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Some great cheap joints in East L.A.?

I just moved to Los Angeles and am living in East L.A., next to Monterrey Park. My roommates and I are all looking for some cheap and delicious Mexican, Chinese, Thai, American, or really any restaurants in the area to grab a quick bite here and there. I must stress CHEAP. We are three young, poor white boys living in East L.A., but we'd still like to go out and get an inexpensive meal once in a while. Thanks everybody!

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  1. Just to be a bit more specific, we live in the City Terrace neighborhood of East L.A. Thanks.

    1. The Hat on Atlantic. You can make a meal out of an order of Chili Fries.

      1. Tacos Baja Ensenada on Whittier between Atlantic and Goodrich... some of the best fish tacos in the city, and $1.49 each (99 cents on Wednesdays!). Also the ceviche and the cocteles are very good.

        Shau May Restaurant in the Garfield Lincoln Plaza, just north of Garfield and Garvey. Breakfast is $1.80, dinner is $3.50 or so... steam table food but quite authentically Chinese (You Have Been Warned).

        Banh mi from any of the places -- there's Saigon Sandwich on Garfield just south of the 10, there's Mr. Baguette and Paris Baguette and Banh Mi Che Cali all on Valley in San Gabriel. Banh mi are usually $2.50 or less, and at BMCC they're $1.75 each but 3 for the price of 2.

        1. Al & Bea's - 1st. St. West of Soto across from the post office - Mexican
          New Formosa Cafe - North side of Cesar Chavez @ Soto - Chinese
          Linda's Mariscos - Truck - City Terrace Dr. @ Hazard - not cheap but so worth it - get the shrimp cocktail.
          Otomisan - South side of 1st. st. 2 or 3 blocks East of Soto. - Japanese.
          Super Taco - South side of Cesar Chavez @ Gage - (next to Self-Help Graphics)
          There used to be a truck that parked on Wabash/City Terrace Dr. @ Forest St. that had really good 2 dollar burritos - not sure it it's still there.
          There is a killer outlaw taco cart on Gage - 1 block before Cesar Chavez on the East side of the street.
          I am intimately familiar w/City Terrace.......if you need any other tips just e-mail me personally. I probably don't have to tell you to watch your backs around there......can be dangerous at times. Great neighborhood though.
          Best local beer selection is on the North side of Cesar Chavez 1 or 2 blocks West of Gage (forgot the cross street) next to the now defunct Latin Playboy bar - it's across from the big Supermarket there.........Super A maybe?.......
          If you want to go a bit farther, there is an excellent selection on the East side of Soto @ Whittier (across the street from Tacos Michoacan 24 hours - which is good for a late night grubbing).....for got the name but it's next to the alley.....can't miss it.
          FYI - stay away from Fickett St. after 10 P.M. on wknds.

          5 Replies
          1. re: slowrider

            Why not post the tips where everyone can see them? We're hungry and impecunious too! :)

            1. re: slowrider

              What up slowrider.
              Wow a blast to the past for me.
              I used to play ball over at Wabash on Saturday mornings for years (20+) and I fondly remember eating a large campechana at the Mariscos truck on Hazard/C.T. drive and washing it down with a Bud or 2 or 3.
              Thanks for the memories.

              1. re: Pakkai

                There is still a truck that parks on Hazard/C.T. Drive.........
                they also have a restaurant........
                The truck and the restaurant are called Linda's Mariscos.
                The truck is usually there from lunch till they run out everyday.
                The restaurant is on Olympic near Ditman.
                Very Very Very good shrimp cocteles!

                1. re: slowrider

                  Thanks for the tip and I will be checking out Linda's ASAP.
                  Al & Bea's and a campechana. OOOoooooooooohhhhhh so good!

            2. HAHA- when I saw a post requesting "great cheap joints in East L.A." my mind went somewhere else entirely....but my goodness, you could eat at a different place everyday for a year and never be disappointed. I cannot remember the name of the street its on but in my meat-eating days I enjoyed Huatulches Aztecas...very filling. They don't speak English, which is a really good sign you are in for a treat. Also, I like the sandwiches at Galco's deli.

              1. running pig -
                I think the Huaraches Aztecas you are referring to is in Highland Park since you also mentioned Galco's. It's on York btwn. Av. 52 & 53.

                1. Ah, yes, York....I get East L.A. and Highland Park confused. Either way, yummy eats. Thanks slowrider.

                  1. Liliana's Tamales on Caesar Chavez for great tamales and chicharones in verde sauce.
                    Mama's Kitchen on Atlantic Blvd (near Cascade Park) - Noodles and dumplings......I dig the beef and tendon noodles in spicy red sauce.
                    Sushi Sai - also on Atlantic new Cascade Park - decent sushi for our hood'
                    Foo Foo Tei - Same strip mall as Mama's Kitchen - best Ramen in MPK.
                    El Loco's - Beverly? and Atlantic - Get the quesadillas special w/pastrami. They also make a decent machaca burrito.
                    Shau Mei - Garvey and Garfield strip mall - all sorts of chinese - 4.99 lunch combos.
                    Dings - Same strip mall as Shau May - rice porridge and noodles.
                    Sam Woo - Garvey and Emerson - Chinese BBQ including a whole duck for 10.99.
                    Tofu House - North of Garvey on Atlantic - Korean soon dofu. Good lunch specials for under $10 and a decent spicy nyeng myung (yam noodle).

                    1. Just about any pho place will sell you a huge bowl for $5 or less, and most of the seafood restaurants, even some very fancy-looking ones, will feed you cart-service dim sum at lunch until you can't walk for $10 or less per head. The problem with where you're living is not any shortage of cheap eats, it's too many choices! Things can get a little pricier at night, but not a lot.

                      1. There's Happy Family on Atlantic: http://losangeles.citysearch.com/prof...

                        It's a vegan Chinese place and it's all you can eat for around $10. Amazing!

                        1. Mike's Hockey Burger on Soto and Washington is MUCH better than fastfood or the usual burger stand. Their signature burger includes a patty, a split sausage, cheese and all the fixins. They also make a fine pastrami sandwich or a roastbeef dip served on Armenian bread. Good fresh fries -- order them extra crispy -- and the order is large enough to share. Fun place with friendly service, clean, and hockey and boxing memorabilia all over.

                          1. Asian/Thai: Huge bowls of soup ... try the tom yum ... there is also a asian spaghetti dish on the menu that is really tasty ... sounds strange but very good.

                            Noodle World
                            46 W Valley Blvd (Cross Street: First Street)
                            Alhambra, CA 91801-5048
                            (626) 293-8800

                            1. A few places that are cheap:

                              El Chino Mariscos on Atlantic just south of Whitter for giant fried fish and beer
                              A small chain of greasy burger joints called Jims for things like pastrami burgers
                              Tortas and Jalapeno Bread at Sonora Bakery on Whittier Blvd. near Ford Blvd.
                              Tamalas at Indiana Tamales just north of Olympic
                              On Evergreen Ciros and El Tepeyac

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ickster

                                Yeah! One of Manny's special burritos at El Tepeyac is probably enough food for four or five meals.

                                1. Awesome! Thanks everybody. My roomies and I will be eating well. Thanks again!

                                  1. I went to school at CSULA and used to love the Taco Room right down the street from CSULA.. Sam Woo BBQ is the best and their duck is to die for... there was also a pizza place in the same strip mall the Taco Room was I forgot the name but it was good and greasy and cheap.

                                    1. grew up in monterey park...here are few places and some places may be repeat from above:

                                      mexicatessen (mpk)
                                      el loco (ela)
                                      king taco (ela)
                                      al & b's (ela) best green chili burritos
                                      pepe's (alhambra)

                                      hat (mpk) pastrami and chili fries
                                      monterey park steak house (all you can eat prime rib @ $17+/-

                                      foo foo tei (mpk) ramen
                                      shaka (mpk) hawaiian
                                      ono grill (mpk on petreo grande) hawaiian/japanese (try their span katsu musubi)
                                      saga (mpk) japanes try their tonkatsu

                                      chinese (too many to list but here are some low price grub)
                                      sam woo (mpk)
                                      dim sum @ ocean star, nbc, elite (old new concepet) etc...
                                      noodle planet (mpk)

                                      1. Garfano's is the pizza place.
                                        Taco Room is horrible now........stay away.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: slowrider

                                          Taco Room on Valley Blvd.? I've been meaning to try it, but can never find parking. Is there a better option near there for really good, cheap carne asada? Please let me know. :)

                                          1. re: katkoupai

                                            Taco Room seems to change hands regularly, but recently had breakfast of huevos divorciados that were surprisingly good. I can't vouch for non-breakfast stuff though as the time before that was not good at all. They are very uneven depending on who is in the kitchen. The old salsa bar is gone, but they still serve good salsas with your order including their signature cabbage salsa. The place seems a lot cleaner and tidier than before too

                                            However, for great carne asada, about a 10-minute drive away will take you to Taco Village on the ELA/Montebello border on East Beverly Bl. I am very picky about carne asada and they are one of the few places I enjoy it. Good char flavor and not gristly at all, good fresh salsa bar, whole beans, etc. Very clean flavors and consistent, I have been going there since a kid

                                            1. re: Ernie

                                              Thanks, Ernie. You always recommend great places. I was going to try Pepe's in Alhambra. I noticed you mentioned J&S in Montebello for bean burritos and Caramba's in Alhambra, in earlier posts. I have made a list of about 5 places that you have recommended for future use. Thanks, again. :)

                                              1. re: katkoupai

                                                Ernie know what he is talking about. J&S has delicious beans and cheese burritos, and they also have good breakfast burritos. Pepe's has good food, and good beans. At Pepe's you have to try their chili cheese fries, because the chile used is a chile verde sauce, and they put this over the fries, and top it with cheese, HEAVEN!!!
                                                Carambas is also a good mexican restaurant, I recommend their beef chimichanga plate, it comes with rice and beans.
                                                All three places have excellent beans!!!!!!!!!!

                                            2. re: katkoupai

                                              King Torta on Valley/Boca is great. King Taco on Caesar Chavez and Soto is also excellent for carne asada (they cook the meat with lemon).

                                          2. The Taco Room's cabbage was the best... I dream about that stuff.. also there was a few places in Old Pas that I liked and can't remember names, 1 was a diner type place that had an egyptian room, another was a burger/mideast place, and another was Wild Thyme

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Lightsuprooms

                                              Was the burger/mideast place called Burger Continental? I haven't in there in years but recent posts here have been less than favorable!

                                            2. You live in the area that is known for the cheapest food in town, and they are good too if you know where to go. A lot of good authetic asian restaurant. If you like congee, try Lu's garden - it's located on valley blvd and san gabriel. Good hainan chicken rice - go to this vietnamese restaurant located on New ave and Valley Blvd, it's next to the 168 supermarket, there are many more good restaurant there and the price is definately cheaper then any restaurants else where in LA.

                                              1. There's a place on Whittier Blvd. somewhere around Indiana St., I think, that specializes in batter fried shrimp, rice, and gravy. I think that's just about all they serve, and I can't remember the name of it, but it rocks. It's got the vibe of one of those places that's been there forever, despite changes in the neighborhood. I'll grant it's been a couple of years since we've been there, but if it's still standing, I think it's worth the trip.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: GVDub

                                                  Johnny's Shrimp Boat
                                                  (323) 262-8713

                                                  2712 Whittier Blvd
                                                  Los Angeles, CA 90023

                                                  They show locations in Whittier and West Covina as well. I catch lunch on occasion at the one on Whittier in LA. It's fried shrimp and fries for me. I love their chili sauce. I don't believe that they've actually been in that location all that long. If I remeber correctly, they were on Main in skid row before this location.

                                                  1. re: JAB

                                                    I remember that spot downtown, with lines out the door in the afternoon as there was no seating. There are several outposts now, but what made the original great was the high turnover. I remember the order taker shouting, 'six shrimps, rice and beans', and then a few minutes later your order was ready.

                                                    1. re: ickster

                                                      Another "cheap JOINT" is a great "ROACH coach" usually located on Floral Dr. just east of the 710 Frwy by the CHP Station. "ROCK" solid Fish Tacos....

                                                2. I'm a not so young any more and not AS poor any more white boy that lives in the same area. Hopefully you have a way to get around to try these places, and not just MTA.

                                                  Dirt Cheap Sandwiches-Try Bahn Mi (sp?) much better than Subway or any of those subs. Address on website does not give Alhambra location, but it's on Atlantic, about 1 mile south of Valley. Try the classic Chicken sandwich.

                                                  MR BAGUETTE Atlantic Blvd Monterey Park

                                                  Better than Pollo Loco - Excellent Rotisserie Chicken in ELA called Juan Pollo.
                                                  Order the mini pack and feed 3 people for $13. Or click on COUPON to get 2 Whole Chicks for about same price.

                                                  JUAN POLLO 223 N. Mednik (323) 262-0193

                                                  Go Hawaiian - Higher end of cheap good grub, try the burgers and lunch specials at Aloha Food Factory, right on the border of near CSLA on Valley Blvd.

                                                  ALOHA FOOD FACTORY 2990 W VALLEY BL ALHAMBRA, CA 91803
                                                  (626) 308-0215

                                                  For Thai Food and Asian Noodle Delite, try Green Papaya Restaurant on Valley.
                                                  If you're a garlic fan, the drunken noodles rock your socks off, the pad thai is great, and the lad na is tops. Most dishes are under $8 and def. decent portions. Also they're open until 11pm or pretty late I think.

                                                  GREEN PAPAYA 800 West Valley Boulevard Alhambra

                                                  As a last resort, or when you just want Cheap and Lots of it:

                                                  COSTCO Pizza/Hot Dogs and all that jazz. No membership required.
                                                  2207 West Commonwealth Avenue Alhambra

                                                  Soup/Salad Buffet in the same center as Costco. Mostly Carb and Salad overload, but probably better than school cafeteria stuff, try SOUPLANTATION.
                                                  2131 W. Commonwealth Ave. Alhambra

                                                  If I can think of others, I'll post later. I'll also add that most of the Ralph's markets in the area mark down their meat and bakery stuff (look on the rack by the restrooms) after about 10:30pm, so if you go in late to shop, pick up some deals.

                                                  OOPS, just realized this thread is a few months old, hopefully somebody can get some good use out of it.

                                                  1. I have a go to spot for steak in Monterey Park. The Venice room is a bar/restaurant located on Garfield between Riggins and the 60 fwy. For $12.00 you get a good size NY Steak, baked potato, salad, and galic bread. The cool thing about this place is that your steak is served raw. You cook your own steak on a huge grill inside the bar. It is cool because you can order yourself a beer, cook you steak and talk with everyone else who are also cooking their steak.

                                                    1. Stick with Chinese and Mexican. Thai food will be woefully disappointing compared to the fare found in Hollywood. I prefer the trucks and taco stands, places like al n beas and taco village tend to be hit and miss in my experiences.