My Favorite Meals, Under $20, in these Recessionary Times
Fab's Dogs, Reseda
Chili Coney Dog, tater tots
Pita Pocket, Northridge
Shwarma pocket, with hot sauce.
Mom's BBQ, Van Nuys
BBQ ribs or catfish, or gumbo, coconut cake, or yellow cake with chocolate frosting.
Auntie Em's, Eagle Rock
red velvet cupcakes.
Langer's Deli, Macarthur Park area
Eastside Deli, Downtown Los Angeles
Italia Deli, Granada Hills
Eggplant parmigian heroes.
Pina's Bistro, Tustin
meatball subs, eggplant parm subs, tiramisu, rum walnut cake, cannoli
Pie n Burger, Pasadena
cheeseburger, strawberry pie, peach pie, butterscotch pie
Apple Pan, Westwood
cheeseburger, pecan pie, coconut cream pie, chocolate cream pie, pumpkin pie.
Europane Bakery, Pasadena
pumpkin squares, cupcakes, blueberry brown butter tart
Casa Bianca Pizza PIe, Eagle Rock
The Oinkster, Eagle Rock
Din Tai Fung, Arcadia
dumplings, sauteed vegetables
Bolini's Pizzeria, Monterey Park
Attari Sandwiches, Westwood
cutlet sandwiches, sausage sandwiches
Joe's Pizza, Santa Monica
Fish Grill, various locations
Sanamluang Cafe, Hollywood
pad kee mao
Nate n Al's, Beverly Hills
Triple Decker pastrami
Zankou chicken, Westwood
Let's Be Frank, Culver City
grass fed beef dogs
What's a few of yours?
Gyu-Kaku Happy Hour in Huntington Beach
$1 Japanese draft, $3 meats, 50% off appetizers. Can feed two for $20, if you show restraint, which is hard to do at Gyu-Kaku.
Media de noche Sandwich, Iced latte, cheese puffs
Ruen Pair in Thai Town - Spicy Clams with fried basil or Pad See Ew. Everything on here is cheap and it's good.
Krua Thai - Pad Thai or Pad See Ew and Thai Iced Tea or Shaved Ice with fruit.
Boho in Hollywood - Entire food menu is 50% off on Tues. Fried Oyster Po' Boys. Rice pudding.
Ruen Pair Restaurant
5257 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
315 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203
Krua Thai Cuisine
935 S Glendora Ave, West Covina, CA 91790
6372 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028
7862 Warner Avenue, Suite 109, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
There are getting to be more of them, the longer we live in Hollywood.
$20 or under for diner for two:
Stephano's Two Guys From Italy - tied for the best pizza I've had since leaving NJ (the other is Pizza Pete on Balboa)
Skooby's - the fries, the f'n fries
Al Wazir - Astoundingly good for the ridiculously low prices and the absolute best pickled turnips (I'm a pickle freak)
Canter's - The mish-mosh soup rocks, don't care what anyone else says.
In OC: Lucia's Taqería, Nha Hang $1.99 (that amazing crispy chicken!), Banh Mi Che Cali, Pho 79, Pizza Pete's
Easily under $20 each:
Lucky Devils - great burgers cooked to order and Stone on tap, cheap? WIN!
Mao's Kitchen - love their beef/yam with sesame and they have (again with the NJ stuff) the best old-school east coast egg rolls I've found on this side of the continent
In OC: Bukhara, Ichiban (an emotional favorite)
My favorite spots Are;
Caveman Kitchen- Rotisserie Chicken, Fresh Burgers, and Saltados. Eclectic but good, Inexpensive. Nothing over $10. Thats Recession proof. Check out www.eatcaveman.com
Dino's Chicken- eat for $5.50 greek style chicken with fries and cole slaw
La Taquiza-quality mexican food at great prices, really fresh food
Huaraches at huaraches azteca
the park burger at the park
Papa cristos tsipoura
haejangchon all you can eat awesome kbbq
good bad chinese food at zen mei bistro
al wazir in hollywood
sandwiches from tangs donuts
mamas peruvian in glendale
i'm salivating so i must stop
Love this post, Kevin:
The Godmother at Bay Cities
Carnitas tacos at the Isla Bonita truck at Rose and 4th in Venice
Chow Fun at Won Kok, Chinatown
Vermicelli (Bun) with pork at Vietnam Restaurant, San Gabriel
Eggplant Parmigiana sandwich at Vito's, WeHo
All meat pizza at Vito's, WeHo
Drunken noodles at Ayara Thai, Westchester (Thai Town such a hassle)
Kobe Bistro Burger or pastrami at Tops, Pasadena
Phillipe's lamb sandwich, Downtown
Kurobuta tonkatsu (pork cutlet) for lunch at Torafuku, West LA
Shio ramen with pork at Santouka, Torrance
Katsu Curry at Tamatebako, Torrance
Pulled pork sandwich at Baby Blues, Venice
Shioyaki (broiled) mackeral with udon at Kotohira, Gardena
Brooklyn Bagel Bakery bagels, Rampart
Cream puffs at Chantilly's, Lomita
Hawaiian fried chicken at Back Home Lahaina, Manhattan Beach
Hamburger and lemon lush pie at Jongewaard's, Long Beach
Shave Ice with Lappert's ice cream at Tutu's, Simi Valley
chicken wings and waffles at Pann's, Inglewood
Glacier Ice Cream (white peach or key lime), Manhattan Beach
Chateaubriand at Favori, Santa Ana
Diddy Reese ice cream sandwich, Westwood
Most of these are under $10.
chateaubriand really? i thought that is an old-world, continental french dish, at least $25 or $30 per person, please explain. also, is favori the vietnamese french joint that also serves up a famous fried catfish?
i've now heard multiple notices for Vito's egpplant parm, i'll have to make a beeline there.
and chantilly's sounds great, although i never seem to be in lomita, nearby, but not close enough.
another visit to baby blues is in order, although with the shrimp and ribs and banana pudding i'll be way over the the Recessionary Budget.
Make the effort to try Chantilly. You can easily do lunch or dinner for <$20 at Kotosh at Kamiyama (stick with the more traditional Peruvian dishes - sushi will eat up the $20 per ), which is kaddy corner from Chantilly. Afterwards, walk over to Chantilly for some pastries and coffee (first order a five-box of cream puffs to go), and you'll retreat back home full, smiling, and satisfied. Rinse and repeat...
Yeah, Favori is a real price-buster, but don't let the prices fool you. The food is excellent. I think the chateaubriand was $14.00, if you can believe that. It is a great French bistro for recessionary times.
And famous for their catfish as well. Bring a friend. I never seem to bring anyone who wants to try it. But I like their Vietnamese dishes equally, esp their vermicelli and their 5 courses of beef.
I have dreams of Vito's eggplant parm. But eat it there; It doesn't travel, it's so delicate.
La Perla Del Pacifico in the La Fiesta Mall on Sherman way is always a bargain with huge portions of incredible and unique Colombian Pacific seafood, but this Sunday they are doing a 2 for 1 special on their encocado de pescado, select shrimp dishes, and arroz con camaron.I was there tonight and they were handing out flyers.The cure for your recession blues.
Cheeseburger from Philly West, on Westwood - finally got around to trying it, and it is very good.
Torta de tinga from El Super Taco - their tortas trump the tacos (and burritos)
Al Pastor burrito from La Taquiza - probably one of (if not) the best burritos I've had in LA (though I'm still partial to my Mission burritos from the Bay)
Tacos from El Chato taco truck - Olympic & La Brea (after 8pm not on Sundays, though last time I was by there they weren't either, so...)
Langers Pastrami no 19, all you need
stick with the pulled pork sandwich at Porkys - everything else (except Golden Bird) is avg, and somewhat overpriced.
And, I don't live near it, but The India Restaurant has THE BEST indian buffet Ive found
Also, has anyone tried the Cuban sandwich from Versailles? I liked the Garlic chicken...
I've only been to the lunch buffet at The India Restaurant a couple of times but, as I've posted before, if you exclude the veg. places, it's the best Indian buffet around. They had wonderful Lamb Shanks one of the times that I went there.
17824 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701
Lots of good suggestions to be found here. I'd add the following to the list:
1) Tony's Mexican Grill in Sherman Oaks
2) Versailles - many locations. I know that reviews are mixed, but for the price the garlic chicken is a tough deal to match.
3) Jaipur - West LA, really nice lunch buffet.
Jaipur, if mean the joint catty corner from the Westside Pavillion shopping center, does serve up some good eats at the buffet during lunch and the price is right. I have never tried it for dinner though.
As for Versailles, I'm not a fan but I do do it has its fair share of fanciers.
To save even more money, places within walking distance of us in Mar Vista.
Ramen in Santouka inside Mitsuwa
Chilaquiles for me, patty melt for my wife at Pepy's diner in the bowling alley
Lechon asada or garlic chicken at Rincon Criollo on Sepulveda. Wash it down with a mamey shake.
Any of the lunch specials at Thai Boom on Venice
Tara's for Himalayan on Venice
Ayala's on Venice for some pupusas
All three of the above around veteran and venice, west of Overland, north side of the street.
Second Taqueria Sanchez. I like the al pastor, but stay far away from their tortas
Menudo at El Abajeno
Cemitas Milanesa at the truck outside of Top Valu
Sazon on Wash blvd and Centinela, any of the white board specials.
Clayuda from the truck on Venice and Inglewood, there after 8 p.m. Avoid the truck that's a couple blocks west on the same side of the street across from Good Hurt.
Those are our regular rotations for inexpensive good meals.
List based on very recently eaten, good, under 20:
M Cafe - Bento Box -- lunch today, heaven, as is almost everything there
The Stand - kosher dog (choose your toppings, I like the southern slaw dog) regular dogs are so-so, kosher are excellent
In N' Out -- #1 rules, of course, with raw onions, had it last night, did not disappoint
Bravo Pizzeria -- slice with sausage and pepperoni, not bad at all
Whole Foods on Rose -- brown rice bowl with dark meat chx, good
Peet's Coffee (La Brea Bakery?) -- dried fruit and nut scone, good
Bergamot Cafe -- breakfast wrap, good
re: la tache burger
Just came back from M Cafe in Downtown CC for lunch. I considered it a recon mission for possible visits with my vegan sister, but I actually liked it quite a bit. I had the Kabocha croquettes with tofu tartar sauce, brown rice with a sort of furikake on top, and a small dab of red cabbage cole slaw, while the Misses had the Tuscano panini with a side of squash, red beans and chestnuts braised in maple syrup. Even with my healthy appetite, I just finished my meal, while only half of the panini could be finished by my better half.
Most lunch menu items can be had for around $6-$12, everything looks very fresh (lots of turnover from brisk customer traffic), and everything we had was very well prepared and seasoned just right. Regardless of whether your a vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, or even meatarian, I think you'll find at least a few things you'll ponder over for a good meal.
re: la tache burger
Couple deals I just found.
Tender Greens in Culver City-Sunday night pot roast dinner for $10
Cafe 50s in Santa Monica and in Venice-Wednesday nights if you wear old school matching pajamas you eat free with beverage purchase.
Edison downtown has $.35 martinis on Thursdays and free grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Many Indian buffets abound...
STUDIO CITY, East SFV -- for $20 or less --
Poki Bowl at DAICHAN, Ventura Blvd, at Eureka -- $14 (incl tax) for a big heap of rice (I choose brown), raw fish (I choose salmon) kombu & wakame seaweed, sliced green onion and shredded lettuce all lightly dressed with sesame oil dressing. WOW! Add a miso soup or a few pieces of tempura and should still be under $20. Tea, no alcohol... You will feel so sated and healthy after this beautifully balanced meal.
Laurel Burger and one beer or wine at LAUREL TAVERN on Ventura Blvd.
Sushi to go from SUSHI DAN SASABUNE, off Laurel Canyon, at Riverside
yep -- cute and quirky place, fantastic and varied menu, inexpensive options, nice people and excellent service -- only downside ------no cold sake!
Daichan Japanese Soul Food Restaurant
11288 Ventura Blvd #F, Studio City, just E of Tujunga at Eureka. (818) 980 8450
Open: Mon-Fri: 11:30am– 3pm, 5.30– 9pm
Sat: 12pm– 3pm, 5.30–9pm. Closed Sundays.
My usual at Taqueria Sanchez is a shrimp taco ($1.75 last time I was there), an al pastor, and a carnitas taco ($1.35 each). Served with chips, some of the dark hot salsa from the bar -- a good, satisfying lunch for less than $5 plus a drink. Tried their crispy taco for a crunchy, cool change. Often get burritos to take home. Seen some of the regulars eating a red soup with lots of vegies and other stuff in it that looks tasty. Yes, everything I've had there is good, the staff is friendly, the place is very clean, and there is easy parking in the back. And definitely as inexpensive as any taqueria on the westside.
Yeah my Taqueria Sanchez usual was the Shrimp Soup (Guajillo Broth, chunks of Chayote, Potatoe, Carrots etc.,. Shrimp & Garnishes), Nopales Gordita, a plate of Refried Beans... & cup of City of Los Angeles special vintage tap water... delicious, soul satisfying, stick to your ribs, nutritional packed meal < $10
Newsroom, West LA
It's on Robertson and they have a fab happy hour. Some great dishes like chicken caesar are half off.
Everywhere...still does the trick.
An everything pizza for $10?!
Galangal Thai, West LA
On Santa Monica, great food with bargain lunch prices
Tommy's is NOT the same everywhere. There is the original on Rampart west of downtown, and I'm confident that the one on Pico and Lincoln in Santa Monica is the same ownership. They have very similar chili and the garnishes are the same (big chopped onion, thick-sliced tomato, etc.). The one in Santa Monica has become a favorite of mine because they have fries that are thicker than the usual fastfood chain fries, and when I order them welldone they will take the time to actually fry them extra crispy. But if you go around town, a lot of these are imposter stands, like the "Tomy's" on Pico at Sawtelle. There is another copycat on Venice west of Robertson. I'm not saying that these can't be good, but they are NOT associated with the original Tommy's. If you see a "big" in the name or only one "m" or some other discrepancy, you can take your chances but you are not patronizing the original Tommy's.
Original Tommy's on the corner of Beveryl and Rampart....awesome. Killer breakfast sandwiches!. I think their breakfast sandwich is possibly better than their burger. I had a girlfriend that lived near the Original Tommy's in Long Beach on the corner of Anaheim and Ximeno. When I found out they made breakfast sandwiches....it was all over baby.
Noodle House on Garvey in Monterrey Park - Shrimp and pumpkin dumplings, pork and leek buns
Phillipe's - Lamb dip with potato salad
JnJ Burgers and BBQ, Adams, just east of Fairfax - pork rib dinner
Hawkin's House o Burgers, Altadena - bacon cheeseburger and fries
Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles - Big Mama's Special
Tacos Baja Ensenada - Whittier Blvd, ELA - 5 tacos pescado
Sea Harbor Rosemead - dim sum
Ethnic is your best bet for the cheapest meals:
1) Golden Deli in Alhambra
2) Indo Kitchen in Alhambra
3) Palms in Hollywood for Thai
4) Liliana's in East L.A. for tacos adobada and tamales
5) Sinbala in Arcadia (can make two meals out of one)
6) Country Bistro in the Diamond Plaza in Diamond Bar (can make 3 meals out of one meal)
7) King Taco
8) Daisy Mint in Pasadena
9) Porto's sandwiches - cheap and good
martyR, I'll agree that the lamb (and pork) dip at Phillipe's is much superior to their beef, which tends to be dry. But except for coffee, Phillipe's has no place on a thread about value dining, at least not anymore. One dip sandwich, a small side scoop of potato salad, a lemonade, and at least a token as a tip and you are at $10, and I'm still not nearly satisfied even at lunch. Their dips have become downright chintzy -- like appetizer portions. Gotta agree with kevin's original list -- for a true value sub in that area, Eastside Deli is the place to go. kevin suggested the meatball, and if that is a bit bland spice it up with some sausage. Their hot roast beef or pastrami is drippy great too.
And please add Sorrento's deli in Culver City to my list. My goodness, big individually made sub sandwiches, no skimping on the meat, for prices similar to bargain bahn mi.
Mario's Peruvian - second this
Greenleaf Chop Shop - what can I say, I like to design my own salad and the fresh ingreidents including chopped hard boiled egg whites
Beverliz Cafe - omelettes, gyros
Eat Well - buddha bowl w/ egg whites
Ed's Coffee Shop (on Robertson) - omelettes
Gilbert's El Indio
Il Forno - power lunch specials
Babalu - grilled veg salad
Bread and Porridge - breakfast fare esp omelettes
Carnival in Sherman Oaks
Pita Kitchen in Sherman Oaks
California Fresh - that eggplant salad
Eduardo's - chicken and salsa
...and so on...
...and the list continues
Full (and good) rib-eye steak dinner for around $13. (rice, beans, and salad instead of potatoes) plus a ton of Mexican dishes under $10. $2.50 gets you a margarita and an all-you-can eat appetizer bar during happy hour Monday - Thursday
bacon wrapped dogs
Many Italian entres under $20
Petrillo's, San Gabriel & Glendora
Pizza & delicious bread
The Hat, many locations including Alhambra, Temple City, & Glendora
Pastrami, burgers, & tons of fries
In 'n Out, All over but especially Baldwin Park headquarters location
Double-Double with money left over to buy a souvenir in their store
Warehouse Pizza, La Verne
Back Abbey, Claremont
The Abbey Burger
Lucky Baldwins, Sierra Madre
Mussels & beer
Guacamoles, El Monte
Good, sit-down mariscos & tacos
Sevan Chicken, Chatsworth
1/4 chicken lunch special with rice and hummus
Los Tres Hermanos, North Hills
soft chicken tacos, crispy chicken tacos, or taquitos. Plus guacamole.
Melody's or Las Fuentes, Reseda?
crispy tacos, salpicon tostada, chicken and rice
Mulberry St. Pizza, Encino
slice of cheese or sausage & mushroom pizza, slice of cake
Sandwich Express, Reseda
Panino's, Woodland Hills
salami & brie sandwich
guilty pleasure: Carney's, Studio City
chili cheeseburger & fries
I used to get Carney's chili cheese dogs--they were the best! But on my last two visits, the skin was so tough I couldn't chew it. Have you been recently? Should I give the dogs another shot?
I also forgot one of my favorite places:
My Hero, Northridge, for Roast Beef & Cheese sub sandwich.
Give it one more try. You are right though, I think once in a while the casings are just too much and/or the dogs weren't steamed properly so it's just not juicy either.
In my list, I also mentioned Fab's Dogs. The hot dogs over there are superb. And they have coney chili dogs. But these are way different than Carney's. For some reason, these feel like more of a gourmet dog, with a chili that you might actually want to eat with a spoon rather than the cornstarchy though still quite good Chili at Carney's and other places such as Tommy's.
there's another issue to think about too. Do you go to the Studio City Carney's or the Sunset Strip Carney's. I did have an off dog once at least at the S.C. location but not at the Sunset location.
Interesting. I've been going to the Studio City Carney's, and it never occured to me the quality might be different. Since you say the problem is a once-in-a-while issue, I will give it another try. Their chili dogs are so good it's worth risking a dud once in a while.
I have been to Fab's. Their hot dogs are fabulous, but I don't care much for their chili. If I go to Fab's, it's just a plain dog w/mustard for me.
Interesting, I like the chili at Fab's but it is completely different from the notion of chili employed at Carney's, and if you only like the Carney's style, than I guess Fab's wouldn't work. Maybe because Fab's is more like heavily spiced ground beef, almost like a sloppy joe sauce (for lack of a better term) than a full-on chili.
Porky's BBQ, on Manchester just west of the Forum
pulled pork sandwich with side (mac'n'cheese), $6.99 last I saw.
note: 2-for-one on dinner specials (meat with two sides) on Tuesdays
Hu's Szechwan, on National in Rancho Park
lunch combo -- kung pao chicken or twice cooked pork w/ soup & salad ($6.95)
Hungry Pocket, Pico across from Santa Monica College
lamb shwarma pita ($5) or falafel pita ($3.50) with hot sauce
Big Mike's, I go the the location on Main in El Segundo
12-inch philly cheesesteak with onions and both kinds of peppers, rings, drink
eat half sandwich, onion rings, and coke there, bring other half home -- just over $10
Zankou Chicken, Westwood
whole rotisserie chicken, pita, and garlic paste -- $9.99
(share with a friend or eat half there, take home half -- a halfbird is $6.99)
Dino's, Pico and Berendo (two blocks west of Vermont)
crazy chicken special -- half-bird grilled, fries, slaw, tortillas (about $5)
Carnitas Michaocan, No. Broadway at 19th, above Chinatown
al pastor burrito (no beans) requested sliced from the rotisserie (about $5)
plus one to bring home and a 4 oz cup of their superlative hot salsa roja
Diddy Riese, Broxton in Westwood Village
3 choc chip cookies w/o nuts, $1 (any time I see a parking spot or walk by)
they are pretty soft when fresh -- better and crispier after the fridge
Philly West, Westwood Blvd. south of Santa Monica Blvd.
half-pound cheeseburger, drippy juicy, flame-grilled ($6 and change)
Bay Cities Deli, Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica
large Godmother, meatball sub, turkey and cheese ($7 or so)
(big hint -- a couple of their extraordinary ficelle rolls, 30 or 40 cents each)
Daily Grill, I go to the Brentwood branch on San Vicente
happy hour, 4-7 weekdays -- pot pie, sliders, other bar food ($3.95 or $2.95)
Lamonica's Pizza, Gayley in Westwood Village
2-topping pizzas now close to $20, but 2 for 1 on Mondays
kevin, you big spender -- all of mine under $10 or good for a meal and a snack!
Can only call, not raise you back, westsidegal. Shamshiri's lunch specials are just under $10 (last time I ordered one) and gotta admit, with the generous serving of beef koobideh or chicken shawarma, the huge mound of rice, the vegies, bread, and refreshing shirazi salad, it is one of those rare meals I usually can't finish. And along with Lamonica's, they are the only place I listed that will deliver to my door.
Daniels's Tacos, Sun Valley
good after 9 pm, when they have free fried onions w/ anything you get
La Taquiza, LA
mulitas, chicken salad
Los Jarritos, Pomona
enchiladas w/ green sauce, and rice and beans (best rice and beans!)
Mario's Peruvian, LA (?), Melrose and Rossmore/Vine
I usually get seafood saltado; some days it's made better than others
Cafe Brasil near Palms neighborhood, on Venice
lunch special is a steal