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How do you define Cheap Eats?

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I am curious. LA magazine has there 101 cheap eats cover story on the newstand shelves. But are these places really "cheap". Factors is listed....2 people can not eat there for under $40.

So I ask, "What is your definition of a cheap meal". I will not include alcohol in my response as we all know liquor can kill a bill anywhere. I think a true cheap dinner for 2 should be able to be purchased for $25 total. Exclusive of top. Obviously, this will not happen at the trendier places or at a steak house. I do believe that it should be available for a variety of cuisines. So where do you go? What do you order? Can you bring your own beer/wine? Sometimes the drive is worth the end result, so I will venture anywhere.

If there are places where the portions are huge and 2 and eat off of one order please tell me.

Times are tough all around, the little places should be stepping up and as consumers and foodies we should be supporting said places.

So tell me- where should I spend my $25? I thank you for your response. If there is already a thread, please direct me towards it, as nothing came up in my search.

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  1. i'll nominate 3:
    taqueria sanchez for mexican

    c & o trattoria for italien (splitting one of their huge pasta dishes)

    hungry pocket across the street from smc on pico for falafal sandwiches (you'll spend a LOT less than $25 here)

    2 Replies
    1. re: westsidegal

      is taqueria sanchez across the street from mariscos chente, do they served fried fish tacos at sanchez.

      1. re: kevin

        Yes, but the the Last time I checked there were no Ensenada Style Tacos at Taqueria Sanchez

    2. I did a quick search on the terms "cheap eats" and turned up these threads:

      http://search.chow.com/search?query=c...

      It looks to me as if we have a board full of "cheapskates!" ;-D>

      1. Cafe Del Rey has been feeling the pinch. A friend dropped by Friday for some wino time with us and mentioned she recently went there with a buddy. She said they ordered their arses off: four glasses of wine, a whole bunch of apps and small plates (she lost count) came to $72 including tax and tip. That's a bargain for a place like that. I know you mentioned exclusive of drinks, but even with, some pretty decent grub at well-heeled places can be had for reasonable prices, as most are feeling the pinch no matter what level of dining. I think she mentioned happy hour is daily from 3-7, and 9-midnight. Just found the info on Cafe Del Rey's website to confirm:

        http://www.cafedelreymarina.com/menu_...

        5 Replies
        1. re: bulavinaka

          i believe that the afternoon happy hour at cafe del rey actually goes from 4:05pm to 7:10PM.
          also, i don't think that they are open until midnight every night. as i recall, the last dinner reservation available during the week is at 9:30. certainly the bar area would be open later, but maybe not as late as midnight.

          it is certainly true though, that their happy hour specials are a terrific deal for high-quality food.

          1. re: bulavinaka

            wow, some of the prices do sound cheap, in a way, and i had previously though cafe del rey was very pricey. 2 dollars for a panna cotta shooter, 3 bucks for duck prosciutto, 6 dollars for an agnolotti dish, it sounds really good, i hope that doesn't mean the execution is slapdash and not well put together because it is pretty cheap, and usually this is a beyond pricey joint.

            1. re: kevin

              i've been there for happy hour before and the execution was FINE.
              with the new, extended, hours this is really terrific.

            2. re: bulavinaka

              my bad!
              i just checked their website and they have indeed extended the afternoon happy hours to be from 3 to 7!!! this is great. also, the website confirms that they will now be staying open to midnight.
              i was wrong. my apologies.

              1. re: westsidegal

                I am sure you were going off of those hours by memory and by habit as well. I think like Mariscos Chente, this place probably has a reserved seat with your name on it! :)

            3. I would define a cheap meal not only by the dollar amount spent but also how much bang you get for your buck. all the taco stands and stuff are great but for a sit down meal I'm a big fan of dim sum, food for two at $25 is plenty and the variety is hard to beat (Elite in Monterey park for example is amazing quality and very affordable), Korean BBQ while a little outside of the $25 mark is still a great value for the amount of food and the general quality (assuming you go to a reputable place, for all you can eat I favor haejangchon on 6th). For an "American" meal I'm a fan of the park, they serve unassuming but quality food (the entree portions are sizeable and can be shared). I recently went to barbrix in silverlake and thought that the price point was great, quality food, although the portions were small great for a light dinner and well priced wine. For a more casual funky night I like to go to wurstkuche and get a brat or two with a beer, I'm not a huge fan of their dipping sauces for the fries as they are kinda pedestrian at best but the fries themselves are great. For BYO, there is always speranza on hyperion, the setting is a little strange but the food is dependable and the no corkage is an added bonus.

              there are a million more places i'm sure but these are the places i tend to go due to geographic location

              -----
              Elite Restaurant
              700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

              The Park
              1400 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

              Wurstkuche
              800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

              Haejangchon Dolgooi Restaurant
              3821 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA

              Barbrix Restaurant and Wine Bar
              2442 Hyperion Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027

              Speranza
              2547 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA

              1. We're always impressed with the "cheap eats" out in the San Gabriel Valley area. $25 for two goes a long way, especially when you nix the booze (which a lot of these places don't offer anyway). The huge variable tends to be "atmosphere." You can grub down at places like 101 Noodle Express or Luscious Dumplings well within that $25 mark. Dim sum at most of the places in SGV are also under that $25 mark as well. Of course, if you start ordering live seafood or some items on the menu, YMMV greatly.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bulavinaka

                  That is very true. Most restaurants and cafes in the San Gabriel Valley don't even offer beer and wine.

                2. Linked below is a fairly recent thread for Westwood that was searching for dinner at $10 per/person or less:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/618380

                  Not mentioned:

                  Palomino - Westwood Village - Happy hour is doable (I'm pretty sure ?) for 2 at $25. Definetly more of an up-scale ambiance than most other places mentioned.
                  http://www.palomino.com

                  Again - Happy Hour deals are often your best friend.