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Best Boston Cheap Eats?

commie hound Jan 5, 2011 05:36 AM

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?

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  1. k
    Kinopio RE: commie hound Jan 5, 2011 07:16 AM

    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. t
      teezeetoo RE: commie hound Jan 5, 2011 11:30 AM

      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. hiddenboston RE: commie hound Jan 5, 2011 11:36 AM

        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
          BostonZest RE: hiddenboston Jan 5, 2011 05:47 PM

          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. g
          Gabatta RE: commie hound Jan 5, 2011 05:52 PM

          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. k
            kimfair1 RE: commie hound Jan 5, 2011 06:49 PM

            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
              Cachetes RE: kimfair1 Jan 5, 2011 07:07 PM

              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
                teezeetoo RE: Cachetes Jan 5, 2011 07:11 PM

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

                1. re: teezeetoo
                  femmevox RE: teezeetoo Jan 5, 2011 10:02 PM

                  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
                    femmevox RE: femmevox Jan 5, 2011 10:11 PM

                    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
                      L2k RE: femmevox Jan 6, 2011 06:55 AM

                      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
                devilham RE: kimfair1 Jan 21, 2011 12:32 PM

                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
                  StriperGuy RE: devilham Jan 24, 2011 08:52 AM

                  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
                    hckybg RE: StriperGuy Jan 24, 2011 10:04 AM

                    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
                      FoodDabbler RE: StriperGuy Jan 24, 2011 09:20 PM

                      "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.

                      1. re: FoodDabbler
                        StriperGuy RE: FoodDabbler Jan 25, 2011 06:10 AM

                        LOLs... and I was an English major.

                    2. re: devilham
                      scotty27 RE: devilham Jan 25, 2011 07:09 AM

                      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
                        kimfair1 RE: scotty27 Jan 25, 2011 01:04 PM

                        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.

                  2. dmullin699 RE: commie hound Jan 8, 2011 07:59 PM

                    The Pour House opposite the Prudential Center is amazing. How they can serve decent food at ridiculous prices in this neighborhood is beyond me. Not for foodies, but I brought my 2 teenage sons and three of their friends here for lunch, and was an absloute hero.....for $70. Give it a try.

                    Pour House
                    907 Boylston St Ste 21, Boston, MA 02115

                    1. s
                      STL BOS RE: commie hound Jan 9, 2011 05:09 AM

                      Here is a good, relevant thread:


                      Also, if you family likes Mexican, I would definitely check out Eastie for really tasty Mexican/Salvadoran. Sooooo much better than Border Cafe (and cheaper!) and most places have parking close by. Here is a thread on Eastie:


                      1. Boston_Otter RE: commie hound Jan 9, 2011 06:02 AM

                        I'd also suggest any of the local taquerias. Anna's (many locations), Boca Grande, and Tacos Lupita are all good spots for cheap, tasty eats.

                        1. j
                          joebloe RE: commie hound Jan 10, 2011 08:39 PM

                          Costco is the best by far. On Fri/Sat/Sun, there are many free sampling stations with fruit smoothies, cheesecakes, chicken eggrolls, hot wings, blue crab dips, coconut pies, shrimp wonton soup, mango juice, chocolate-covered cherries, beef tacos, pork loins, Izzy sodas, italian sausages, etc. My kid and I have happily eaten there numerous time for brunch.

                          1. z
                            ziggles RE: commie hound Jan 20, 2011 06:46 AM

                            If you're willing to cross the river into Cambridge, I'll put in a plug for Basta Pasta. My partner and I got takeout there a couple of nights ago, and are still working on the leftovers! You can't beat getting a great entree that includes homemade pasta (be sure to order the fusili--it's the only homemade option) for around $10-12, and having it suffice for 2 dinners and a lunch (for one person, eating responsibly, but still...).

                            Basta Pasta
                            319 Western Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ziggles
                              viperlush RE: ziggles Jan 20, 2011 09:00 AM

                              What we do is order one pasta dish (puttanesca is my favorite) and a salad (which comes with bread), and the two of us eat there. Usually there is enough pasta left over for one lunch the following day. It's a nice, cheap dinner out.

                              Also check out groupon, opentable, livingsocial, and restaurant.com for discounts/coupons for local restaurants.

                            2. s
                              Stride RE: commie hound Jan 20, 2011 08:37 AM

                              Check out YoMa in Union Square, Allston (Brighton?) for fabulous Burmese dishes. It's inexpensive and run by really nice people. Really delicious!

                              1. StriperGuy RE: commie hound Jan 20, 2011 09:30 AM

                                Here ya go:


                                1. w
                                  Wannabfoode RE: commie hound Jan 23, 2011 05:01 PM

                                  Cafe latino in Government Center. Huge plates for only $8 Also Anchovies, on Columbus

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Wannabfoode
                                    ebone RE: Wannabfoode Jan 24, 2011 11:27 AM

                                    Second Cafe Latino! Go for the roast pork (w/ crispy skin), rice and beans, and tostones on the side w/ the spicy sauce. That is 2, maybe 3 meals easy for under $8!

                                    Cafe Latino
                                    2 Center Plz, Boston, MA 02108

                                    1. re: ebone
                                      nsenada RE: ebone Jan 25, 2011 09:51 AM

                                      And the "lasagna" made with plantains. Truly a gorge-fest, and an amazing deal.

                                      1. re: nsenada
                                        StriperGuy RE: nsenada Jan 25, 2011 10:07 AM

                                        Otherwise known as pastelon. God I love that stuff.

                                  2. s
                                    somerville01 RE: commie hound Jan 24, 2011 11:27 AM

                                    The Bahn Mi at 163 Harrison. The best $3 I've ever eaten. Delicious!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: somerville01
                                      Tonality666 RE: somerville01 Jan 25, 2011 06:20 AM

                                      Second 163 Harrison! Especially the BBQ beef!

                                    2. s
                                      scotty27 RE: commie hound Jan 25, 2011 07:06 AM

                                      How about the Asian food court at Super 88 in Allston? It's pretty wonderful. Same for the Japanese noodle shops inside the Porter Square Exchange. Then there's also Galleria Umberto in the North End for pizza, Zoe's Chinese in Somerville, and many little joints in Chinatown. But of course the best way to scale back when the checks aren't coming in is to learn to cook at home by buying the amazing ingredients to be found at places like Tropical Foods in Roxbury, Super 88 in Allston, and Russo's in Watertown!


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