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Cheap eats in Portland

Hey guys. I've already been to fabulous places like Caiola's and Street & Co. but I'd like to find more places that are affordable. So far I know of Becky's, Susan's Fish and Chips, and Gilbert's. All types of food are great.

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  1. Don't miss Haggarty's "Brit-Indy" takeout on Forest Ave: I'm getting great food from there tonight! Excellent classic Indian, very reasonable. http://www.haggartys.com/

    3 Replies
    1. re: mainemal

      We finally got around to trying this place a couple of weeks ago and we thought it was pretty mediocre. The creamier sauces tasted chalky and unblended and one of the tomato-based sauces, can't remember the name, was kind of icky sweet. I can certainly make better Indian food at home. I was really wanting to like it, as we really miss good Indian food in Maine (my stepkids are Indian and grew up eating that cuisine, of course, a tradition I maintained when we blended our households). And there's no raita on the menu!

      1. re: Shooley

        That's too bad but i have to agree. I have had great experiences there but it is a hit or a miss these days. Give it another try if you can, it may be worth it. :)

      2. re: mainemal

        May be reasonable but three strikes and you're out in my book. Never got a good dish here.

      3. don't miss out on Miss Portland Diner or Marginal Way...
        Very good and very reasonable

        1. Nice strand to start. ...Portland is a great cheap eats town, especially if you stay ethnic.
          Kim's Sandwich Shop for Bahn Mi, Trang Tranh II for pho, the Salvadoran and Yucatan places on Washington Ave. ... and Silly's too!

          6 Replies
          1. re: joss2

            Pho place on Forest Ave is called Thanh Thanh II. The Thai place across the street from Thanh Thanh, Sengchai Thai, is above average. Try the larb. Salvadoran place on Washington is called Tu Casa.

            Not a big fan of Haggarty's either. Like the pakora, but the curries are overly sweet.

            Black Tie food is pretty good if you like sandwiches and takeout. West End Grocer also makes really good sandwiches.

            Silly's is its own thing -- very unpretentious, kid-friendly, veg-friendly, unfussy, and quirky.

            1. re: joss2

              where is the Salvadorian resto? i've been craving a good pupusa and don't want to drive to East Boston..

              1. re: minibrings

                Washington Ave in Munjoy Hill area, about 2 blocks past Silly's toward 295. Even has its own small parking lot.

                1. re: the_MU

                  Thanks. What's the name of this Salavadoran place?

                  1. re: ciclista

                    I don't remember but found it doing a google. There is only 1 Salvadorian place in Portland

                    1. re: minibrings

                      Tu Casa is the name of the El Salvadorian restaurant on Washington Ave. Been eating there since they opened and it's always a hit! Great 'to go' as well.

            2. I always enjoy Flatbread Pizza. Can't remember the name of the street it's on...I'm not from the area...but the building is right on the water.

              2 Replies
              1. re: eenie1

                It's on Commercial Street. Great pizza. Another great place for pizza is the fairly new BONOBO'S in Portland -- great pizza, soup, salads AND desserts -- also, pizza by the slice.

                1. re: eenie1

                  Commercial, next to the ferry terminal, behind RiRa.

                2. We like Pepperclub and Duck Fat, both on Middle St. Not super cheap, but less expensive than either Caiolas (which we love) or Street & Co. Pepperclub is open for dinner (not lunch) and has a funky menu with ethnic and veggie specials (plus meals for carnivores). Duck Fat has fries to die for, milkshakes, salads, sandwiches, and soups. Order at counter and they deliver to your table, or you can do take out.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: maina

                    Last time I was at Duckfat you can only order at the counter for take out. They had a change in policy. If your sitting down you order at your table with waitstaff service. That tip bumps up the cost a bit. Plus the waitstaff is not all that worthy of sitting down. Best to take it to go.

                  2. If you like Vietnamese food, Thanh Thanh II is authentic and cheap, Besides pho, they make a great pork chop over rice for less than $10. They give you several thinly sliced chops that are grilled to melt in your mouth. It is our favorite cheap asian place in Portland since Portland lacks the equivalent Chinese places (like Noodletown or Joe's Shanghai in NYC).

                    1. My quick go-to list:
                      - Asmara
                      - Thanh Thanh II
                      - Tu Casa
                      - Haggarty's (its all about the lamb malaidar!)
                      - Yosaku lunch
                      - The Front Room (service has been very good of late)
                      - Happy Teriyaki
                      - Bonobo
                      - Buck's Naked BBQ in Freeport

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: foodquest

                        Many of the same as above plus a few more on my list:

                        Counter food at Haknuman Meany Thai grocery (across from Thanh Than 2)
                        Steve's Sicilian Slab in the back of Micucci's for lunch (usually sold out by 2pm)
                        Happy Hour at Dimillo's
                        Charcuterie plates and sandwiches at Novare Res (The beer will cost ya plenty though!)
                        The slider's at the White Heart
                        Steamed Buns at Bubble Tea on Commercial (havent been in a while though)

                        Has anyone been to Papaya King in town?

                        Where did Stone go? he was cooking amazing Jamaican food at the Commercial Street Pub but had left there...

                        1. re: Noreaster

                          I liked Papaya King - owner is James - every hot dog I've had is just how I like it. Guy in front of me last week gets the cheeseburger every day. Can't believe you can get full on less than $5, but gourmet it ain't.

                        2. re: foodquest

                          Glad to hear Happy Teriyaki is still around. Has business picked up?

                        3. Don't forget Paciarino, on Fore St. Not cheap as in you-can-pay-with-the-change-in-the-car, but for the quality, it's an incredible deal (lunch for under $10).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sciencediet

                            Paciarino is great for lunch or dinner. Owners are always in there, everybody that works there is clean and presentable, and the pastas live up to the hype. Can't miss.

                            468 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101

                          2. I second the Black Tie rec - excellent food for very reasonable prices (they are primarily a catering company with a food shop on Commercial Street). I am a fan of a newer place, El Rayo, for decent, fresh California-style Mexican fare (past Portland Pie on the corner of High Street --- great pizza). I think the drive up to Falmouth to go to the Foreside Tavern (exit 10) is worth it every time.

                            1. All I can say is- Give me EL RAYO TAQUERIA! It's affordable and delicious. Their food hits the spot every time and the food is fast, fresh, and fantastic! We've ordered to-go on occasion but find it much more enjoyable to sit down for a casual, yet timely, dinner or lunch- depending on the day. Looking forward to sitting outside in the sunshine this summer and sipping on a hibiscus refresco or passionista margarita! Yum yum! No negative comments thus far!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: AmyJohnson

                                Wow well I think you are in the minority, so far thumbs way down on El Rayo. it's clear across the board as far as I have read about them and experienced, tiny portions, BIG prices and very slow and bad service. I am just wondering what is going to be in that spot this time next year because I know they can't be getting a lot of repeat business, just a lot of first and last timers trying it out. to bad, wish they pulled it off.

                              2. Those are all great suggestions, everyone.

                                I'd also like to add two other places that I have enjoyed.

                                Jewel of India does a wonderful Indian lunch buffet 4 days of the week for less than $10.

                                Ricetta's does a very delicious all you can eat pizza buffet every day.

                                Tu Casa offers heavy, yummy portions at modest prices.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: jamtart

                                  We never miss that Ricetta's buffet lunch when we are in the area. It's a great thin-crust, creative toppings ... and watching the wood paddle slide those pies into the wood-fired brick oven is mesmerizing. Buffet includes salad and soup.

                                  Ricetta's Brickoven Pizzeria
                                  29 Western Ave Ste 6, South Portland, ME 04106

                                  1. re: SlowFood3

                                    Definitely Stephen Lanzalotta's Sicilian slabs in the back of Micucci's. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this buy and its really clean and the dough is hand made. Actually everything he makes is from scratch. Anyways, there is a thai place called Boda on congress. it is SO inexpensive and Delicious-try the beef skewers- really great and cheap.

                                    1. re: Olivepaulive

                                      Thank you Chowhound for turning us onto to Micucci's. Not technically a restaurant (it’s an Italian deli/grocery store), there are some tables at the back. We were lucky that there were a few slabs a pizza left after we arrived off the Casco Bay ferry. And we indulged in some of the Italian pastries to go. Regarding the closing of Ricetta's near the Maine mall, we were devastated to pull up July, 2011 and see the place closed. Luckily we had time to drive north to Falmouth and satisfy our pizza buffett craving.