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Mar 14, 2007 01:46 PM

Can't-Miss Cheap Chow?

I know this is a lot like threads which have come up from time to time, but none are really recent. I'm updating a cheap-living guide for the DC area (for summer interns on small budgets), and I was hoping I could get recommendations for places that are very inexpensive, or just very good values. I'm especially looking for "can't-miss" cheap places, or places that are new since last year.


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    1. re: BritInDC

      Any taquerias, lunch places, etc. where you could get something filling for lunch for $5-$10, or $15-$20 for a meal range would be terrific. Places that are a little more but worth it would be great to list too. And obviously if there's anything cheaper than that, that would be fabulous. I'm not from DC, so I don't know how realistic those prices are - if I'm being hopelessly naive I apologize.

      1. re: viking

        Try Taqueria Distrito Federal in Columbia Heights, the Greek Deli on 19th between L and M and pretty much any Ethiopian or Vietnamese place (my favorites being Etete at 9th and U and Nam Viet on Connecticut in Cleveland Park).

        Tortilla Cafe across from Eastern Market has excellent breakfast burritos and pupusas that will only set you back a couple of bucks.

        And don't forget embassy events. Some of the best ethnic food I've ever had was at a free reception at the Turkish embassy.

    2. Zorba's in Dupont Circle is my favorite

      1. Naan and Beyond- simply awesome.

        Reston Kabob in Reston- about 10 bucks will get you a Chicken Kobeeda + coke and it's more food than you can eat :)

        6 Replies
        1. re: jpschust

          Reston Kabob is a good one. Charcoal Kebab in Herndon is also good, with extremely good spinach. Any of the tacquerias in Reston are good, along with the ones in Arlington (TECC and the one on Columbia Pike in the parking lot of the CVS) and Pepito's. For more on these, search the board as it comes up often.

          Any of the Peruvian chicken places, which one depends on who you ask.

          Any pho place for the most part, as well.

          And then of course the half price burger night rotation. WashPost used to have an annual list of these as well as cheap eats and drinks for interns.

          1. re: Dennis S

            hmm. I'll have to visit those kabob houses. So far for beef/meatball kabobs, it's Kabob Bazaar but anything chicken at Shamshiry (I found their meatball kabob kinda greasy and slightly underflavored). Both priced lower than most kabob houses in the area.

            1. re: hungryT

              "Kabob Bazaar" is getting to be a little generic. There's one by that name that just opened in the shopping center across Wilson Blvd from the Eden Center in Arlington. I ate there last week and it was so-so. There's at least one more in Arlington that gets mentioned around here now and the. I can't recall if it's the one in Clarendon or on Columbia Pike just east of Bailey's Crossroads.

              The Columbia Pike one has had an unpleasant smell to it a couple of times when I popped in to give it a try, unpleasant enough so that I didn't want to be smelling that while trying to eat what I hoped tasted better. ;) Others have confirmed the odor.

              My pick for a good buy for lunch along those lines is Mirage (Rt. 7 between Bailey's Crossroads and 7 Corners). For $5, you get a small chicken or beef kabob, rice, and a salad. I like it because it isn't too much food. I think Bread and Kabob (same area, a bit closer to Bailey's Xrds) has a couple of 1-skewer lunch kabobs.

              1. re: MikeR

                You know, I think I have my Kabob Bazaars and Kabob Expresses confused. I'm getting too old for this.

            2. re: Dennis S

              Tuesdays are half priced bison burgers at the Reef. Best thing ever.

              1. re: Dennis S

                I second Charcoal Kabob. Great Stuff

            3. I often see young intern-looking people lined up for Pasta Mia on the weekends. I'm certain it has to do with getting a nice meal for a very good price and having leftovers for the next day. Pasta Mia is in Adam's Morgan.

              I'd also include the Market Lunch Counter in Eastern Market for their awesome pancakes on the weekends.

              The Well Dressed Burrito in the alley off 19th St. is really top quality Tex Mex (better than any of the big chains) and the portions are immense. They're only open for lunch during the week.

              1. Eden Center is a great weekend trip for students on a budget. There is a plethora of cheap, good Vietnamese food to be had there and it is a longish walk from the East Falls Church metro stop.