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Best "Value for the money"

We often comment on what resaurants are the best for a particular dish, cuisine or genre, and we sometimes comment on the best "cheap eats" or "money's no object" recommendations, but I don't recall too many threads on the "best value" - which could go across all price ranges, from "cheap, but tasty and filling" frugality all the way up to "You may have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it, but it's *worth it*!" extravagance.

What's your best "bite for the buck", in whatever area of this board's territory it may be found?

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  1. This is Dino, especially for its wine list, and even moreso on Sundays and Mondays.

    1. Lunch at Blacksalt - Provencal Seafood Stew with a 4 oz. glass of wine (have to go back to work, after all) and you are out the door for $25 including tip. The stew includes healthy portions of the market catch, shrimp, mussels, and clams. I seem to recall some scallops being thrown in as well. If you enjoy seafood you will enjoy this. I know $25 is not cheap, but it seems a bargain for what you get.

      1. This one does happen to fall in the "cheap" category: Lamb Rib Kabob - Three large, succulent lamb chops (w/ rice, veg, and salad) for $12.99 at Food Factory College Park. Not the cheapest thing on the menu (in fact, the most expensive), but the certainly the best value. Also in the running with the more expensive restaurants for best value in general. Could feed two or possibly three people.

        1. With my lunch budget capped at $35/week, this is a subject close to my heart. Best bang for my limited buck are the good AYCE Indian buffets...which gives me the opportunity to sample many things in varying amounts, eat until I'm stuffed, and linger as long as I see fit. Most also allow me to stay under $10. Minerva (fairfax/chantilly), Saravana Palace (fairfax / lee highway), and Taj Palace (chantilly) are my most frequented spots.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Lowbar

            Lowbar...how do Minerva and Saravana's lunch buffet's compare to Bombay Bistro's on 123 & 29?

          2. I've got two:

            I think Del Merie Grill in Alexandria is a wonderful value for the money. Their approach is that with your grilled meat choice, you also get to choose a homemade sauce and two homemade side dishes. I think the most expensive entree is the filet at $27 (which includes the side dishes) and the cheapest is a flank steak for $17. The portions are generous and the quality exceptional.

            I also like Pasta Mia for their portions and quality. Of course, you have to account for the hassle of waiting in line and dealing with the grouchy owners. But, you're more than rewarded with that steaming bowl of pasta that is more than enough for dinner and lunch the next day for less than $20. And, the bread! YUM!

            1. Under the cheap category
              Five Guys- A filling dinner for 2 for under $12. Not all locations are good, but I've found that the one by the Natty Boh tower to be tasty. The Mt Vernon and Inner Harbor locations not so much.
              Pho- In general a cheap and filling lunch. I usually ask for extra noodles for $1 and get two meals out of it.

              Under money is no object
              The Prime Rib- Salad, largest strip steak, and cheese cake. Last time I ate there for dinner I was able to get a midnight snack (for both me and cats), breakfast, and lunch out of my left overs. Once you factor in the two meals the next day from the left overs the initial cost doesn't seem that high.

              1. The fish w/ sour mustard at China Star in Fairfax -- an enormous bowl of that with rice (that fed me and my friend, plus we split the leftovers enough for a generous lunch each) for about $10.

                1. In DC: No matter what you order at Pyramids, the Moroccan food there will only send you back a few bucks for a wonderful meal.

                  In Baltimore: Chef Ras Doobie (and convenient for anyone downtown.)

                  1. $3.99 sandwiches at Potbelly's.

                    I know it's a chain, but you will spend more than that for a sandwich just about anywhere else, and potbelly's are, for whatever reason, damn good.

                    1. The Greek Deli on 20th st NW just above L st. Any of their platters will cost about $10 or less and feed you for two lunches. Great food too, the line usually snakes well outside the door.

                      1. I think that Greek deli is on 19th, not 20th. Everything else is on target.

                        1. Lightfoot's lunch is fantastic and worth every penny.

                          1. Ditto on Potbelly's - that's a good one. Those are good sandwiches and you can't beat the price. I just wish I could make myself skip the chocolate malt. I just can't - I love them and I tell myself "at least I'm getting my dairy for the day!".

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: DC Gal

                              2 secrets about Potbelly: 1. The potato salad is alarmingly good. 2. The oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (the mini ones) are the DEVIL.

                            2. Kotobuki - Lunch time Eel Kamemeshi. Bowl of Miso Soup, box of pickled vegetables and other treats, broiled eel with rice casserole. All for around $11.

                              1. I am surprised no one has recommended Komi yet for a best value. True, it is on the expensive side, but worth every penny! When I was last there, I think the fixed price menu was $65 (and prices may be creeping up). However, when you compare the food to the other places in the area offering this level of dining pleasure and inventiveness, it is a bargain. This is a spectacular deal for a true foodie evening (especially if you compare to Restaraunt Eve, Maestro, etc.). In addition to appetizer and entree, you get six or so mini mezze, a fabulous cheese plate, dessert (and the yummy lollipop at the end). Also, the portions are not at all small - the branzini I had was so large I could barely finish.

                                1. It's been a while since I've been, but El Charrito Caminante for a taco or a burrito is the best bang for the buck I know of. Hole in the wall. Cabrito or lengua tacos. Or my usual order: Burrito de chorizo, picante, poco arroz. And a large horchata to wash it down. To die for.

                                  2710-A North Washington Blvd., Arlington

                                  1. In B'more, almost everything is a bargain. Not counting specials, Eastern House on Eastern Ave. is a bargain for solid food. There's the oft-mentioned Samos. The breakfast burrito at Tacos En Fuego. Matthews. I could go on.

                                    1. I no longer live in DC, but I'll second Dino.

                                      1. On the low end, the "half" pastas at Old Ebbitt Express, although they've climbed all the way to $4, remain a great deal in my book. Same goes when they offer their wild salmon plates for $8.95.