It’s Time for This Year’s Favorite Cheap Eats?

1726 North Capitol St, NW

I was gonna ask about your favorite “birthday restaurants” after Obama’s trip to Rose’s Luxury for his but I got depressed about the cost. So let’s revisit cheap eats and this year let’s keep the price point at $10 and below for the “main course”. It can be take out, delivery and/or dine in. Let’s go with top three choices if you can’t narrow it down to one. I’m still sticking with a bowl at Pho Viet (3513 14th St, NW) and a Gyro at Greek Spot (2017 11th St, NW). What’s your favorite cheap eat these days?

94 Comment

  • yamamasmama

    Chicken Biryani at Red Toque

  • Blithe

    Pork belly tacos or banh mi from Pho Wheels; momos from Laliguras; salmon teriyaki bento lunch from Mei Wah (pretty sure it’s $10 — but not positive).

  • Vace’s pizza at $2.25/slice.

  • slices at Wise Guys
    pupusas at Judy Restaurant
    half smoke from the guy in Eastern Market
    ice cream sampler at Zaytinya (get walnut and baklava flavors!)
    falafel at Amsterdam falafelshop
    vegetarian combo at Zenebech Injera (this is $10 but it’s basically 2 full meals)

  • Tortilla cafe in eastern market is delicious and I’ve gotten half a chicken and two sides for like $8

  • In order of niceness:

    1/2 chicken plate at either of two convenient Pollo Sabroso locations

    The BBQ pork banh mi at Pho 14

    Two or maybe three appetizers at Bar Pilar

    • Ugh we went to bar pilar last night. Used to love that place but was so disappointed this time. The food was really off- think watery paella that tasted like they had dropped a bottle of thyme in it, mushrooms that hadn’t been cleaned properly, and an octopus dish that I kid you not had three tiny pieces of octopus and a million different clashing sauces. To top it off, the bartender refused to change the channel from this really annoying 80’s skater movie that was playing. Such a shame that it’s gone down hill.

  • Chicago Dog and a Goose Island at Ivy and Coney

  • The Meaty Palmer @ DCity Smokehouse

    Mix Katsudon @ Donburi

    The Kingston @ Sundevich

  • Burritos and pupusas at Silvestre (Brookland)

  • binpetworth

    Three al pastor tacos at Taqueria Habanero, and I’ll have enough $ left over for a little aqua fresca to wash it down with

    • You guys, I’m a little nervous to share this but I will because the owner is so nice…but El Sol just a block north of Habanero is SO much better. For real though.

      • I actually found El Sol to not be as good. Could just be my personal taste though. Plus, Habenero seems a bit more aesthetically pleasing on the inside. The block that El Sol is one has a ton of drunks always hanging around and leering at people. I was approached twice while sitting on the sidewalk sitting at El Sol.

    • 3 chicken tinga tacos for me. They’re seriously addictive. I could just eat the tortilla and be happy…almost.

  • The Surfside taco stand would probably top my list. I don’t think anything is over $10 and it’s all delicious. Other picks would be &Pizza, District Taco and sandwiches from Dupont Market.

  • Duccini’s Pizza at 18th and U. Another good option is Julia’s empanadas further up 18th!

  • Beef Tibs and Fir Fir at Manni’s cafe (Jefferson and Georgia Ave NW) – $7.95 (I think) for each, more than enough to fill you up for dinner with leftovers for lunch the next day. I get the Beef Tibs spicy, and ask for extra berbere sauce.

    • jim_ed

      Mani Cafe is such a cozy, inviting spot on an otherwise gross stretch of Georgia Ave. It’s really nice to have around.

      • Definitely! And her coffee is amazing – hot and strong. I can’t wait for fall weather, when I can get a cup of her coffee on my way to walk the dog in Rock Creek Park on a nice crisp weekend morning.

  • Half Peruvian chicken with yuca and plantains at El Torogoz for $8.

  • My favorite is the one in the picture.

  • Proper burger at dukes
    Jamaican place on Rhode island & 15th ne, I think

  • 1. anything from Zenebech Injara (even if more than $10, 2 ppl can easily share and be full for under $10/person). Too bad it might be closing in the future developments.
    2. El Pollo Sabraso
    3. Pancake breakfast at Florida Ave Grill
    4. Swachos from American Ice Co.
    5. Chef Geoff’s Tuesday all day happy hour ($10 burger, beer, and fries)

  • Katsudon bowl at Donburri. I prefer the chicken, but mixed bowl is a good value.
    Any combo platter at the Habesha Market (“Ethiopian Deli”) on 9th Street – enough for two meals!
    The lunch combo special (pick 2 items from list + carrot ginger salad or miso soup) at Sushi Express (aka “Secret Sushi” on the 2nd floor of an office building) just off of K Street/20th
    Any 2 slices + fountain soda combo at the Washington Deli just off K/20th – amazing NY style pizza, really fresh ingredients! Multiple types of white slices and Sicilians!

    • Egad

      The “Secret Sushi” place and Washington Deli’s pizza are great picks if you are in the Golden Triangle for lunch!

    • Wow I totally forgot about Secret Sushi and I used to go there all the time years ago. It’s only 2 blocks from my office. Thanks for reminding me!

  • I’ve been obsessed with Keren (Eritrean food) lately. I always get the veggie combo and have shared it with another person (which comes in at less than $10/person). You can eat an embarrassing amount there without breaking the bank.

    Also, Taqueria Habanero (several tocos for under $10), and of course the Red Derby (esp on one of the nights they have regular specials)

  • Tacos from Taqueria Habenero at 14th & Randolph. Best in the city. The fresh tortillas seal the deal!

    • Agreed on best in city. Love that place. But I was also just in San Francisco and was reminded of how inferior all of DC’s Mexican food is. I love TH, and they are legitimately good tacos, but… ::sigh::

  • My first thought was Red Toque too but somebody beat me to it. Good food at good prices.

    Its hard to find anything worth while in the city under 10 bucks but many meals can be split into two meals making that about the price, but for good cheap eats….

    Red Toque, just about anything
    Aroi Thai, just about anything but the Fresh Garden Roll and Basil Fried Rice with beef, yum
    Bacio Pizzeria, they have crack in their sauce it is so good
    DCity Smokehouse, EASILY get two meals for a grown man out of one order. The smoked turkey is great and the chopped pork is on point. I Loves me some of their grits, bbq beans and potato salad.
    Rustik, happy hour price on Three Cheese Pizza with prosciutto, the blue cheese really makes it
    El Camino, 3 or 4 tacos mix and match, the chicken tinga is really good as is the shrimp
    Shaw’s Tavern, big bbq burger, it has jalapenos for a kick
    Bistro Bohem chicken schnitzel with potato salad, yummerz
    Trio’s on 17th street, good mom and pops Italian, calamari and a bacon mushroom swiss burger
    Dupont Italian Kitchen, best chicken parm and Caesar salad ever
    Annies Paramount Steakhouse – greek salad with steak tips or the wedge salad with filet

    That should keep you busy till the holidays!

    • leftcoastsouthpaw

      I just don’t have the willpower to make two meals out of a DCity Smokehouse order. Any of their sandwiches plus their crispy brussels sprouts makes me want to take a nap under my desk a la George Costanza.

      • +1 A couple weeks ago my brother came by and we picked up a bunch of stuff from DCity. 30 minutes after finishing we were all napping.

  • Egad

    RADIUS PIZZA in Mount Pleasant: Their Monday night special is a pint/glass of wine and 2 slices for $9 or 3 slices for $10. They also have $8 pastas on Tuesday nights.

    Pupusas at RINCONCITO II on Park Rd. in Columbia Heights are a big hit in my household, plus they have free chips and salsa if you dine in.

    LOS HERMANOS on Park Rd. is a also filling but cheap option. For $9-$10 you get a heaping plate of Dominican food that could feed a small village.

    Great. Now I’m getting hungry. Thanks PoP! 🙂

    • +1 on Radius — I recently tried it again (I didn’t like the last owner’s pizza) and it is REALLY good! Deep fried gnocchi — mmmmmm

      • Egad

        Yes! I also tried Radius again recently after not having been there for years and I was pleasantly surprised. The pizza, pastas and hot wings are fantastic!

    • Ding ding ding

      +1 on Radius – I like Wednesdays for the $30 pie and pitcher
      and +1 for Los Hermanos. Piles of delicious food for $10

  • jim_ed

    Carnitas Tacos at El Sol
    A plate at Los Hermanos in Columbia Heights (they don’t really do the whole menu thing).
    Dan Dan Noodles at Panda Gourmet.

  • The Well Dressed Burrito! Also Zenebech is amazing and everything is pretty cheap.

  • 1. Bistro Bohem happy hour – $5 burger + $5 beer
    2. Amsterdam Falafelshop. I don’t care if one million new restaurants open in DC, this will be my favorite for the rest of my life.

  • +1 to Pho Viet! Definitely my favorite sub-10 meal. The noodle bowls are just as good as the pho.

  • Mama Chuy’s, Salt and Pepper Grill, also the food at DC9 is decent and relatively cheap.

  • Give me 3 or 4 tacos at El Camino, and a Tecate tallboy to wash it down and I’m happy.
    Bistro Bohem’s burger at happy hour is fantastic, love that pretzel bun and a really flavorful burger
    Chicago and Coney dogs at Ivy & Coney are great

  • Bulgarian Feta from Bub and Pop’s
    Enchilada and tomale from La Lomita Dos
    Veggie combo at Zenebech (for two)
    Veggie or meat combo from Naan and Beyond

  • The Croque Monsieur waffle sandwich at Wicked Waffle. The Mikey Crepe at Crepeaway. The gyro platter at the Greek Spot.

  • Avgolemono at the Greek Deli $5.00

    • 100% this. The amazing bread it comes with seals the deal.

      Also, their chili for the same price on Mondays.

  • An astonishingly good happy hour cocktail and a pork bao slider (or a big ol bowl of fries) at Petworth Citizen is the perfect snack on a Saturday afternoon.

  • Woodlands: 3 cold sides for $8 (hot sides even cheaper). Best food, best deal, probably kinda healthy.
    Julia’s Empanadas: $4ish. C’mon, we you know they’re good drunk or sober.
    Habesha or Zenebech veggie platters: $8 or $10, respectively.
    Smoke and Barrel tacos: $5 for 3 tacos and a side on Tuesdays.
    Open City nachos: grilled veggie or chicken for $5 on Thursdays. It’s a meal.
    Bravo Bar “special”: $6 for a PBR, shot, and a hot dog.
    DC3: Matchbox/Ted’s level deliciousness in a all-the-toppings-you-want for $4.99 hot dog (or veggie dog)

  • Anything from Salt and Pepper Grill’s daily rotation. Add a little Naan and you are good to go!

  • Korean Signature Bibimbap
    $6 bowls with choice of protein + 4 types of vegetables
    huge proportions and authentic taste.
    hidden gem for sure.

    • I’ve wondered about that. I’ve done the bibimbap from food trucks with mixed results. Have to finally check this place out. Thanks for the tip.

    • In terms of stretching your lunch dollar it’s the best deal in DC at $6 for a huge bowl. I like the bibimbap cart at 16th and K better, but it’s also a little pricier.

  • The G Man at Mangialardo’s is still $7.

    Pretty much everything at Cafe Kimchi is under $9.

  • Any sando from Subbs by Carl on Rhode Island. <$7.

  • Korean Signature Bibimbap
    $6 bowls with choice of protein + 4 types of vegetables
    huge proportions and authentic taste.
    hidden gem for sure.

  • A mixed box of 3 wings and 2 drums from KoChix on Rhode Island Ave for $7.99. Best K-fried chicken in the city. Get the spicy sauce.

  • A piadina from Bread Line on Pennsylvania Ave (the only thing worth getting there, IMHO).
    Does anywhere else serve piadina’s in DC?!?! When I was in Europe, I saw a few food trucks serving piadinas as late night drunk food. They would make a killing in DC.

    • The pizza place at dupont farmer’s market had them a couple weeks ago, not sure if it was a special or not. While it wasn’t really authentic (the sandwich was wrapped with their pizza dough) it was good!

  • The Park Drive sandwich at Open City less than $9 and it’s HUGE. But why is the food so much better & cheaper here than tryst / diner and the always last place coupe?

    • Completely agree re: Open City’s superiority over its sibling outposts.

      Have a verdict on Po Boy Jim’s, by chance? Looking for a Parkway substitute in DC.

  • Burger at Dukes, Gyro at Yammas (it beats Greek Spot), Pho Viet, Sausages at Dodge, Kimchi Stew at Gom Ba Woo.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Skinny Chicken Parm at Ledo’s pizza. Surprisingly good chicken parm with a Caesar salad for $7.50
    Single burger and small seasoned fries at Zburger > $9
    Double cheeseburger with small fries ($2.50) and iced coffee ($2) at McD’s.

  • Keren! The best Eritrean in DC and two people can eat for $12!

  • Chinatown Express for yummy house made noodles, Tortilla Cafe at Eastern Market for the best pupusas, and OMG good chicken and biscuits at Mason Dixie at Union Market.

  • One meatball and a side at Greek Deli

  • Le Caprice often has a rice/ stew combo (persian stews, made by the owners) to go for $7-8. I get one to take to work for lunch about once a week, and sometimes a couple to take home for dinner, too. I like the celery/ chicken one best, but they’re all good.

  • Fiola Mare’s Crushed Smoked Potatoes with Olive Olive and Parsley (yes, it’s only $10!).

  • Woodlands Vegan Bistro… lasagna and collard greens. Yum. And I am a serious meat eater.

  • El Chucho! Get an order of pollo and calabacita tacos for $10 total.

  • The burritos and combo plates at Super Tacos.

  • Nothing is better in this price range than anything you can order at Meats and Foods on Florida avenue in bloomingdale/Shaw. If you have not tried their sausages, half smokes, chilitos and more, you have not lived. Friendly owners, fresh, wholesome meats that are butchered on site, and the best food you can buy on any budget. Try it soon.

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