Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Jan 5, 2011 05:36 AM

Best Boston Cheap Eats?

I have joined the ranks of the unemployed, so my family is looking to scale way back on our restaurant eating. This also being the New Year, I thought this would be a great time to start my dream of finding the good hole-in-the-walls on this side of the river. We'll go to any Boston neighborhood and eat any type of cuisine, plus Brookline, but I'd prefer to skip downtown, unless there's something amazing there. What are your favorites?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There are good cheap spots downtown. Clover Food Lab, Boston Kebab House, Chacarero, Silvertone, Haymarket Pizza, Falafel King, D-Guru, Zo, $1.50 pints of PBR at Biddy Early's(haven't tried the food, which is very cheap). Some may not be open on weekends, however.

    Two great neighborhoods for cheap eats are Chinatown and Allston. Plenty of threads here on both of them. I'll mention Dumpling Cafe as a new spot thats worth a visit.

    69 Bromfield St, Boston, MA 02108

    Boston Kebab House
    7 Liberty Sq, Boston, MA 02109

    Haymarket Pizza
    106 Blackstone St, Boston, MA 02109

    101 Arch St, Boston, MA 02110

    1. Shanghai Gate on Harvard is my favorite cheap eats and simply one of my favorites regardless of price. Check Striper Guy's great ethnic listing post for dozens more great choices.

      Shanghai Gate
      204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

      1. Some of my favorites that are very reasonably priced include Family Restaurant in Brookline Village, Dok Bua between Coolidge Corner and Allston, Victoria's Diner in Roxbury, Cafe Jaffa in the Back Bay, and India Quality in Kenmore Square.

        Victoria's Diner
        Boston, MA, Boston, MA

        Cafe Jaffa
        48 Gloucester St, Boston, MA 02115

        India Quality Restaurant
        484 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

        1 Reply
        1. re: hiddenboston

          I'll add Chili Duck across from the Pru, Pho Basil on Massachusetts Avenue and Pad Thai Cafe on Boyslton and india Samraat to Hidden Boston's list.


          Pad Thai Cafe
          1116 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215

          Pho Basil Restaurant
          177A Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115

        2. Pho Viet in Allston is one of the best deals in town, and the food is fantastic regardless of the price.

          Pho Viet
          1095 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

          1. Can't talk cheap without Gallaria Umberto. It's only for lunch, but you can stuff yourself and not need dinner! Or you could take some pizza to go. Also, Bahn Mi at Pho Viet at the Super 88 food court. Brookline Family Restaurant, Garlic 'N Lemons in Allston.

            Brookline Family Restaurant
            305 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445

            Pho Viet
            1095 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

            12 Replies
            1. re: kimfair1

              Pho Viet and Brookline Family Restaurant were the first two to pop into my mind as well. Still need to get to Garlic 'N Lemons.

              Brookline Family Restaurant
              305 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445

              Pho Viet
              1095 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

              1. re: Cachetes

                Buffet lunch at the kebab factory would be on my list.

                1. re: teezeetoo

                  Great Taste in /n C-town has lunch-sized steamed buns for $1.50, and huge delicious plates of stir-fried noodles and/or rice plates for under $7 (some under $6)--all the time.

                  And Taco Loco has great cheap tacos and tamales (even if no place to really sit down.)

                  Taco Loco
                  301 Lancaster St, Leominster, MA 01453

                  Great Taste
                  201 Main St, Milford, MA 01757

                  1. re: femmevox

                    Oh, and the lunch buffet at Viet Thai in Lowell. Delicious barbecued heads on shrimp (all you can eat)--those are the best. But also fresh rolls, spring rolls, a couple of choices of soups and curries and stir fries, fresh fruit for desert. $7

                    1. re: femmevox

                      I think the gas prices to get to Lowell (from Boston/Brookline) are going to more than make up for the cheap food at Viet Thai

              2. re: kimfair1

                Have to second the Umberto suggestion, I had 2 slices and an Arancini for lunch the other day, came to $5 and change.....and felt like I was on Man vs. Food towards the last few bites. What a great deal, and it's all so delicous

                1. re: devilham

                  My Italian wife call's the Umberto item an aranchone.

                  Aranchini means little orange (name thusly cause they look like the citrus fruit).

                  She calls them aranchone cause the Umberto ones are well, big.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    That's great, very funny. In Sicily many are also baseball-size and also called Arancini. My favorite Neapolitan place in DC serves golfball-sized Arancino and calls them Suppli al Telefono, which Google tells me is a Roman name.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      "My Italian wife call's the Umberto item an aranchone."

                      It goes without saying that you're a great, great, great chow hound. Not only do I worship the grapes you tread on, I'm also not worthy. But you mu'st get an editor that doe'sn't put apo'strophe's every time it 'see's 's's.

                    2. re: devilham

                      It is such a great place. Run four miles and then go there. It's a lot of fun. Where, by the way, is Ralph these days???


                      1. re: scotty27

                        I asked the last time where Ralph was, and Paul said that he's taking a break from working the counter as he has a bad knee, and all the running back and forth was killing him. No news on when he may return.