Friday Question of the Day – Favorite Cheap Eats? (Refresh) What price do you consider a cheap eat?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe in DC

Yesterday’s talk about “Average Price Points” coming to Ghana Cafe got me thinking about cheap eats. It’s been over two years since we’ve talked cheap eats. Back then I was all about pizza. Of course I still enjoy a regular slice today but if I had to list my current favorites – I’d go with a bowl of pho at Pho Viet (3513 14th St, NW) or a gyro at Greek Spot (2017 11th St, NW) if I’m near U Street or a Shish Taouk sandwich at Shawafel (1322 H St, NE) if I’m near H Street, NE.

What/where are your favorite cheap eats and if you remember try to include neighborhood and/or address? Also, though I guess this could probably be it’s own thread – what price do you consider a cheap eat in 2014 (for lunch or dinner?)

110 Comment

  • Cheap for me is $10 or less for lunch and $20 or less for dinner. I don’t drink, so for me this is very do-able. My favorite cheap options for lunch are Cava Mezze Grill, Salt and Pepper Grill, and Pho Wheels food truck. They work for dinner as well, but I’d add Lunchbox, Mei Wah, Laliguras, and Luke’s Lobster (very light but wonderful meal that just squeaks in).

    • Oops: Cava Mezze has lots of locations — I’ve been to the one at Tenley Circle the most frequently. Salt and Pepper Grill is on Georgia Avenue near Howard U. Lunch Box and Mei Wah are in Friendship Heights . Laliguras is in Van Ness across from UDC, and the Luke’s Lobster that I’ve been to is in Bethesda @ Bethesda Row.

    • Agreed but I also need to be satisfied; not spend $10 or $20 and thinking how I’m still hungry.

  • Mama Chuy! 2 delicious tacos for $4? Can’t really beat that!

  • brookland_rez

    Cheap eat is $10 or under.

  • Top Spanish on Georgia Ave

  • I think $10 bucks for a lunch to include a drink. I think $15 for dinner including a cocktail. ( this is for something quick.) For a sit down dinner $25(thinking pasta dish or chicken/fish meal) for meal plus 2 cocktails is reasonable. Though my bills are usually around $40+ everything I eat out.

  • Greek Deli. There may be places a little cheaper, but the real price is pretty low when you consider that with those portions you’re getting both lunch and dinner.

  • Favorite cheap eats for lunch – Taylor – 10 bucks for a sandwich that will last 2 days. Also Greek deli on 19th st near Dupont is delicious and same deal. Might be 12 bucks for a platter but that will def last 2 days. Phonation is my favorite food truck – lunch for 9 bucks!

  • Michos on H st NE. You can get a pretty tasty wrap for $8.

  • Cafe Kimchi on Barracks Row. Everything’s under $10 and it actually tastes like something. Something good.

  • Dupont Italian Kitchen at 17th and R NW. Love the chicken parm!

  • binpetworth

    Epiphany BBQ in Petworth – $8 gets you a quarter chicken + two sides.
    I second Greek Deli and Salt and Pepper Grill. $13 at either and I have 2 meals.
    Also like the pizza by the slice deals at Pete’s.

    • I liked Epiphany for about 4 months when it opened, but then things went down hill, I got home one day with my order and the half chicken was totally burnt and inedible. Totally ripped me off knowingly. They get no more chances.

  • yamamasmama

    Red Toque in Shaw. $8 for chicken biryani that is nearly big enough to feed 2. Honorable mention: Aroi Thai in Bloomingdale for lunch.

    • Aroi Thai’s happy hour is also very cheap!

    • thatnewplaceon14th

      I love the Red Tuque. Everyone who works there is so damn friendly. Only problem I have with them is that they’re a little slow. But seems like they’re actually making all the food, so totally understandable.

  • smoke and barrell taco tuesdays. $5 gets you three tacos and a side!

  • Mi Cuba Cafe
    Los Hermanos
    Pho Viet
    Pete’s (for a slice or 2)
    Shophouse (yeah, a chain, but right now it’s just in DC I think)
    Far East Taco Grille

  • jim_ed

    Super Cheap: Taqueria Distrito Federal and Tony’s Place on Kennedy St
    Cheap: El Don, Big Board, Fasika

    BONUS – Favorite bulletproof carryouts: George’s at Georgia and Farragut and Luck Carryout at 14th and Penn SE.

    • Yikes, big board is cheap? It’s $15 for a burger and fries

      • jim_ed

        Burgers are $9ish, and we always split the big side of fries. In and out for lunch or dinner around $30? Thats a steal in BOOMTOWN.

    • PoPville – can we get a “what’s your favorite bulletproof carryout place?” thread going? So many of these awesome places are getting renovated and removed due to gentrification in Shaw, Petworth and H Street that I’d love to discuss them now before they disappear.

  • I love DC, but it’s sad that “$20 and under” is considered a “cheap” eat. We sadly lack the dearth of of cheap options that other cities have – little ethnic food hole in the walls that have $5 banh mis’, $6 Taiwanese noodle dishes, etc.

    • Lol, $5 for banh mi in most cities in California would be considered expensive. Hell, Eden Center has banh mi for $3-4.

      But yes, I agree with your point. Cheap eats are seriously lacking in DC compared to many other cities (including generally pricier ones such as NYC and SF).

    • I agree…I feel like my average lunch/dinner is $9-$11 so when I can get something for $5-$7 that’s cheap. All I can think of is chains…Shophouse, Cava Mezze Grill…

    • Agreed. I was working out of the Financial District in SF for a week earlier this year and I was amazed by the dirt cheap lunch options seemingly on every corner – ten different bahn mi places with $4 sandwiches, big noodle platters for $5, etc.
      DC is a sad joke when it comes to “cheap eats.” These are sucker prices.

  • Pho 88 in Beltsville. I think it’s around $7 for a regular bowl and that easily fills me up.

    Pollo Fiesta in Riverdale. Half rotisserie chicken and two sides for around $9.

    7-11 chili/cheese dogs and McDonald’s value menu. 🙂

  • Well Dressed Burrito
    Far East Taco Grille
    Cap Mac
    Cava Grill
    DC City Smokehouse
    Fast Gourmet

  • Dupont Market – Really good sandwiches under $10 if you can stand the clutter and the quirky customer service.
    GBD – If you pass on the cocktails and the tap, their prices are really reasonable. The three chicken biscuits for $9 are a great deal, especially for takeout.

  • Eli’s deli schwarma carry out in Foggy bottom! The restaurant itself is terrible, but the little annex in the back (separate street entrance) makes the schwarma I’ve had in the US. $7 or thereabouts, tons of pickles and toppings.

    • Get on the red line to Max’s Kosher in Wheaton and you can taste authentic shawarma.

      • Poster above. Thanks for the tip about Max’s kosher. I’ll have to try it. But just fyi, I’m Lebanese, I think I know what “authentic” schwarma tastes like. Maybe you could be a little less condescending about “authenticity” when you don’t know your audience?

  • gotryit

    La Villa Pizza on 14th St: $3 for two slices of cheese pizza / $3.50 for pepperoni

  • Las Placitas for dinner. $13 for tacos that will last two days.

  • Also Keren at 18th and U….fuul or the vegetarian platter, both under $10, both fantastic, particularly for breakfast/brunch.

  • Yama’s at 16th and U Street is not de-lic-ious. You can get a great meal there for about $8.

  • Julia’s Empanadas. Woodlands Bistro food truck. Fojol Benethiopia (RIP). I’d call something a “cheap eat” if I’m in and out for $15 or less, all in.

  • Here’s a secret, Silvestre’s Rotisserie Chicken in Brookland.
    1 whole chicken w/ lrg rice and beans $12.95
    2 papusas $3.50
    1 yuca fries $2
    total awesome super filling meal w/ left overs under $25!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • El Pollo Sabroso in Columbia Heights. Under $15 for half a chicken, a side of yucca, and a small salad. My GF and I split this all the time, so its $7.50 a person. Pretty cheap and really awesome.

    • jim_ed

      To each their own, but I would venture that El Pollo Sabroso is the worst Peruvian chicken in the DC area. And a half chicken combo should never run more than $10 bucks.

  • So’s Your Mom in AdMo. Great sandwiches for around $5-6.

  • Secret’s out: Zenebech Injera at Florida Avenue and R-ish. $10 or so gets you a super filling meal for two that happens to be excellent. And they now have outdoor seating. And the atmosphere is nice and chill. And you can buy injera from them and just take it home. That’s my go-to budget option for a sit-down place.

    • Yes–I love them! Veggie combo platter is enough for 2 filling meals.

      Also, Pedro & Vinny’s food carts ($4 for a small burrito…and a small is really enough. I like to eat and I couldn’t finish it).

      And Judy Restaurant on 14th between U St. and Columbia Heights. 2 pupusas and a drink (even a margarita) will set you back under $10 and comes with free chips and salsa and curtido.

    • I’m fairly certain they raised their prices recently. That veggie combo for 2 is now $12. Still an excellent place and a great deal, though. The employees have always been very polite and generally excellent. I’m happy that they are doing well and keeping busy.

  • The $7.50 happy hour burger special at Chez Billy is AWESOME and a great cheap eat. Great burgers and a good price.

  • The new(ish) BBQ place at Florida and North Cap – DCity Smokehouse has terrific sandwiches for under 10. The Brisket Champ is my personal favorite, $9 for about a half pound of brisket crispy fried onions and homemade pickles on texas toast. Plus the sides are $3 for a pretty generous portion.

  • Pica Taco (anything)
    Greek Spot at 11&V (souvlaki, anything greek)
    Italian on U at 11&U (chicken paradiso panini, pepperoni slice),
    Restaurant Judy at 14&W (anything + margaritas)

    Bonus: all of these place are owned by super nice people with super nice, long-term employees.

  • China Town in Mt Pleasant. get over the bulletproof windows and you can have a fried chicken meal w/ fried rice/fries for 3.99. You will not be disappointed.

  • I don’t know guys — a lot of these places aren’t cheap eats in my book. Cheap lunch to me has to be under $7. Cheap dinner has to be under $12. And it has to fill me up.

  • El Torogoz. For $6 you get rotisserie chicken with beans and yuca and it’s delicious.

  • Great wall of Szechuan! Ma La dumplings FTW!

  • Crepeaway in Foggy Bottom. 2 crepes and a drink for $11.
    Alberto’s-pizza slices bigger than your head for $5.
    Greek Spot-Thought I’m usually getting it for delivery, so it’s not as cheap for me.
    The Big Cheese truck
    Nando’s-yes it’s a chain. but it’s a great chain.

    Cheap eats for me mean >$10 for lunch and >$20 for dinner.

  • justinbc

    Cheap lunch for me would be anything $10 or less for something I consider “filling”. Most food trucks seem to stay under this price point. I’m currently in love with the beef rendang from the Sate truck.
    Cheap dinner would be under $30 per person, including one alcoholic drink, plus tax and tip. Lots of options for this around town, but my most common stops are Toki Underground and Queen Vic.

    • justinbc

      Oh, and I almost forgot, it’s just outside my cheap limit for lunch, but the lunch special at Del Campo is crazy good. For $12 you get to pick from any of their sandwiches (ranging from $14 to $20 regularly), get a side of yucca or fries, and get a pint of beer or glass of wine.

  • Pho 14 in Columbia Heights — Bahn Mi sandwiches for less than $5 or a sandwich + appetizer + cup of broth combo for $10!

  • Chix, two locations U Street and Thomas Circle: roasted chicken fabulous, sides are outstanding and vegetarian; 1/4-chicken+2sides or entree salad, either makes two full meals

    Chop’t: yes, I know it’s a bourgeois salad, but it makes three meals for me

    sit-down relatively cheap: Commissary

  • I know it’s a chain (are we anti-chain here? not sure) but I discovered California Tortilla’s honey lime chicken burrito the other day. Even ordered with extra fajita veggies and a small sprite, the whole dinner came out to under $10. Muy tasty.

    • justinbc

      At least CalTort started here in DC 🙂 I really like their pork nachos too.

    • Emmaleigh504

      I think people like to give the impression of anti-chain, so don’t admit visiting them. Sometimes I like a cheap and bad for me burger, so I go to Burger King, sometimes I’m feeling high class so I go to 5 Guys instead 😀
      Also Pho 14 b/c one can never go wrong with pho.

  • Aditi Indian Kitchen in Union Station. 2 entrees, rice and naan for $7

  • jburka

    District Taco — a taco and a small chips ‘n queso for $6.05 after tax, and it’s plenty for lunch.

  • Kokeb on Georgia Ave. We split a four dish veggie platter with an order of beef tibs, an order of lamb tibs, and four coffees. It came out to $48 w/ tip, which was $12/person. Delicious food, and I was stuffed for the rest of the day.

    For lunch, I’ve got to go with the old reliable Amsterdam Falafel, and Greek Spot. I can get a pretty filling meal at either place for $10 or less.

  • Take-Out: Greek Spot on 11th NW between U and V and Amsterdam falafel
    Brunch: Highlands on 14th NW between Crittenden and Decatur
    Lunch downtown: seriously nothing, its what feels least like a rip off today

  • Pho75 just over the bridge in Roslyn – cheap, cheerful and always packed
    Michos H St
    Chupacabra H St
    Indigo Indian 3rd and K NE

  • Well Dressed Burrito is very reasonably priced, most meals + chips are less than $7. Watch out for the hot salsa, its delicious going down, but even hotter on its way out.

    • Yeah I wish there were more places like it. I’ve only ever had it once because I took a day off. I work nowhere near there and it’s closed on weekends 🙁

  • Los Hermanos all the way. I go at least once a week for lunch.

  • Vace in Cleveland Park! $2/slice pizza, I think somewhere around $10 for a whole pie?

  • When I don’t want pizza or tacos and I’m on U St I like the cheap food at the black cat. Sometimes they serve late (past one) but sometimes they aren’t making food at all. It is a risk so I only go if I’m close.

  • Pho 14, veggie pho for 9 dollars is worth 2 meals!
    Amsterdam Falafel- the small is more than enough and is about $5.

  • leftcoastsouthpaw

    Without question it would be DC Smokehouse for me. The Z-Man is probably my favorite sandwich in the city.

    Restaurant Judy gets a vote from me as well.

  • Byblos in Cleveland Park
    Tonys Breakfast on 14th NE (just off H St, not the new Tonys Original ON H St)

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