The arancini eggplant caponata with Parmesan at The Grid.
From upscale to low-cal, the Sun-Times’ “Big Deals” column brings readers the dish on food and drink specials that will not break the bank.
New menu items Cafe Marbella Tapas, 5527 N. Milwaukee. Chef/owner Virgilio Trujillo’s new bites include lobster confit ($13.95), bouillabaisse ($5.95) and stuffed mushroom with salmon ($8.95). Visit www.cafemarbellatapas.com .
Celebrate at Casa Casa Bonita Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar, 633 N. Milwaukee, Libertyville. Toast the Paradise Punch (Milagro tequila, Absolut vodka, Cruzan coconut rum and homemade Mexican juices, 16-ounce, $7.95), poured directly from the new tequila tap, during the Cinco de Mayo celebration through May 5. Visit www.casabonitalibertyville.com .
Barbecue bundle 25 Degrees, 736 N. Clark. The BBQ brisket burger (slow-cooked barbecue brisket, sirloin patty, Cardona cheese, crispy fried onions, pickles, arugula, pineapple barbecue sauce on a signature bun. $12) returns in May for both National BBQ and National Burger Month. A percentage of sales benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Visit www.25degreesrestaurant.com .
Derby day action Division Ale House, 1942 W. Division. The Kentucky Derby pig roast from 3-6 p.m. May 4 includes a buffet of freshly roasted pork, cole slaw, baked beans and cornbread, $25. Visit www.divisionalehouse.com .
Taste test Bakersfield, 330 E. Ogden, Westmont. The “Ultimate Umami” burger (Angus beef patty, roasted tomato, shiitake mushroom and Parmagiano-Reggiano crisp cooked on a wood-fire grill with hickory and oak with choice of frites, petite greens, Kennebec chips or seasonal vegetables), at a discounted price of $7 for National Burger Month, is available daily during lunch through May. Visit www.bakersfieldrestaurant.com .
Fondue fun Geja’s Cafe, 340 W. Armitage. The fondue cafe celebrates Cinco de Mayo with the chili con queso with apples, grapes, bread and tortilla chips May 5. Margaritas and the Negra Modelo will be special priced for the occasion. Visit www.gejascafe.com .
Sealed with a twist The Grid, 351 W. Hubbard. An expanded spring menu, featuring popular items with a twist, includes cheesecake topped with pineapple-avocado chutney and candied corn chips ($8); foie dog with caramelized onion, Laura Chenel goat cheese, candied apricot and truffle mayo ($12). Visit www.thegridchicago.com .
Drink of the week The Gage, 24 S. Michigan. The Derby Day cocktail (Buffalo Trace bourbon, sweet vermouth, orange curacao and lime juice, $10) is a winner. Visit www.thegagechicago.com .
Deal of the week Fresco 21, 5300 N. River. Rosemont. Chef de Cuisine Cameron Grant hosts a five-course, Italian La Spinetta wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. May 4, $120. Pairings include prime New York strip steak sous vide with potato grana padana risotto and asparagus tip bundles served with La Spinetta Campe Barolo 2003. Reservations required, call (847) 447-4275; www.fresco21.com .