Subway: Red to Clark/Division(312) 640-8888 bigbowl.com41.902420 -87.628138 6 E Cedar St (at Rush St) Gold Coast, Chicago
Lunch, dinnerAverage main course: $12
Thanks to deeply flavored dishes of freshly roasted peanuts, fiery blistered chilies and made-to-order sauces, this place is defying its chain status. In addition to signatures like Mongolian beef and scallop and shrimp Thai curries, Big Bowl offers Niman Ranch pork in the fried rice, and local produce in its stir-fry bar. With the focus on fresh flavors, it’s no wonder that even the ginger ale is made from scratch (even better spiked with gin).