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What's the best 'cheap eat' you ever had in DC?

I'm fairly new to the DC area and looking for some good cheap eateries. Any suggestions?

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    1. MrCheapEats,

      There are potentially a hundred+ responses to this. Can you narrow your definitions a bit? Do you mean in DC only or the DC area -- if the latter, how far outside DC? About what cost per person is under your "Cheap Eats" threshold? Any types of restaurants or cuisines you want to especially include/exclude?

      I'm trying to be helpful.

      15 Replies
      1. re: KeithW

        Specific cuisines to include/exclude = none
        DC area = circumference approximately no further than Rockville/Bethesda/Alexandria
        Cheap eat = under $15 per person, preferably not to exceed $10/person.

        No need to list the hundreds, just a few give a few 'gotta try' suggestions that come to mind.
        Thank you for your suggestions.

        1. re: MrCheapEats

          OK, listing only ones I have been to, and not organized in any order, but excluding MD because I am pretty much exclusively in DC and VA:

          Rays Hell Burger
          Five Guys Burgers and Fries (chain)
          Vace Italian Deli
          Italian Store
          Taqueria Nationale
          CF Folks -- order from the daily specials ($15)
          Moby Dick House of Kebab
          Rocklands Barbeque
          Hard Times Cafe (for the chili)
          2 Amys -- (been a while since I've been there) ($15)

          Plus you will definitely want to get to a Peruvian Chicken place and a Vietnamese Pho place, but my go-to locations for those are outside your geographic zone.

          No doubt many others could provide a different list with other good options.

          Italian Store
          3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

          Moby Dick's
          721 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231

          3315 Connecticut Avenue NW, DC 20008

          1. re: KeithW

            Nice list.

            For this time of the morning and for the geographic area, I'd have to add TECC first - especially for the chorizo (I know - you goat lovers).

            I'd also add La Union (Thanks Steve). And Caribbean Grill (not C. Breeze) in North Arlington.

            Really so many more than this - I mean the recent Mario's/Al's/Weenie Beenie thread, for instance. Then there's saltena's and the like. Then Ethiopian. Then hidden places like the pizza place on Walter Reed just North of Col. Pike. Then there's the Thai places on Columbia Pike, and then there's (within the OP's radius), well, Wheaton.

            So - OP - just buckle up, tune in, and enjoy the ride, okay?

            And if this for an article, I want credit for that last line.

            La Union Restaurant
            5517 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22205

            The Caribbean Grill
            5183 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22207

            1. re: Dennis S

              Dennis S - can you name the hidden pizza place on walter reed?

              1. re: kellyc96

                I was just past it the other day, but the name doesn't stick. It's about 3 doors North of Columbia Pike on the East side of the street. It's a thinner crust, sort of in the Greek style of pie. It's something like Pizza Pantry or such.

                1. re: Dennis S

                  Yes, the name is Pizza Pantry. Been there forever, though I don't know if the pizza is still the same. A biscuit-style crust, think Pillsbury. Not far off from in style from an old place in Rockville called Gentleman Jim's (long gone) or a downgrade version of Ledo's (recently moved) near U. of Md.

                  Ledo Restaurant
                  4509 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740

                2. re: kellyc96

                  Went by the other day, and its name is "Sicilian," and it's listed as "Sicilian Pizza."

              2. re: KeithW

                I guess everyone considers "cheap" different;y and it's relative. I don't really think 2 Amy's is--if it's only pizza.

                1. re: spinachandchocolate

                  I do not think you have dined at 2 Amy's. They offer much more than pizza.

                  Two Amys
                  3715 Macomb St NW, Washington, DC 20016

                  1. re: spinachandchocolate

                    I believe if two people split a margherita, suppli, polpettini and the deviled eggs at 2 Amys, you'll spend about $15 per person, cheap enough to be considered part of this thread according to the OP. If you stick to the margherita, then it will be less. Either way, a great place to eat.

                    Though it is always cheaper to eat counter service, which is why Puputella in Arlington is such a valuable Chowhound commodity. The arancino is fantastic, very rich, and only $3.50. One is not a whole meal, but two are too many, so better to split a couple and split a buffalo milk mozzarella pizza.

                    1. re: Steve

                      On my first and so far only visit to Pupatella, I got an arancino and a "Real Margherita" pizza (buffalo mozz). That rice ball was almost a killer, but I persevered and "forced down" the wonderful pizza.

                      5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

                      1. re: Bob W

                        Bob - I got both of those as well as the artichoke pizza. The artichoke was good but didn't shine in front of the Real Margherita - just as good as the pizza I had in Italy!

                  2. re: KeithW

                    Keith's list is pretty good. I'd add Pupatella for pizza and Pho Hot in Annadale.

                    Pho Hot Restaurant
                    7442 Little River Tpke, Annandale, VA 22003

                    5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

                  3. re: MrCheapEats

                    also Naan and Beyond @ 17th & L NW

                    1. re: MrCheapEats

                      Some of my favorite cheap eat spots are Taylor's Gourmet, California Tortilla, Nan and Beyond, CF Folk's Restaurant, and So's Your Mom.

                      So's Your Mom
                      1831 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009

                  4. Well, the Republicans seem to have eaten the Democrats for lunch last month. (Since turnabout is fair play, I expect the Democrats to return the favor in 2012.) Not exactly cheap eats, though: campaign spending is reported to have approached $4 billion for the last cycle.

                    Lest I run afoul of the ever-vigilant Chowhound censors, here is a cheap-eats fave of mine (also anointed by Washingtonian Magazine): 2 Amy's in Upper Northwest. The Neapolitan pizzas are very good, but check out the small plates too.

                    1. I would agree that you need to better define. With that being said, I immediately thought pho. We have so many good pho joints in NoVA.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rHairing

                        OK now that more responses have been made, Tutto Benne in Ballston does Bolivian on the weekends at lunch. I have tried a few different saltenas in the area and it's still my fave. If you venture to Vienna/Oakton area....Skorpios for gyros or roasted chicken, Plaka for the gyro with pork, Tigris or Rose for kabobs, Pure Pasty Company, Italian Gourmet...

                      2. I <3 Chinatown Express, on 6th by H NW for dumplings (steamed pork and leek) and the pork/wonton noodle soup, and everything else. You can definitely get out of there for under $10 a person or $15 if you're feeling reeeeally hungry.

                        If you order just an entree, you can get out of Mandalay in Silver Spring for around $10/pp with tip, depending on which one you order. Definitely under $15. I like the V13 with peppers and onions; tofu in coconut and tomato curry with rice.

                        It's not in the direction of Rockville/Bethesda, but within the radius is La Fondita, in Hyattsville. This is a small Mexican place that is a converted little house on Decatur, off of Rt 1. I always get the tacos, usually al pastor, which they do with pineapple. I find them to be delicious, and you can get two for under $5. They also have wonderful lamb soup, but I usually get my tacos to go, and soup isn't as much of a to go meal.

                        A couple months ago, I was introduced to Taylor gourmet, a sandwich place with I think three locations around the area (H St. NE, K St. NW, and Bethesda). A 6" sub there is ... $7? $8? Less than $10, at any rate. The 9th St. Italian is one of the most popular, and for good reason.

                        Also along the H St. NE corridor is Dangerously Delicious Pies. Their original shop is in Baltimore, and I know there've been people posting lately saying they're not impressed with the Baltimore location, but I find the DC one really .... well, delicious. Depending on what you order and how hungry you are, you can get out of there for under $10 if you order one slice of pie (~$7 I think?), but I find that if you order a savory pie and they give you a salad, that's enough for me unless I'm starving. Savory pie winner for me is the SMOG -- steak, mushroom, onion, and gruyere, and sweet pie winner is the Baltimore Bomb -- a chess pie with chocolate shortbread cookie in it, I believe.

                        I second Peruvian chicken and Pho. The chicken place I go to most often, cause it's near work, is in College Park, but there's a Don Pollo (I think) in Bethesda, and I don't know where ones are in the city. Try to find one where they have plantains (oh, plantains, how I love you). Unfortunately, same for Pho - normal place is in College Park (Pho 88), and I wouldn't know where to go in the city. I like the eye of round, and the Vietnamese coffee is delicious if you drink coffee (it's chicory flavored coffee, like at Cafe Du Monde, with sweetened condensed milk).

                        The last place I'll mention is Teaism. There are three locations, one in Dupont, one on Pennsylvania... (I think?) and one at Gallery Place. It's definitely possible to go over $10 or $15 there (Bento box, tea, cookie, etc etc) but if you don't order everything in sight, also definitely possible to stay under the limit. My favorites there are the hand roll bento, the tuna bento, the chai, the chocolate salty oat cookie, and the tea-cured salmon and cilantro scrambled eggs for breakfast on weekends. Note that the dupont location only has the tuna bento on fridays.


                        Happy eating!

                        2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: kallisti

                          What chicken place do you go to in College Park? I like Pollo Fiesta in Riverdale. Half a chicken and two sides are around $8.

                          I haven't been to La Fondita yet, but I've been meaning to check it out. I've passed it on my bike probably hundreds of times.

                          Check out Taqueria La Placita some time. It's in the "Little Mexico" part of Bladensburg. Great, cheap tacos there, including al pastor, which cooks on a spit. I'm pretty sure there are some other discussions here that mention it.

                          Taqueria La Placita
                          5020 Edmonston Rd, Hyattsville, MD 20781

                          1. re: 4X4

                            For some reason I never saw this reply, sorry. I go to Sardi's north of College Park on Rt 1. Mmmm 1/4 chicken dark with plantains and green beans. Soooo good.

                            1. re: kallisti

                              Oh yeah, I've been there. It's in Beltsville. Lately when I've gone the long lines have led me to go across the street to Pho 88.

                              Pho 88 Restaurant
                              232 W Broad St, Falls Church, VA 22046

                              1. re: 4X4

                                There are definitely long lines at lunch unless you try to get there at like 11:45 (ie, before 12). We do hit up Pho 88 often as well.

                                Pho 88 Restaurant
                                232 W Broad St, Falls Church, VA 22046

                        2. I'm a regular at Tortilla Cafe, DC-3, Mangialardo's, MGM Roast Beef, Sullivan's Seafood, and Taylor Gourmet, all of which you can get out of for less than $10 and not leave hungry. Taylor's fried risotto balls are perfect. Greek Deli is also a DC instittution, as is Maine Avenue Fish Market. The best part about frigid temperatures is that the line at Jimmy's Grill is thinner than usual. And there's also Cap City Diner. Finding a decent sitdown meal for under $10 with a tip is still a chore.

                          Greek Deli
                          1120 19th St NW Frnt 1, Washington, DC 20036

                          Taylor Gourmet
                          Washington, DC, Washington, DC

                          1. I eat lunches out because it's cheaper than eating dinners out. I won't pay more than $10 for a lunch, though it's rare that I can meet my target $5 lunch any more. I should add that I live near 7 Corners, rarely go into DC or Maryland, usually try to combine lunch with an errand or shopping, and since what little work I do nowadays I do at home, I go out for lunch nearly every day just to be sure I get out of the house and see something different from my usual neighborhood exercise walk.

                            1. I'm almost always eating alone. This contributes to a cheap eat in several ways.

                            2. Cheapest are self-service (order at the counter) places. I don't mind that. I can choose my own table rather than getting shuffled off to the table next to the kitchen door where they like to seat solo diners.

                            3. I drink plain water. I like water. Alcohol isn't necessary and it's always expensive. The cheapest soft drinks now are close to $2.

                            4. I don't expect gourmet food. I like it to look, feel, and smell right and I don't like steam table foods like buffets.

                            A few of my lunch places in fairly regular rotation, not in any particular order, are:

                            Hong Kong Express (not Palace) - in the shopping center with Harris Teeter, across from Lake Barcroft. Tea, as well as water is free, though they just raised the prices on the lunch special menu (entree, rice, soup) by a buck, so most are $6. I get the soup to go and make another lunch out of it at home. Good for dulling my appetite before shopping at H-T.

                            Five Guys - Enough has already been said about them. I like the fries, but a "regular" (the smallest) order is both too large and too expensive. Sometimes I'll take home the remains and re-heat them as a side with dinner. I can usually get two dinner sides out of the leftover fries, but on the trip home they make my car smell like hot oil and that lasts for a couple of days. I've been tempted to ask a person in line behind me if he or she wants to share an order of fries, but I've never had the chutzpah.

                            Food Corner - I go to the one in Annandale. Excellent gyros under $7 (also free tea, usually its a spiced or cardamom tea). Kabobs are a buck more. Shilla's (Korean) Bakery next door usually has samples out - free dessert! (though now and then I buy something there to take home)

                            Glory Days on Monday for their $5 burgers. We haven't had a good fancy burger war around here for a while, but I'll go out on a limb and say that (independent of price) I like this one better than BGR - more variety in toppings without adding extra cost (a buck for a slice of cheese! geez louize!) and the $5 includes decent fries and a pickle spear. I have to send my respects to Ray's for an excellent burger, too, but I usually don't do lunch there. Red Hot & Blue has a similar $5 burger deal, but it's only Monday nights so it's out for lunch. I've had some good burgers and some tastelessly overdone burgers (that got re-made, thanks) there.

                            Flippin' Pizza - one of the few places where I'll get a beverage since they have a 2 slices + drink for $5 deal. But the one on Little River Turnpike a bit east of Annandale has a better deal. On Monday-Wednesday slices are $1 when you buy a drink. That's under $4 for two slices and a drink. Whole pizzas there are better than slices because they're cooked fresh and not re-heated, but I can't eat that much. The slices are OK.

                            Valentino's - One slice of pizza there is big enough for me, but most of the ones with a healthy dose of toppings are over $4 for a slice.

                            The most convenient pho place. Golden Cow, Tay Do, 75 or some number around that, Pho Sate (Damn! They took away the Magruder's in that shopping center so don't have a good reason to go there any more. They're all a little different and I don't have a particular preference now that they're all charging for tea.

                            Hong Kong Palace and X.O. Taste - both have a good variety on the lunch special menu and the cooking and variety is better than Hong Kong Express, but since they're sit-down places, with tip and tax, lunch is about $9, getting dangerously close to busting my budget

                            District Taco - Just started exploring the new Arlington location, never did the downtown food cart. Two tacos is enough food for me, the meats are tasty, sauces fresh and have some depth, still trying to find the right combination of toppings that isn't' too sloppy and compliments the meat nicely. Would be nice if they offered corn tortillas, even if not fried crispy, but I can eat like a Texan now and again and enjoy it.

                            Baja Fresh - This used to be one of my favorites for taste and value, but the one in Falls Church (closest to me) is getting kind of sloppy and skimpy. The one in Merrifield seems to have consistently better food, but the prices are creeping up. Also, the cash register receipt used to be a dollar off a purchase of $5 or more, then it was $6 or more, then $8 or more, and now I think it's $5 off on $15. Can't eat enough to reach that threshold, and reluctant to try just on general principles. Still go there now and then, like when I have to go to Micro Center and it's not Monday (Glory Days).

                            El Pollo Rico - What more is there to say? I've occasionally had some cool and limp French Fries but never a bum chicken.

                            Pio-Pio - Right around the corner, when El Pollo Rico's parking lot is full. Chicken is spiced and marinated differently from El Pollo Rico, but very good in its own way, plus they offer a choice of sides, not just fries and slaw. Makes me feel like I'm eating more authentically when I can get rice, beans, yuca, and such.

                            Super Pollo - I usually go to the one in the Harris Teeter shopping center near Lake Barcroft when I'm headed for HT and don't feel like Hong Kong Express. Chicken is generally good, but I prefer the other two places above. This reminds me that Arlington and Falls Church tax is higher than Fairfax tax, so same thing is cheaper one place than the other. How's that for looking out for the cheap eats?

                            That's enough to hold me for a couple of weeks.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: MikeR

                              They have soft corn tortillas at District Taco, you just have to ask!

                              1. re: Steve

                                Thanks for the tip. I'll have to give that a try next time. How do you like your tacos topped there so that they're not too sloppy? Or is that part of the game?

                                1. re: MikeR

                                  I've only been to the store once, and I didn't realize they have a toppings bar, so some toppings are just better to add your own.

                                  1. re: Steve

                                    They (District Taco, Arlington) have a salsa bar (which I don't think they had the first time I was there), but you order your taco with "toppings" - beans, rice, cheese, lettuce, tomato, grilled vegetables, stuff like that.

                              2. re: MikeR

                                I like your recommendation of Glory Days. Their burgers are pretty good, though not in the same league as Ray's. $5 for one is a better deal than Mickey D's. I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned A&J (Annandale branch meets the OP's geopraphical limit) for their great noodle soups and little plates. But they are cash only. My own favorite cheap eat in a pinch is anything on Mickey D's Dollar Menu (the McDouble is an especially good deal for a buck).

                                1. re: dpan

                                  A&J is a great place to know about, no doubt about it. The pan fried beef bun is sensational.

                                  1. re: dpan

                                    I have a hard time putting burgers in "leagues." Of course there are differences between Ray's and Glory Days and BGR and one of those fancy downtown steak places, but the differences are subtle enough so that price trumps any differences. They're about the same size, and all just a little too big but manageable. I like the buns that Glory Days uses because they don't have seeds, and I think that seeds don't add anything to the flavor of the sandwich.

                                    I love the ketchup that Ray's has on the tables (forgot the name, but it's not a grocery store brand) but I only use that when I'm ordering fries, which usually is an overload unless I have someone to share with.

                                    I think that Five Guys is also a good burger, and in the same "league" of "good" but completely different than the "big burger" class - it's a small burger but well made. Sometimes I feel like having one style, sometimes the other.

                                    1. re: MikeR

                                      I've been out in California for the past couple of weeks and the "Gourmet burger" chain out here, if you don't include In-N-Out is called The Counter. You check off what you want and they bring it to the table. Burgers are in increments of 1/3 pound - beef, chicken, turkey, veggie, choice of toppings, cheeses, sauces, buns (including none, in a bowl). Pretty darn expensive. 1/3 pound burger with a basic cheese, lettuce, and onions was ten bucks. We do a lot better for less around here, but if you want that many choices to custom build your burger, California is the place to be these days. (also, the weather has been great for the past 2 weeks. I don't wanna come home tomorrow) But if you must, there's a The Counter in Reston, and one in NYC.


                                      1. re: MikeR

                                        Yes, the prices at the counter are kinda craxy, but the food is nearly worth it

                                        1. re: MikeR

                                          I am all for a good burger but for its price point In-N-Out destroys the competition. A double-double meal with fries and drink $7.85 including tax. Last time I went to Five Guys I was charged $7.50 for a burger and drink (no fries)

                                    2. re: MikeR

                                      AGREED about the gr8 charbroiled burger at GLORY DAYS Grill !!
                                      I went to the Fairfax location, during a visit from Atlantic City...
                                      it just happened to be a Monday, as well.....
                                      what a gr8 burger for 5 bucks ! (or even for 10 bucks, that's how delish it was !!!!)

                                    3. My favorite cheap eats:
                                      Napoli Sub at Italian Store
                                      Rays Hellburger
                                      Lamb Shwarma at Lebanese Butcher
                                      Tacos at TECC
                                      Blueberry Buckwheat Cakes at Market Lunch
                                      Salt and Pepper Squid at Thai Square or the Pork Knuckle Stew

                                      Lebanese Butcher & Restaurant
                                      109 E Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22046

                                      Thai Square
                                      3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

                                      Italian Store
                                      3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                                      Market Lunch
                                      225 7th St SE Ste 12, Washington, DC 20003

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: ktmoomau

                                        Thai Square -- good call! I forgot about that one. Can be >$15 w/ drink and tip though.

                                        Looking forward to trying all the others mentioned above that I haven't been to.

                                        Thai Square
                                        3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

                                        1. re: ktmoomau

                                          You'll have to wait a while for the Lebanese Butcher restaurant to re-open. They're still working on it. But I agree, that sandwich is a good cheap eat.

                                          I have this problem with too much food. Half a sub from The Italian Store will do me for lunch, and they really don't keep too well, even when I ask for the dressing and peppers in a separate container so the sandwich isn't soaked through by the time I get it home.

                                        2. The steak and cheese sub at Mario's.
                                          The Capri sub at the Italian Store.
                                          The goat tacos at El Charro Caminante.
                                          The pork and leek dumplings at China Bistro.
                                          Fried chicken at Hershey's in Washington Grove.
                                          Tacos al pastor and the posole at the Taco Bar in Gaithersburg.
                                          Sichuan beef noodle soup and salt/pepper squid at Joe's Noodle House.
                                          Lamb kebab platter at Meiwand Kebab.

                                          Italian Store
                                          3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                                          China Bistro
                                          755 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD

                                          Joe's Noodle House
                                          1488 Rockville Pike Ste C, Rockville, MD 20852

                                          1. The good Pho places I know inside the beltway in VA (sorry not familiar with DC or MD places) are Pho 75 on Wilson Blvd (in the same strip mall as Ray's Hellburger), Pho Tay Ho on Leesburg Pike in Bailey's Crossroads near the Peking Gourmet, and Pho Golden Cow in Falls Church on Rt 50 and Graham Rd.

                                            Pho Golden Cow
                                            7246 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22042

                                            Pho Tay Ho Restaurant
                                            6015 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: dpan

                                              The Penn Quarter farmers' market $1 oysters were always a nice, relatively cheap treat.

                                              Not sure of the OP's area (Can't really put Bethesda and Rockville in the same "circumference") but Wheaton is full of options. Lunch specials at Moby Dick's sushi, the pupsa places (Irene's No. 3), some of the Thai dishes at Nava and Ruan, Max's schwarma, the zeppoles at Marchione's (when available) plus the chicken places.

                                              Definitely out of range, but Kabob n' Karahi in Cloverley makes anything at any Moby Dick look purely pedestrian.

                                              Like the gyros and octopus salad at Yamas in Bethesda a lot.

                                              The Deligh: sandwich at Parkway Deli in Silver Spring.

                                              Moby Dick's
                                              721 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231

                                              Parkway Deli & Restaurant
                                              8317 Grubb Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910

                                              1. re: repete

                                                wheaton cheap great lunch eats 1. Falafel or Schwarma at Max's 2. pappusa's at Irene's pappusa 3. anything at Samantha's diner and bakery 4. Pho at the same shopping center as Max's 5. chicken at any of the many peruvian chicken places 6. subs from Marchiiones

                                                1. re: dining with doc

                                                  Also at the same shopping center as Max's and the Pho place - Asian Foods. It's a grocery store, but they also have some pretty good prepared (Thai) food.

                                            2. I'd vote for Juice Joint. Really great sandwiches. I've had at least a dozen off the menu and they were all fantastic, from the portobello wrap to the roasted turkey & swiss with tofu "mayo."

                                              Really amazing juice also, but you'll pay for it. The sandwhiches are all very reasonably priced.

                                              And I'll second Taylor Gourmet and also add Great Wall Szechuan, Sichuan Pavillion, Thai Chili, and El Rinconcito. And Clyde's - at happy hour there are a few $7 dinner options.

                                              I'm sure we could all come up with more options if there is any specific location you're looking at.

                                              1. Thanx for asking this wonderful question, mrcheapeats!!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: tattud_gurl

                                                  Wegmans - lunch buffet $7.99 lb or the sushi which is fresh and priced between $5-$8
                                                  Any Pho place - $6-$7
                                                  H-mart - serves some tasty soups $7

                                                2. Sabroso Grill in SS is my favorite Peruvian chicken place--huge servings of incredibly good food.

                                                  Tackle Box in Georgetown is unbeatable for ultra-fresh seafood at an amazingly low price.

                                                  Thai Place, in Foggy Bottom, has solid Thai food at 90s prices.

                                                  Also looking forward to the imminent return of Rogue States to Dupont Circle.

                                                  Sabroso Grill
                                                  8624 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910

                                                  1. Morso Express in Georgetown (for lamb pide with egg)
                                                    Amsterdam Falafel
                                                    Ray's Hellburger
                                                    Z Burger (for burgers and shakes)
                                                    Good Stuff Eatery (for burgers and the best shakes in town)
                                                    Vace (for great pizza sold by the slice)
                                                    Chinatown Express (for dumplings and noodle soup)
                                                    Mr Yogato
                                                    Ruan Thai
                                                    Irene's Pupusas
                                                    Canales at Eastern Market (for hot half smokes in natural casing ready to eat)
                                                    Teaism (for salty oat cookie)

                                                    I know I'm forgetting a lot, but that is what comes to me now!

                                                    Ruan Thai Restaurant
                                                    11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

                                                    2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                                    Z Burger
                                                    Washington, DC, Washington, DC

                                                    Mr Yogato
                                                    723-A South Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231

                                                    Good Stuff Eatery
                                                    303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

                                                    Amsterdam Falafelshop
                                                    2425 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                                    1. Julia's Empanadas all the way!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Lifefeast

                                                        I second Julia's Empanadas. You can get two meat/veggie emps, a fruit emp and a soda for under $9.

                                                        You can also try Maoz. Combo of falafel, Belgian fries and a drink for under $10.

                                                      2. There are tons of restaurants that would fit your revised description. Budgetwise, you'll do great at any of the Central/South American places that fill the MD suburbs, though Irene's Pupusas and El Patio come to mind as the best options. Crisp n' Juicy is pretty reliable for chicken, as is Nando's Peri Peri.

                                                        Tons of great Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese restaurants would meet your budget: Ruan Thai, Oriental East, Nava Thai, Joe's Noodle House and A&Js are personal favorites. There are also countless pho joints, all under $10. I've yet to go to one that was bad, but I've also yet to go to one that was noteworthy.

                                                        There are Ethiopian places that are doable in your price range, but the better ones in NE tend to be a bit more than you're looking to spend.

                                                        You can check out the WP Cheap Eats choices, which will often be in the $15-under category.

                                                        For very informal dining, keep your eye on the DC food cart scene, which is almost always under $10 for a complete meal:
                                                        Good luck with your cheap eats.

                                                        Ruan Thai Restaurant
                                                        11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

                                                        Oriental East
                                                        1312 E West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910

                                                        Nava Thai Restaurant
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                                                        Irene's Pupusas
                                                        2218 University Blvd E, Hyattsville, MD 20783

                                                          1. Had a great burger...and even better beer at Clyde's on Saturday! Good eats....dinnerware and cutlery needs some help though.

                                                            Clyde's of Georgetown
                                                            3236 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: tabletopjournal

                                                              I had a very different experience the last two times I went to Clyde's. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich and a Sierra Nevada. My beer was cold the food how ever was rather bland and the service was lacking.

                                                              1. re: agarnett100

                                                                I haven't set foot in Clyde's in years. Georgetown, Tysons, or Gallery Place, either the service is sloppy, the food indifferently prepared, the bar deafening, or some combination of the three. I had similar issues with Chadwicks, but my past few trips have been quite pleasant. Good selection of cold beers in Old Town, prices are reasonable, and the service very accomidating. And so long as I'm not there at Friday happy hour, I can usually hear myself think.

                                                                203 The Strand, Alexandria, VA 22314

                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                  Generally from reports and my own experience, they're all different. I've only gone a few times, but I base this on reports here and from friends/family. The Reston one is HORRIBLE on service. Hands down - no argument allowed.

                                                                  The Tyson's one for brunch/lunch is good.

                                                                  Most people seem to like Ebbitt's for the happy hour but stay away otherwise.

                                                                  1. re: Dennis S

                                                                    Ebbit's is okay, as is the Tower Oaks happy hour. Can't speak for the other locations.

                                                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                      I also like the Tower Oaks happy hour.

                                                            2. Tacos El Costalilla is my current cheap eat favorite. For $10 you can kill yourself in there.



                                                              Tacos El Costalilla
                                                              7862 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22306

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                Co-sign El Costalilla. Also add La Mexicana Bakery. These were two of the best cheap eats I've had in the area. Though I guess if you count the Zipcar it's not exactly cheap, but still worth it.

                                                                1. re: mdpilam

                                                                  I'm retracting my co-sign of El Costalilla (except for their sopes). Stick to La Mexicana.

                                                              2. I'm pretty new to the DC area as well, but already love the Bahn Mi DC Sandwich shop on the 50 (almost to the beltway). The chicken sandwich comes with pickled veggies, peppers and fresh cilantro on a crusty roll...for $3.50!!! And, buy four, get the fifth free. You can't beat it.