Eating out can get expensive if you don’t know your way around the vast city of Los Angeles and its surrounding neighborhoods. To help out we have searched the town far and wide for the best deals to satisfy all tastebuds.
From seafood to roast beef sandwiches this list is comprised of some of our personal favorites that L.A. has to offer, with a focus on great taste and great value. Our general rule: each recommended restaurant below must provide you something awesome for about $10 or less.
That said, the truth is there are hundreds and hundreds of cheap places to eat in Los Angeles, but you’ve got to start somewhere when trying to establish what’s quality and what’s not, right? To that end, if you have recommendations for great food at low prices in your area, be sure to let us know in the comment section at the end of the article so others can share in your discoveries.
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1. El Mar Azul
Want seafood without the prime seafood price tag? This food truck in Highland Park’s Sycamore Grove Park serves seafood tostada’s and cocktails so fresh you think you were in the Baja Coast. Price ranges from $1.50-5 max! The Tostada Mixitiada is a combo of fish, shrimp, abalone and octopus for only $3. All seafood cocktails are $5 fresh with generous portions.
2. Dino’s Chicken and Burgers
South of Korea Town sits a family operated establishment (since 1968) famous for their Pollo Maniaco aka Maniacal Chicken.The chicken is juicy, savory and finger licking good. For just $5.99 you feast on fire roasted chicken, crunchy coleslaw and fires. Now that’s a deal!
Sandos run from $5-8 which is a steal considering it’s designed by Top Chef winner Micheal Voltaggio. Order the cold fried chicken sando ($5) it a big hit! If you have another $2 bucks do yourself a big favor and grab a Mexican chocolate cookie.
4. The Apple Pan
Like burgers? For $7.10 you can order a Hickory Burger at The Apple Pan. A juicy burger smothered in BBQ sauce served hot off the grill. This old school pie and burger joint stick to what they know and your stomach will thank them for it.
5. Eastside Market & Deli
Possibly (probably) the best meatball sandwich in the entire city comes to you for under $9. Enough said.
Now in three locations (Boyle Heights, DTLA, and Echo Park) Guisados has been serving amazingly braised meats inside of handmade tortillas since 2010. The six taco sampler ($6.99) is awesome for those who can’t make up their minds and each taco braised meat taco is $2.50 with the exception of seafood tacos being $2.75.
7. Top Round Roast Beef
Casual Roast Beef sandwiches made with good quality ingredients Top Round may look like a old 70’s sandwich joint but looks can be deceiving. This concept eatery was meant to feel nostalgic and is only a few years old. The Top Round team is comprised of some of the coolest people in the food industry. Anthony Carron of 800 Degrees and Steven Fretz formerly of XIV designed the menu and frozen custard. Even Noah Ellis of innovative restaurant Red Medicine is involved! Needless to say this place is chef driven with the experience to back it up. Grab the Original Roast Beef for $5.95 with a frozen custard for $3.45.
8. Palm Grove Ethiopian Restaurant
The injera bread is perfectly made, the flavors are exquisite and the portions are plentiful.
If you need something different (read: never tried this before) and are entertaining a small group, the platters served here make for a perfect family style meal, and you can do it completely vegetarian if that’s a group requirement. Ask about the freshly made Ethiopian style coffee at the end of your dining experience as well!
One tip: because it’s a small operation with just one cook, you can expect a decent wait time for your food to come out after you place your order. Basically, don’t go there if you’re on a strict time budget.
One of the most celebrated bakeries in California is Portos. With three locations (Burbank, Glendale, Downey) this place serves savory sandwiches and amazing sweets fresh out of their busy bakery. Try the Medianoche (midnight sandwich) for $4.98 you get slices of slow roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese and pickles served on a sweet roll. Throw in some potato balls for just 98 cents!
10. Sapp Coffee Shop
Don’t let the name fool you, Sapp Coffee Shop is considered one of the best hole in the walls serving some of the most delicious noodles on Hollywood Boulevard. Their most popular dish are the boat noodles ($5.75) but if you think pork blood in you soup is too “exotic” their second best dish are the Jade noodles ($6.75), green noodles with BBG pork, duck and crab meat.
Sometimes being an adventurous eater gets expensive. But a Wurstkuche you can feast off of their exotic sausages menu which include rabbit, buffalo and even rattlesnake for just $8. Of course they also serve more conventional sausages and that will only set you back about $6. Grab a beer and dig in!
12. Best Fish Taco In Ensenada
Hungry but strapped for cash? Best Fish Taco In Ensenada serves up giant fish, shrimp and potato tacos all under $3. The salsa bar is stalked full of amazing salsas and toppings you might mistake it as a salad bar. Don’t forget to check in on Yelp you receive a free drink!
13. Golden Deli
One of the best Vietnamese restaurants is located in the SGV, naturally! Try the Pho Tai ($7) a dish served with rare beef ready to be cooked in the pho soup. The crispy fried egg rolls ($7) are not to be missed so if you are going with a group order them as an appetizer!
14. Fresh Kabob
Don’t let the generic name fool you. We Like L.A. co-founder Brian lived in downtown Long Beach for years and swore by this place. For about $10 you can get a Kabob playyer that includes a salad of romaine, spring mix, red onion, goat cheese & strawberries, plus a side of sautéed vegetables and potatoes over a bed of 10 spice Basmati Rice And the key is precise use of the sauces contained in the refrigerator next to the soda machine (orange sauce is the bomb!).
What are the best cheap eats in your Los Angeles neighborhood? Let us know your recommendations in the comments below!