and potato dumplings) and perfectly spiced tortas.
Chef An’s dishes are based on traditional Thai recipes and focus on four flavor profiles – hot, sour, sweet, and salty. The chef’s menu allows diners to try five or more savory dishes like steamed mussels with lemongrass and Thai basil or Fraser Valley duck curry. More intensive tasting menu options include the chef’s royal Thai dinner or the grand tasting menu. Wine pairings are available, as well as an inspired beer list from Japan. Ambiance is hip lounge-like seating and techno-fusion playing in the background.
Café Gray Deluxe
Order the steak tartare and a side of chef Gray Kunz’s signature house-made ketchup or sea bass in ginger bouillon while taking in the amazing harbor views at the ultra-glam dining room atop the Upper House hotel. The $37 lunch prix fixe, which changes seasonally, is a stellar value.