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$8 Challenge

Just got finished with an $8 (actually, $8.40 with tax) plate from Taqueria La Mexicana that featured a chile relleno (stuffed with cheese, potato, and chorizo), a pork taco, a pork tamale and a chicken flauta. As always, the meal was fantastic.

This was one of the better values I've enjoyed in recent months (up there with the U Burger $8 Big Papi special burger, topped with chipotle sauce, cheddar, guac, tomato and jalapenos, fries, and a soda that I had during the Series.)

I would love to hear other $8 value deals from the CH community.

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  1. Good pickup Bob. I'll throw in a nod to Guru (Indian cuisne on Broadway Somerville just outside of Teele Sq.) They have great $7 daily luncheon specials that come with rice, naan and a main...they can throw in some spicy pickles if you want. And they offer this on weekends too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sal Monella

      LOL You've spelled McAdoo wrong! Beleive me, i know. :)

    2. People will roll their eyes, and you have to add tip, but for $7.95 you get a lot of food at Bertucci's the their lunch special. Just did it last Fri. for the first time in ages. You have all those great rolls and okay salad and you end up not eating much of the main course so you get 2 or 3 meals out of it. I had a nice eggplant panini that was 3 huge triangles, tasty, I could eat those rolls all day and like the salty olive oil they put out.

      Also, you can lunch for <$8 at Petit Robert Bistro and Chef Chang's. And there's always Chacarerro. But we must have had a similar discussion before.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Joanie

        you must have a very tiny appetite to get 3 meals out of bertucci's

      2. $8 seems a little generous, no? Hard to really call it much of a value (though the dollar may be weak...). Give me a $5 challenge, and now we're talking.

        1. On more temperate days than today, I quite often pick up a grilled chicken bahn mi from PhoViet ($3) and a bag of potato chips (99 cents) from the bodega two doors down from Clear Flour and take them to a very nice little park across the street and have a deeply satisfying meal for less than I'd spend on an Extra Value Meal at McDonald's.

          3 Replies
          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            $6.95 for the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet at the Southeast Asian Restaurant on Market St. in Lowell. Including, according to their website :
            Tom Yum Gai
            Sour Soup with Tofu
            Chicken Wings
            Crab Rangoon
            Giosa
            Garden Rolls
            Spring Rolls
            Phad Prik Bai Gra Pao
            Nom Prik Oong
            Phad Nuer Gratium
            Mhu Himapahn
            Phad Tofu
            Phad Khai Luem Mit
            Phad Pok
            Goong Eehur Nung
            Phad King Gai
            Khang Mhu
            Phad Woon Sen
            Phad Thai
            Phad Bra Mi Luong
            Gang Massaman Gai
            Gang Keeow Whan
            Phad Hoi
            Cowe Phad
            Cowe

            Desserts
            Tapioca Pearls in Coconut
            Agar Woon
            Lao Soy Bean Cake
            Fresh Fruit

            The Chicken wings alone could do it.

            1. re: raddoc

              Now that's a deal. If I'm ever up Lowell way for lunch, Southeast Asian sounds like a good bet.

              1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                Definitely go---it's worth a trip anytime I'm anywhere near Lowell. The buffet is there until at least 2 pm--and then there's a dinner buffet .

          2. Personally, I can't think of a better cold weather lunch than pho from Xinh Xinh. The massive and intensely flavorful curry chicken soup with vermicelli costs about $6 before tax and tip. If I'm dining solo, I usually leave $10, but if you go with a few friends, a 40% tip is obviously unnecessary.

            1. Tacos Lupita is my go to $5 meal. Other options are a bowl of soup at Quindao, so large it is two meals for me; split a Gyros sandwich and greek salad at Greek Corner; pizza slice from Pini's or a bowl of soup and an order of Samosas from India Palace.

              1. Moody's Falafel Palace Lamb Plate (Lamb Shwarma, Rice, Salad), $6.56 with tax.

                1. AYCE lunch buffet at Rangzen
                  Large Chac
                  XL Pho at most places

                  1. Pho from Xinh Xihnis a great call. So is a torta from Tacos Lupita.

                    Also:
                    Noodle or wonton soup from Hong Kong Eatery - between $3.50 and $6.75
                    Tacos especiales from Taqueria El Amigo - $5.95
                    Nachos from Taqueria Mexicana: $5
                    Rice plate from Hong Kong Eater - varies, but around $7.50
                    Bahn Mi from Mei Sum - $3.
                    Combo meals from Punjab Dhabi - around $8

                    I might add more later.

                    1. I believe the lunch buffet at Kabob Factory (West Somerville, near EVOO, Savernor's, and Dali) is $7.95 (it might be 8.95). Good Indian, and I love to take all-you-can-eat as literally as possible.

                      1 Reply
                      1. I'll put in a plug for my usual favorites under $10:

                        - a pulled pork sandwich with NC sauce, house pickles, and a side dish ($5) and a beer at Soul Fire BBQ on Harvard in Allston;

                        - and Shino Express sushi ($1 each, I hear they now use brown rice and uni is over $1, but it's still a great choice).

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: steinpilz

                          For neighborhood-y, hit the spot, cheap lunches: Sugar and Spice/esp. Mango Curry and Drunken Noodles; and before I discovered Angela's, I'd chow down at Picante - Papas quesadilla ($4?) with lots of salsa, or breakfast burito w/Mole (on the weekends) ($5.25) Not fancy food, but tasty. (And the burrito did me for lunch and most of dinner!)

                          1. re: fredid

                            Fordee's Grill in Watertown: $5.50 for a 10oz char grilled cheeseburger
                            Cafe Luigi in Bedford: $7.99 for veal cutlet parmigiana with pasta on their luncheon menu.
                            Izzy's in Cambridge: $5.25 for a large roast pork sub
                            The Kebab Factory in Somerville: $7.95 for their lunch buffet Monday-Friday
                            East Asia in Somerville: Chinese luncheon specials $5.25-$5.55 which include soup, appetizer and your entree.
                            I could go on and on with many more but I'll stop.

                            1. re: buffet king

                              > Izzy's in Cambridge: $5.25 for a large roast pork sub

                              Sounds addictive. Please describe.

                              1. re: finlero

                                I have them make it like a cuban sandwich but it's in a sub roll. A large sub roll filled with hot roast pork, salami, ham, pickles, mustard and cheese. They really stuff the subs at Izzy's. It's a very good deal and very filling!

                                1. re: buffet king

                                  Right on. I guess I have lunch plans this weekend.

                                  1. re: finlero

                                    One time at Izzy's they put tomatoes and lettuce in my roast pork sub. The lettuce and tomatoes made the sub roll get soggy. So now I tell them exactly what I want in my roast pork sub.

                                  2. re: buffet king

                                    The roast port sub is only available Fridays and Saturdays and uses shredded pork shoulder from their pernil plate. And BK is correct about needing to tell them what you want or else you get random results, but Izzy's wife always asks me what I want on it.

                          2. Two shredded pork sandwiches from Flat Patties, Harvard Square!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Prav

                              I tried these last weekend, good price but I prefer the more traditional pulled pork (Soul Fire for instance), the burgers are good. I went to Flat Paddies after reading writeups on Chowhound, took the challenge, but think I still prefer Bartleys for burgers.

                              1. re: steinpilz

                                I can respect that. Burger tastes seem to be as varied as pizza tastes!

                            2. Just had the HK Beef Stew at Saigon corner in Quincy.$6.25, reg tea.
                              Banh Mi from Super 88, then some rainbow noodles at Gitlo.
                              Singapore Style curry at Chow Chow $6.95 or so.
                              Pho anywher in Dot.
                              Speeds dog.
                              Chicken Cayenne, with rice and Hot/Sour soup at Sichuan gourmet

                              1. Bernard's (Chinese) Restaurant at the Chestnut Hill Mall always has a couple of good lunch specials for 6.95 or 7.95 (inflation).

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ginnyhw

                                  6.49 the chicken kabob at park street T at the bagel place next to Gentle Dental.

                                  with extra dressing. I LOVE!

                                2. Many of my favorite cheap eats already posted, but...

                                  Tacos caramelos ($5.75 the last time I was there, pre-fire) at El Pelon. Firey, meaty, and delicious. And you have $$$ for chips and salsa or a horchata...

                                  A couple of slices from Brookline Spa.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: garlic breath

                                    Oh dear, I must know, what are Tacos Caramelos? I can't imagine, but it sounds too good for words.

                                    1. re: okello

                                      El Pelon's tacos caramelos are seared skirt steak, melted cheese, guacamole, fresh salsa, and their magnificent homemade hot sauce stuffed into two corn tortillas. Simple and sublime.

                                      1. re: garlic breath

                                        They are very good...except I think they're too small. Otherwise, they are signature menu item at El Pelon...in addition to the El Guapo burrito.

                                  2. 5 solid-sized arancini from Galleria Umberto for $7.50 :)

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: marilees

                                      If you're on the South Shore, grilled chicken bun with a crispy vietnamese egg roll from Pho So 1 in Randolph (I believe the original is in Dorchester). Yummy and only $6.98 with tax.

                                      1. I had that same meal last Tuesday. I love the chile relleno - it's not fried. And I have their tamales at home in my freezer. I can't wait to wash it down with sangria or margaritas when they open the cantina.

                                        1. Galleria Umberto, 8 bucks will stuff you!

                                          1. The roast lamb sandwich with marinated eggplant at Artu's - about 7 bucks.

                                            The pork chop rice platter at Taiwan Cafe - six bucks

                                            Fried squid with spicy sauce, veggies and rice at Hong Kong Eatery - six bucks

                                            Eight delight fried noodles at Grand Chau Chow - seven bucks

                                            Prawn mee at Aneka Rasa - seven bucks

                                            1. I'm addicted to the giant curry on rice plates and especially the "Indonesian Fried Rice" plate at Rod Dee Thai in Brookline on Beacon St. Both are under $8 and Indonesian Fried Rice plate has rice, vegetables, two kinds of chicken (stir fried soft white meat, and big chunks of panko fried chicken), a fried egg, slivers of hot green peppers and is served with a thin sweet and sour sauce. This dish is huge and outrageously good.

                                              1. A terrific sandwich (mentioned also on the grinder/hero thread) : Meridian Market's (in East Boston) Meridian Special. Borrowing Rubee's description: "a large tasty sub with prosciutto, bocconcini (homemade mozzarella, I believe) chicken cutlets, fresh basil, and roasted red peppers". A large one ($8) is lunch for two! I hear Meridian also has great arancini....

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: fredid

                                                  As I posted on the other thread, don't forget one of the Meridian arancinis while you are there! Get there early though as they sell out daily with the lunch crowd!

                                                2. Thanks for all the great feedback. In no particular order, I will make it my business to:

                                                  1. Do lunch at Tacos Lupita (combo plate or torta sound like great options)
                                                  2. Lunch at Guru
                                                  3. Revisit Izzy's (I'd forgotten how good their Friday sub special was)
                                                  4. Umberto's (for $8, you can feed three!)
                                                  5. Go pho it (sorry for the pun) at Xihn Xihn
                                                  6. Hit Bertucci's - (that panini sounds great and their rolls are sublime)

                                                  Again, thanks for all input.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                                    Cubanos at most of the usual suspects are about $6 or less, except at Chez Henri.

                                                  2. Adding on....

                                                    sandwiches from Finale at lunchtime. The bread is pretty great and they have grilled as well as cold options. Best part is they don't come with dessert.
                                                    panini from Domenic's in Waltham. The bread here is divine and the eggplant filling is one of my favorites.

                                                    1. Oxtail stew at Flames II and the Beef Jerk Sandwich during lunch at Redbones.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: nasilemak

                                                        That reminds me - the oxtail stew at Ali's Roti is pretty great too.

                                                        1. re: gini

                                                          bahn mi from any of a number of hole in the wall places in Chinatown. For $8 you can get 2 of them with a drink and then take a nap

                                                      2. $8.00 for lunch seems like an awfully easy target, since you are including cheap eats like burgers and tacos. I could get a very good lunch for 8 bucks at a different place every day for a year and still not exhaust them all.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: terrystu

                                                          At least where I work (MGH area), it is really tough to eat lunch for under $8 within the immediate area. Yeah, I could travel 15-20 mins and hit a lot of the spots mentioned here, but within the 5 minute walk radius for me it seems like $8-10 is pretty much the norm (and I don't feel like one gets a very good value in a lot of those $8-10 cases)

                                                        2. Another couple of $8 East Boston meals - Three chorizo gorditas at Angela's ($7.50)....!/2 rotisserie chicken at Rincon Limeno or El Chalan (We just ate at RL yesterday and they don't seem to have their delicious green sauce/dip anymore - instead, they gave us mayo w/cilantro or some such. Will ask them again, with my limited Spanish, next time I go.)

                                                          1. Lunch or dinner - Blue Ribbon BBQ - pulled chicken or pork sandwich w/ 2 sides $6.29. Add a drink and tax you're at $8. Best deal in town.

                                                            1. As crazy as it seems in Southie, yes Southie..... The Junction has very decent food and all sanwiches are 5 dollars at lunch time. Nothing too fancy, I recommend the chipotle wrap but you just cannot go wrong with the bacon cheeseburger - its big, its great and the fries are thick cut, seasoned and crispy. I hear they now serve a beer brie that I can't wait to try.

                                                              SO for your $8- you can have lunch and a beer....IN SOUTHIE!!!!