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what are your 10 favorite cheap(less that $10) breakfast, lunch, dinner and "4th meal/snack" places

Looking for delicious eats, and a little ambience(obviously tough at this price point, just trying to avoid total dives) and owners and staff that are characters. Portugese bakeries, best places for chowda, top loading hot dogs, affordable North end must haves, Boston style pizza . . . maybe even an Irish Pub that has killer food at a good price. Also interested in "gastropubs" or a chef's take on pub fare that may have a great happy hour deal. Seafood steal are always a plus.

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  1. If you're in the North End, Regina's for pizza. BTW - you may want to identify the area(s) of where you want to find chow spots, it'll help.

    1. I don't think you can beat Porter Exchange for great meals under $10. Cafe Mami and Sapporo Ramen are unbeatable in quality and price.

      1. Are you driving from LA via Minneapolis, Chicago and Cleveland?

        1. The Pleasant Cafe in Roslindale. Amazing pizza (always ask for it well-done!), unexpectedly fantastic fried clams, and... you want to talk ambiance and characters? The place is a complete time-warp, but totally un-self-consciously so. Incredible.

          I'd also note the Rox Diner in West Roxbury, Cafe Beirut in Jamaica Plain, and Cafe Rustica just outside of Porter Square. I second the Porter Exchange recommendation too.

          2 Replies
          1. re: TimTamGirl

            While most prices are indeed a time warp, fried clams are market price and were $24 for a dinner the other day. Yikes. The owner and I joked about a time that clams were the cheapest seafood on the menu.

            1. re: gourmaniac

              Had the same experience with the clams, but have to say, they are fracking delicous. I would hold those clams up to any clam shacks (the fries, not so much, but I didn't come there for the fries). Both my wife and I got some and the boy got his pizza...ended up being like $80 bucks.......not to deter that is, as if you order normally (i.e. don't get the clams), the pleasant is an amazing deal.

          2. For brunch it's hard to beat Masa all day Sat or first hour Sun - $7.95 for app, entree, tea/coffee and cornbread. They also do 50 cent tapas during weekday happy hours. MANY places have $1 oyster night once a week - check you favorite seafood place's website to see what night they offer it. Food Monkey has also pulled together agood list of bar deals, though it might be out of date: http://thefoodmonkey.com/bardeals/

            1. A few of my faves at that price point:
              Dok Bua in Brookline (Thai)
              Simco's in Mattapan (hot dogs)
              Galleria Umberto in the North End (Sicilian pizza)
              Tony's Clam Shop in Quincy (seafood)
              The Druid in Cambridge (Irish pub with good food)
              Sapporo Ramen in Cambridge

              1 Reply
              1. re: hiddenboston

                1. i like the 1.00 oysters; they are everywhere,
                2. Chinese including chinatown, Sichuan gourmet,
                3. Thai such as Dok Dua and Rod Dee and Sugar and Spice
                4. If you are from Chi-town, i would skip the mexican food and pizza.

              2. I'm getting the large Chicken Parm sandwich at Vinnys with hots!

                1. Lone Star Taco Bar in Allston, all taco's and tostado's under $5 and delicious and it's next door to Deep Ellum, a great gastropub and craft cocktail place.
                  Then go up the street a quarter mile for drinks and $1 oysters at Cognac Bistro. Afterwords head to Jamaica Plain for amazing Spanish style tapas and wine at Tres Gatos.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nachovegas

                    Lone Star to Deep Ellum to Cognac Bistro makes for a nice Allston foodie crawl but I'd take the $2 taco's of Taqueria el Amigo in Waltham or at many Eastie places over Lone Star any day.

                  2. Rami's Brookline for hummus falafel.
                    Shwarma King, Brookline for baked kibby roll-up
                    Khoa San, Brookline for pad thai
                    Tres Gatos, JP for patatas bravas

                    1. Having moved here from LA a bit over a year ago, I would respectfully suggest that you are unlikely to find inexpensive Mexican fare here that will impress you. On the other hand, Italian, Portuguese, and American diner food are much better here than in LA.

                      Picco ( http://www.piccorestaurant.com/ ) in the South End is closer to $20 than to $10, but their pizza is superb; reminds me of Mozza in LA but without the pretense and the need to get a reservation a month in advance.

                      Another of my favorites is Charlies Sandwich Shoppe, also in the South End. It's a little dive diner, breakfast and lunch only, with a freekin' James Beard award. Great breakfasts (tomato and cheese omelet, or hash) and wonderful lunches (meatloaf sandwich TDF). Easily under $10, but don't even think about going on a weekend unless you're very patient.

                      Gourmet Dumpling House ( http://www.gourmetdumpling.com/ ) in China Town (Szechuan sliced fish) is very good. Should be close to $10, maybe a bit over.

                      Sam LaGrassa's ( http://www.samlagrassas.com/ ) in the hub has a chipotle pastrami sandwich that rivals Langer's for deliciousness. Lunch during the week only, I think.

                      Hope you enjoy your stay!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: David Kahn

                        breakfast - Victor's Dine in Watertown or In a Pickle in Waltham
                        lunch - Indian buffet at Shanti's in Dorchester, Kantin at Super88, Vietnamese in Dorchester at Sunrise Cafe, Family Restaurant for Turkish - slightly higher but worth the money - Kebab Factor
                        Dinner -soup and lion's headmeatball at Shanghai Gate, wings at Harry's Bar in Allston, Tacqueria el Amigo in Waltham, S & I Thai

                        1. re: David Kahn

                          "Having moved here from LA a bit over a year ago, I would respectfully suggest that you are unlikely to find inexpensive Mexican fare here that will impress you."

                          I encourage you to check out Amigo. Our island of two has room for one more.

                          1. re: eatntell

                            Tried Taqueria El Amigo in Waltham today, and thank you for the recommendation! This is the first Mexican restaurant I've been to in Boston that, if you magically transported it to East Los Angeles, would not immediately go bankrupt.

                        2. Thanks for the reccs guys. Any thoughts on simple, hearty Boston American Italian? Any thoughts on Sal's, Sabatino's or Alfredos?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: blackbookali

                            sounds like the answers you're getting are not the answers you want... maybe you're trying to perpetuate outdated (at least 20 year old) stereotypes in your article/book...chowder, Irish, pizza, old school Italian... Asian and other nontraditional / non-mainstream Boston foods need not apply...in case you haven't noticed from the above posts, Boston has come a long ways since those days

                            1. re: barleywino

                              Loving all the answers actually. Just curious about the Italian placed I mentioned above.

                          2. If you're into simply prepared - especially fried! - seafood, Courthouse Seafood in Cambridge might be of interest. Definitely a heart-attack-on-a-plate kind of place run by some good local folks (not eccentrics, though!).

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: blackbookali

                                Totally agree about Courthouse Seafood in Cambridge. Had the fried clams plate on special one day - the online menu says the regular price is $15.95 - the special was a few dollars less. That's more than the price range that you requested, but these are believably good clams... to me, there is nothing better than fried clams in the summertime. (I made the mistake of not calling before I visited the last time - wanted to share my discovery with my son, & we discovered them closed for vacation. Sniffle... sniffle...) If you want to spend less but still get seafood, I would def trust the fish & chips (I think they had a fried fish sandwich on their daily special list, too, when I was there). In fact, everything I saw when I was there looked delicious.


                                My other favorite is the bahn mi at Pho Viet in Allston/Brighton, as OPchef suggested. This place is in the Asian food court connected to what used to be the Super 88 market (they changed ownership but still haven't changed the sign). I like the beef - pork is good too. So far, I haven't found a bahn mi in Chinatown that can rival this one. I think they charge $3.50 for this bit of Vietnamese heaven. Always get one to eat there, and one to take home for later.

                                Now I'm hungry...

                            1. Food but not characters: Beef Banh Mi at Pho Viet, Curry Beef Donuts at Japonaise , BBQ Pork Baked Bao and Pork Filled Eggplant Sandwiches at Winsor DimSum cafe, Galleria Umberto arancini, Pork Gyro at Esperia Grill. Then,meeting both requirements> La Verdad carne asada and pescado tacos ( now, Pamela, here is a character for you!), Biryani Park.