The area around 55th is a culinary United Nations in Hyde Park, with Japanese food at Kikuya, a Mediterranean spot and a couple of Thai joints. The Snailís warm dining room, presided over by a pair of friendly Thai immigrants that started it ater they left nursing school, perfectly combines flavorful cuisine with a mindfulness of the college studentís budget. Curries and noodles abound, along with special dishes like the sai krok e sarn (Thai pork sausage with lemongrass and garlic). Most main dishes cost about $7. Try the Thai iced tea if you need to study late: it packs a sweet punch. With a selection of paintings adorning the wall, the interior couldnít be more welcoming. Just try asking one off the owners about the myth of the snail, and youíll be there all evening. BYOB.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Patrick Sisson