"Hit or miss" would be a charitable way of describing Hyde Park's dining options. Use this guide to make your meals more of the former.
Kikuya, 1601 East 55th Street » When BartMart sushi won’t do the trick and 53rd Street seems light years away, hit up Kikuya. Dinner entrées are worth checking out, too; most come with miso, rice, and a salad. Round off the meal with mochi ice cream. Every pun intended. (773) 667-3727
La Petite Folie, 1504 East 55th Street » Should your fairy godmother grant you a prix fixe dinner at this upscale French eatery, we’d recommend the poached salmon or duck salad. Otherwise, we’d recommend that you stay away—lest your student budget turn into no budget at all. (773) 493-1394
Leona’s, 1236 East 53rd Street » Put Leona’s book-like menu on your required U of C reading list The servers are friendly, the manager will come to check on you at least once during the meal, and the portions match the menu in size. Bonus: You can catch an old-school commercial or a Little Richard music video on the plethora of flat-screen TVs while you eat. (773) 363-2600
Lung Wah Chop Suey, 1368 1/2 East 53rd Street » A typical Chinese food establishment. Attempt to dine in, and you’ll be sorely disappointed—it’s take-out and delivery only. (773) 324-0429
Maravillas, 5506 South Lake Park Avenue » Since moving from its location in Harper Court and extending its hours, Maravillas has become the student-friendly eatery it was always destined to be. Featuring the best guacamole this side of Pilsen, the menu boasts huge burritos for under $5 and exotically flavored Mexican sodas. (773) 643-3155
Medici, 1327 East 57th Street » Any group (and that means you and eight kids who live on your floor) can agree on the Med. It’s an excellent spot to spy on that awkward new couple from your house. While the menu rarely shows strength outside its hallmark variations on burgers and pizza, its selection of milkshakes and other house beverages is delicious—but pricey enough for only a special occasion or a particularly hungry diner. The Med’s best-kept secret is its breakfast, which justifies waking before noon on Sunday, especially if you come in warmer weather to sit at the upstairs outdoor patio. The menu offers all sorts of egg breakfasts, quirky pancakes, and freshly-squeezed (you can squeeze it yourself!)orange juice. The under-attended morning feasts are a Hyde Park luxury. (773) 667-7394
Medici Bakery, 1331 East 57th Street » Home to some of the best coffee in Hyde Park, the Med Bakery will put just about anything delicious inside a croissant, making the breakfast treat even more delicious. If you don’t have time to eat a pizza at the Med, you can grab a pie to go here. Just be sure to call first—the turnaround time can be obscenely long. Can’t wait? The bread is delicious, but commensurately expensive. If you have no other reason to go, check in to hear what kind of music the staff is blaring over the sound system (early '90s mix!). (773) 667-7394