Friday Question of the Day – Favorite Cheap Eats?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

We talk a lot about new restaurants opening up all over town. And it is almost guaranteed that someone brings up price. So I thought I’d focus this Friday Question of the Day on your favorite cheap eats. Let’s count cheap eats as something that costs $10 or less. It’s a tough decision for me but if I gotta make one selection I’m gonna go with a slice of mushroom pizza from Vace’s located at 3315 Connecticut Ave NW in Cleveland Park. Though a close second is anything savory, like the pizza or quiche, from the nearby Palena Market recently launched at 3529 Connecticut Ave, NW.

So what do you guys say: What and where can you get your favorite cheap eats?

117 Comment

  • rocklands sandwich and two sides for about $10:

    crisp & juicy, best pollos a la brasa (ok, in rockville, but a legend):

    • both awesome.

      I used to eat the Rocklands quarter chicken meal A LOT when I lived over that way. Good deal for the amount of flavor and food.

      Also, wife and I love the crisp and juicy. We always crack up thinking of how her Grandma would have said the name . . . Creepanyusy.

    • What about Crisp & Juicy in Tenleytown? No need to trek out to MoCo.

  • I reckon you can’t beat Madam’s Organ’s soul food. Rock solid chicken/pork chops/chicken fried steak/lmeatloaf, with 2 sides and a slab of corn bread. A few of the plates are under 10 . . . the most expensive ones are 12. The sides are vegetarian and they have a 4 veggie plate for the meat averse. I would eat there more often if Ad Mo weren’t ass pain to get to.

    • As an Adams Morgan resident, Madam’s is easy to get to for me! But my local cheap eats would definitely be Astor (the chicken kabob platter is phenomenal and at $9.95 just barely makes the cut), and So’s Your Mom sandwiches are always a good deal.

  • Notoriously hard to find good cheap eats in D.C. proper. My go to places:

    Kabob Palace in S. Arlington – Might be just over the $10 buck limit but I get two meals easily out of a takeout kabob order with chickpeas or spinach.

    Pho 75 – For the Pho no doubt. Love to get adventurous with the various cow part options.

    Veg combo at any Ethiopian joint.

    • Totally incorrect – you just have to look! Pupuseria San Miguel on Mt. Pleasant St., Shawarma King on Columbia Rd., pretty much any Ethiopian place, Pho 14 on Park Rd., plus all the other places already mentioned below.

      DC is an expensive town, but we have no shortage of great cheap (compared to the general market) food.

    • You couldnt be more wrong.

      • No, YOU couldn’t be more wrong. There are many good cheap eats if you just know where to look.

        Fish in Hood
        The Greek Spot
        Distrito Federal
        Andrene’s Caribbean & Soul Food Carryout
        Crisp and Juicy
        El Khartoum
        Amsterdam Falafel
        Old City Cafe
        Zenebech Injera
        El Riconcito
        A Litteri’s (Italian subs)
        Middle Eastern Cuisine (Takoma Park)

        Just to name a few off the top of my head.

        And if you look a bit further out (NOVA, Mont. Co.) I could name another 3 dozen in 5 minutes.

  • Pica Taco always and forever.

  • If you live in Petworth or northern Columbia Heights, La Villa Pizzeria on 14th St. has a great deal on pepperoni slices. They are really big, and really tasty.

    And just up the street, you have the Highlands Cafe, which has great sandwiches.

    • Gotta second Highlands. Though on weekends, that place is EXPLODING with people now. Son and I got two waffles and had to eat in a corner midday Sunday.

  • Meat patty from Negril’s Jamaican restaurant in Silver Spring – $1.95

  • Food Corner Kabob on Georgia Ave near Howard’s campus. They have a 1/4 chicken meal that comes with rice and two sides for about $6. Zero decor at this place but the food is excellent. Kabobs under $10 as well. Love going to this place.

  • Columbia Heights Chipotle. They load UP the burritos and aren’t stingy with the guacamole. Overall their servings are about 1.5x bigger than any other Chipotle I’ve been to around here.

  • Red Derby – they have the best bar food around and a great brunch! Cheap prices, two meals and four drinks, under $40. just don’t forget to bring cash, credit cards are not accepted.

  • No love for Fish in the Hood? That place and Rita’s Carryout a little further down Georgia make my list for sure.

  • Really, 15 comments and no one for Amsterdam?? I know it’s a bit played out, but for my money, it’s a face full of food for ~$10.

    • I was shocked as well

    • Amsterdam is absolutely my go-to cheap eats place and has been for years! Small wheat pita loaded with hummus, beets, etc. and fries with peanut sauce (to share), plus a root beer = less than $10, I think.

      Granted, I don’t go often (once or twice a year) because I can’t really justify so much deep-fried deliciousness on a regular basis, but it is still the standard that I compare all over felafel experiences to.

    • Nope, Amsterdam is awesome. And because it’s “played out,” you don’t have to wait in line for 20 minutes to get your falafel anymore.

    • Just because everybodys been to Amsterdam, doesn’t make it played out. The surprise is that they’re still doing it and doing it well.

  • 1. Paila Chilean: Churrasco sandwich
    2. Taqueria Distrito Federal
    3. I’ll second the mushroom pizza at Vace, or two slices at Pete’s
    4. Burger at BGR or Shake Shack
    5. Noodles at Chinatown Express

    Surprised to see Red Derby — have they improved their cuisine, because, while I love the vibe of the place, the few times I’ve eaten there, it’s been nearly inedible.

    • Yup, Taqueria Distrito Federal is good for the money. Most people know about the 14th St. location, but there is also one on the northern edge of Petworth, on Kennedy St, around 8th St.

      • Mama Chuy on Michigan Ave and Fairmont is priced almost the same as Distrito Federal. Tacos are 2 for $4 AND their Al Pastor puts DF to shame.

    • Thank you for mentioning Chinatown Express. Their noodles and a dish of homemade dumplings is enough to happily fill up two people. You can get both of those and two beers for $20. There is nothing wrong with that. Also the green sauce they keep on the table is heavenly.

      Also I know Vace has been said, and yes their pizza is phenomenal. But don’t forget about their giant italian subs for $6 (get the extra peppers). SO GOOD!

  • Pho Viet. Any of those Pho # restaurants are garbage after going to this hidden gem.

  • kaylacubana

    Twin Dragon Carryout at 3rd and Kennedy.
    They have the biggest egg rolls you’ll ever eat (about 7-9 inches long), two for $3.20. They taste wonderful!!!

    • Thanks! I have been so curious about that crappy looking little Twin Dragons place that is always so busy everytime I go by!

  • Pho 14 – Get the Bahn Mi sandwich to go for $3.99. Cheaper than subway. Enough food to be full but not fat. perfect.

  • Gyro at the Greek Spot. Dammit, now I will have to head over that way for lunch today.

  • Greek Deli
    Tortilla Cafe
    Deli City
    MGM Roast Beef
    Horace & Dickies
    Pete’s Diner by Library of Congress
    Jimmy’s Grill at the Maine Avenue Fish Market

    • +1000 points to Mr. Rotica.

    • Co-sign on all except Tortilla Coast (haven’t been to the new one), Levi’s (hasn’t been open the times I’ve tried to go), & haven’t been to Pete’s or Jimmys.

      In DC, I’d add:
      Teddy’s Roti Shop
      Jettie’s (expensive for sandwiches but the Nobadeer is the truth),
      Kotobuki (cheap sushi in Palisades)
      Fast Gourmet (non-chivito edition)

      Several banh mi shops (Nhu Lan, Song Que in Eden Center, Banh Mi DC down US 50 towards 495)
      El Pollo Rico
      Italian Store
      Butcher’s Block (amazing sandwiches)

  • +1 on Crisp and Juicy. There’s one in Tenleytown too. They’ve got excellent chicken, and the sides (fried plantains especially) are awesome. A solid meal is pretty much always under $10.

    Amsterdam falafel is also a good cheap option.

    I’ve been known to snag some Pupusas at Ercila’s in Mt Pleasant – a good deal, and quite delicious.

  • VietPho! Under $10 and guaranteed to fill you up!

  • Rinconcito II across from the Giant on Park. Great food for cheap, not to mention cheap strong margaritas!

    • Was going to say this place, too! The more authentic Salvadorean entrees are a bit more expensive, but you can get a plateful of deliciously cheap Mexican food for like $7. And the drinks are cheap, too.

  • The Pupusas at El Reconcito in Columbia Heights!

  • I’m surprised no one has mentioned Radius in Mt Pleasant! Their $5 slice and draft deal–which is every single weekday during happy hour and all day on weekends–is one of the very best deals in DC. It is cheaper to get beer and pizza than just the beer by itself. 🙂

    • Hafta second that! Been going their with my girlfriend for years. It was the only night out we could afford when we started out, and now it’s just tradition.

    • Another vote for Radius – the slices are tasty and the beer’s great. Real microbrews, not Bud Light.

  • The Kalorama Deli at Kalorama and 17th, across from the Harris Teeter is amazing. They have almost anything you could ever want, including traditional Korean food to chicken wings to breakfast sandwiches. The owners are also the kindest people on the planet.

    • Their chicken wings are the best kept secret in the city. They may not be traditional chicken wings, but whatever they do to bred and fry those suckers is magic!

    • Never had an inclination to go in there, thanks for the tip!

    • Interesting.
      I see the sign for wings when lugging groceries back home and always mean to try it out. I’ll trust you PoPers and give it a shot.

  • Burrito cart at 15th and K! So delicious.

  • Julia’s Empanadas (spelling?) is a great option too. The meal deal is 1 empanada 1 salad and 1 solft drink for something like $6.

  • Aditi Express (Indian food) in the Union Station food court is cheap. For a whopping $6.95 you get your choice of 2 entrees, rice and naan for $6.95. And they have $0.99 samosas.

    Tortilla Coast (TexMex) on Capitol Hill – large portions for $10 or less.

    Los Cuates (also Tex Mex) in Georgetown is also reasonably priced.

    Johnny’s (breakfast and lunch only) in Penn Quarter (601 Pennsylvania Ave NW) is also very inexpensive.

  • In the Union Station food court, they sell the best chicken salad sandwich you’ll ever have (and this is coming from someone who doesn’t even like chicken salad!) I think you can make it a meal with chips and a soda for around $10.

  • Any of the Atrium Cafe sandwich shops around DC are awesome. Hand carved turkey sandwich for like $6.00. Great bread options and tons of toppings. Great lil chain in DC.

  • pennyworth

    Lawrence’s II in Petworth: everything.
    Flip-It Bakery in Petworth: quesadillas
    Taylor Gourmet: arugula/pesto/brie/chicken (island ave)

  • A. Litteri’s itallian sub on a hard rolll- $7.75 Enough said

  • Amsterdam Falafel is definitely at the top of my cheap eats list. Others:

    -A couple slices at Pete’s
    -Pho Viet
    -Taco DF
    -Pho 75 (in Arlington and elsewhere in the suburbs)

  • Five. five dollar. five dollar footlongs!

    but seriously the person who mentioned the wings at kalorama deli is preaching the truth. yum.

  • Super Taco on Columbia Road. The Huaraches (yes, like the footwear) with carnitas and green sauce. And the Quesadilla Mexicano, with a grand helping of corn fungus — aka huitlacoche.

  • Radius Pizza in Mount Pleasant all the way! Happy Hour Slice and Pint = $ 5 bucks and the beer selection is wonderful!

  • oohs and aahs soul food on 14th. if it’s your first time, the cook stands you at the counter and gives you tastes of everything. great for vegetarians and meat eaters alike!!!

  • claire

    Some of these have already been mentioned, but here’s my list:

    > Zenebech Injera (vegetarian platter can serve 2 – 3 people for $10)
    > Red Toque (lamb kebab sandwich is unbeatable)
    > Pho 14
    > Amsterdam Falafel
    > Muncheez Mania (delicious & authentic Lebanese street food – Nana’s Original is my favorite)
    > Shawafel (more delicious & authentic Lebanese street food and the only place in DC I’ve found with good shawarma)
    > Taqueria Distrito Federal
    > Korean food from the Bloomingdale Arthur Treacher’s
    > Italy Pizza (best place for drunken late night jumbo slice, in my opinion)
    > food trucks (Yellow Vendor & Carn BBQ are probably my favorites)

  • Such a great topic, PoP! Most of my favorites have already been mentioned, but I’ll add Breadline to the list. I think it comes in at just over $10 if you add a cup of soup to your sandwich, but just a sandwich or just a cup/bowl of soup comes in at under $10.

  • La Villa over on 14th. Right next to Popeyes. The place looks like a dump and smells like a dump, but dang the food is good and cheap too. Huge portions.

    • La Villa is out of this world. A single buritto order comes with rice, beans and guac and is big enough to feed 2 hungry people all for less than $9. They also have really good papusas for like $1.50.

      Note: It does look like someone’s creepy uncle’s basement on the inside.

  • Eaton Centre if you’re out in VA. $2.50 for a footlong banh mi. Delicious.

  • This is a bit far north, but I love Tastee Diner in Silver Spring. Coffee isn’t the best, but you get a huge plate of breakfast food and coffee for around $6.

  • 1. Amsterdam Falafel
    2. Julia’s Empanadas
    3. Vace Pizza in Cleveland Park
    4. Rocklands BBQ
    5. Byblos Deli in Cleveland Park
    6. Zorba’s in Dupont
    7. Crisp & Juicy in Tenleytown
    8. Eat First in Chinatown (best Singapore noodles in DC)

  • How has no one mentioned Pollo Sabroso? That green sauce is fantastic and the chicken and yucca are almost as good. 1/2 chicken with sides for less than $10.

  • REVEL: Komen backed down!

  • Li-Ho at 5th and H. Steamed pork buns. $5 something for 4 of them.

  • Bibimbap at Adam Express, please!

  • Astor in Adams Morgan, soup at Nam Viet in Cleveland Park.

  • G Street Foods for lunch (Most stuff is just over $10 w/ tax and a drink, but WORTH EVERY PENNY)

    Appetizers at Boundary Stone are delicious, cheap, and all natural/locally sourced.

  • Dos Hermanos and/or Paila Grill. Park Rd. Do it.

  • Pho Viet on 14th St NW. Best vegetarian pho ever, and so affordable.

  • No love for Ercilia’s on Mt. Pleasant? I could eat (veggie) tacos and pupusas there for days!

  • Everything I’d recommend has already been listed except the Latin food tents that used to occupy Unity Park on Columbia Rd in Adams Morgan. How are they doing in Columbia Heights? $5 and best bet for a lunch, forget the trucks.

  • Astor, but just for their Mediterranean/Greek pizza ($15 for a large matches the pics on the post). It’s Egyptian, so most ppl have trouble trying the pizza but once you do you’ll never go back (name even used to be Astor Pizza). Not that the waits need to be any longer (see eg Greek Deli). Wil throw sandwiches at DuPont Market on 18th out there too. Their ciabatta is the jig. And smoked whitefish at new Bethesda bagels.

  • Pollo Sabroso (in Mt Pleasant and Columbia Heights) or La Granja de Oro (Adams Morgan) are both only a shade shy of El Pollo Rico and deserve mention on this list. Super Tacos on Columbia Rd (and bakery) >>> Pica Taco.

  • Everything costs $10 or less, give us a challenge and make it $6 or less

  • Tandoori Time all you cat eat lunch buffet for 8.95. It’s at the corner of 19th and M NW. Haven’t tried it yet.

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