Consistently popular and consciously unpretentious, Chow is a funky-yet-savvy diner where soporific standards like hamburgers, pizzas, and spaghetti with meatballs are treated with culinary respect. A magnet for penny-pinchers, the restaurant has built its reputation on honest and approachable fare made with fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients priced to sell (even the burger is made with grass-fed beef). Diners will discover Asian dishes mixed in with the primarily
American/Italian menu (the silky wontons are popular). Salads, pastas, and mains come in two (or even three) sizes to accommodate big and small appetites, there's a daily sandwich special, and kids can peruse their mini-menu. Because reservations are restricted to large parties, folks hoping to snag seats usually surround the doorway. Call ahead to put your name down during busy times, or come early (before 6:30) or late (after 10) to reduce the wait—and don't even think about leaving without trying the ginger cake with caramel sauce. The wine list has some well-chosen picks.