With its prosaic shingle sign and neon window display, Hanabi looks like the corner liquor store of Japanese restaurants. Once you've sat down to a tall, frosty Kirin Ichiban and some of the cheapest, tastiest maki in town, you'll hope the rest of Lincoln Park thinks so, too. The owner of the establishment will likely be both your server and chef, bringing complimentary edamame at the beginning of the meal and fresh cantaloupe at the end. Check the dry erase board for specials like the Hurricane Roll—tuna, salmon and red snapper coated in hot sauce and deep fried—before navigating the extensive menu of sushi and traditional dishes.
Take one glance at the lengthy menu and you'll immediately notice how reasonable the prices are; most regular rolls like salmon, yellowtail and tuna cost under $5 and all fancy specialty rolls are under $10. Individual pieces of sushi for $1.95 sound fair enough, but when you find out you get two pieces for the price, you'll wonder how the place makes rent. The quality of the seafood doesn't suffer at the price, either—the scallops are fluffy, white and wonderfully fresh, the unagi (fresh water eel for those who haven’t lived yet) is sweet and buttery—fish lovers need not suffocate their nigiri or sashimi in soy sauce and wasabi. The casual atmosphere makes you feel at home enough to order a second round of rolls and linger over your sake.
Average cost: $10-$20