In Los Angeles price and quality are not mutually exclusive when it comes to food.
Downtown, in particular, offers lots of exceptional options at affordable prices, from Filipino fare and fried chicken sandwiches to fresh pies, Thai BBQ, tacos and taquitos (served since 1934!!!).
And if you think $10 is too much to pay, don’t worry. We’ve listed plenty of options under $5 as well.
Just make sure you bookmark the list so you have it handy next time you’re in downtown and need a quick bite on a budget.
[RELATED: The 21 Best Places to Eat in Downtown L.A.]
Guisados offers homestyle braised meat tacos for $2.75, each served in a hearty, handmade tortilla. Options include flank steak, chicken, pork, chorizo and vegetables. Seafood options like fish cost you an extra quarter.
2. Cielito Lindo
This Olvera Street food stall has served delicious taquitos to DTLA locals since 1934. Their standard taquitos cost $1.75 and comes topped with a signature avocado sauce. Cielito Lindo also serves Tamal, Chile Relleno and burritos with prices range from $4.25 to $7.
3. Pirozhki La
Pirozhki LA is serves tasty fried breads filled with piping hot filling like chicken, spinach and potato. A small Pirozhki will cost you $3 if you want to go large it’s just $5 (probably big enough to serve as a filling lunch for most guests). Look for a cute metal trailer usually parked in the Arts District.
4. Mariscos Jalisco
This taco truck serves only ONE TACO – the taco dorado de camaronon. But when a taco is this good, one is enough. Mariscos Jalisco tops their tacos them with tangy tomato salsa, cabbage and sliced avocado for a cool $2.25 – which means you can get two for under $5! The DTLA location is at E 10th St and Towne Ave, open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
This pizza joint serves classic flavors AND mouthwatering creations like the Mac n’ Cheese. Slices at Pizzanista! range from $2.95 to $4.25. Stop by on a Tuesday to score select slices for just $2 and if you’re feeling really thrifty grab a day-old slice from the fridge for only a buck (while supplies last).
6. La Reyna Taco Stand
Street taco stand La Reyna sets up post right outside of La Reyna the restaurant. Tacos here cost $1.25 and come naked for customers to customize at the salsa bar. They also make killer Mulitas a “taco sandwich” with meat served between two tortillas and melted cheese for $2. If you do the math you can order two tacos and a mulita for $4.50 😉
7. Sarita’s Pupuseria
Famed pupuseria Sarita’s serves El Salvadrian pupusas in a variety of fillings for $4 a piece. Be sure to top it off with some hot sauce and pickled cabbage for the full flavor effect.
Sonoratown serves mesquite tacos topped with cabbage, salsa and avocado sauce for $2. The Northern Mexican spot also makes bomb chimichangas called chivichangas stuffed with shredded chicken and Anaheim peppers for $3.50.
9. Tacos Tumbras a Tomas
At this Grand Central taco stall meat is piled high up. Choose from carnitas, asada, chicken, birria (goat meat), lengua (beef cheek) and cabeza (head) Each taco cost $3.50, and they even toss in two additional tortillas because all that meat realistically makes about three tacos. If you go the burrito route and want something extra large, ask them to go half and half with two meats (pollo and asada works out well).
Filipino comfort food spot RiceBar makes awesome bowls of ulam. Options include Pork Longganisa, Chicken Tinola and sun-dried anchovies served with fair-trade grains from the Philippines. Bowls range from $8 to $10 and come with an option to add a sunny side egg for an extra buck.
11. Bronzed Aussie
Australian pie bakers Bronzed Aussie make their pies fresh every morning. You can choose from lamb, ground beef, chunky beef, pepper steak, chicken, “vegie brekkie” and vegan options. The five inch pies will run you around $6.90 to $8.90.
12. Guerrilla Tacos
Not your typical taco truck Guerrilla Tacos rolls with die hard fans every where they go. Their tacos cost in a range of $4-$5 but they are served like a work of art. Menu options fluctuate so we suggest you go with what sounds good at the moment. Just so you know, Chef Avila does wonders with a sweet potato and the seafood options when availble are always on point. Find the truck on Fridays at Blacktop Coffee and Sundays at Smorgasburg.
13. Pour Haus Wine Bar
Arts District wine bar Pour Haus serves brunch every Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. You can find most items like Croque Monsieur and French toast for $10 and under. Keep in mind their happy hour happens daily from 4 to 7 p.m. and consist of a $5 food and drink program.
Fried chicken and donut hot spot Birdies serves free range chicken in several different ways. You can get a breakfast style sando topped with egg, bacon and cheddar for $8, a leg and thigh combo for $7 and even a spicy chicken sando for $10. Donuts usually cost around $3 a pop. FYI on Fridays and Saturdays the joint runs 24 hours.
15. Sticky Rice
Sticky Rice inside Grand Central Market serves acclaimed Thai street that include Gai Yang BBQ chicken, Khao Soi chicken curry noodles and Beef Panang all of which will cost you just $10.
Wurstküche’s exotic sausage menu includes rabbit, buffalo, and even rattlesnake, each for $8.50. If exotics are not your thing, play it safe with a variety of classic sausages for $6.50 try something off the gourmet menu for $7.50.
Alvin Cailan’s massively popular Eggslut serves breakfast delights to the masses at Grand Central Market. A breakfast sandwich runs about $7 while the cheeseburger made with American Wagyu topped with an over-medium egg will cost you $9. Lines at Eggslut tend to get a bit insane, so if you aren’t there right when they open be prepared to wait.
18. Philippe the Original
World famous French dip purveyors Philippes offer roast beef, roast pork, leg of lamb, turkey, pastrami and ham all served on a freshly baked French roll dipped and in gravy for a little under $10. You can also add cheese for just a couple of cents.