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Looking for cheap($10 or less with tax) Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in the D.C. proper area

Hey guys,

So i have been on a hunt to find great food, worth of this board for the astronomically low price of $7 a meal - including tax. I realize that this is difficult to say the least, especially dinner but I'm finding that it is possible. It may seem played out, but I am looking for some of the more "obvious" region's foods like crab cakes. Also, Im looking for a place where you can sit - so some ambience is nice, total dives/eat it in your car are out.


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  1. Geez, today I had a small cheeseburger and fries (water to drink) at 5 Guys and it was over $7!

    Red Hot and Blue has $5 specials on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I think burgers, pulled pork and chicken wings respectively. The $5 Monday burger at Glory Days has gone up but is still less than $6. Flippin' Pizza has two slices and a drink for $6 tax included. You can still get a frozen yogurt (lots of places) for about $4. Hong Kong Palace had $5.95 lunch specials, but they've gone up to $6.95.

    I don't think you can buy a decent crab cake for under $10.

    1. I am not sure what 'DC proper area.' means. DC proper is DC only, and DC area is the whole DC area, including the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. And I am not sure if you are asking for dinner only.

      1. You can get a bagel with cream cheese and lox (and tomato, onion and capers) plus a cup of coffee for about $5 at the deli next to Ollie's on 12th st. between Penn. and E. I would not say it has great ambience, but it's not a dive either.

        1. Hmm, going for under $10, though not regional foods....all of these have nice seating:
          breakfast or lunch at G Street Foods,
          lunch specials at Shanghai Tea House (Glover Park),
          lunch special at BGR,
          a couple tacos at Pico Taco,
          BonMi downtown
          SunDevich in Shaw
          lunch special at Pete's Apizza in Columbia Heights (two slices and a drink or one slice, a salad and a drink)

          1 Reply
          1. re: hamster

            There are only 2 sandwiches at Sundevich that are $9 and with tax puts you just a hair under $10 - and both are vegetarian.

            This topic was covered pretty well here:


            I really don't think there is much for "regional" food for DC except crab cakes and hot half smokes (you could throw in a few more if you included Baltimore - pit beef, coddies, etc...). Can't really help with either as I don't eat seafood and (still) haven't had a hot half smoke, but apparently Eastern Market does a good, cheap one.

            1. re: donaldbabb

              meh, that list is just a compilation of places that are cheaper than normal for DC, and I would contend that most do not fit OPs request.

            2. Shoppers' sandwiches are big enough to be two meals for me (6'2", 190# guy) - $4.00+tax can't really be beat.

              1 Reply
              1. Perhaps you have a ringer in mind when somebody calls the a fools errand, but except for an occasional super special or perhaps one off the buffets out in the suburbs this is a silly quest.

                A couple of places that wear their "dive" status as badges of honor so that it becomes their ambiance might be able to put out a breakfast for you, think: Tune Inn, Market Lunch, Steak and Egg Kitchen.

                You migh be able to find a buffet in the suburbs that sling Indian, Chinese, or other fare for unde $10.

                As for "regional" fare for under $10 I think you a stuck with half-smoke from Ben's our Eastern market, neither meeting you ambiance requirement. As for a crab cake - if you find one in the target price range please keep I to yourself. It will not be make with local crab nor likely even Blue Crab, and I would guess that is would not be of a high enough quality to even be worth eating.

                1 Reply
                1. re: drewpbalzac

                  Lunch buffets are rarely less than $10 here in the 'burbs. For $6-7 plus a soft drink (usually about $2.50 these days) and tax, you get a sandwich or burger or a Chinese lunch special.

                  I used to be the king of the $5 lunch. Now my target is the $7 (all inclusive) lunch which is pretty hard to do. And no, my retirement pension hasn't gone up by 40%. What gives them the right????? ;)

                2. Mama Chuy on Georgia Ave NW (2620 Georgia Ave NW) - great tacos, great local place. Cheap.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bood

                    I disagree on both counts.

                    I think they serve small, bland tacos that are not cheap (I spent nearly $20 and left hungry). You could get two tiny sopes (which are probably their best item) - as long as they are not carne asade - and satisfy OPs request. But he would still be real hungry.

                  2. Tortilla Cafe and Seventh Hill in Eastern Market can do you for under $10, but I think the latter is closed for renovation.

                    Steak & Egg Kitchen and Lincoln House Waffle Shop still do solid cheap breakfasts.

                    1. Here are some of my favorites:
                      Polori with pickled tamarind sauce, Rita's, Georgia Avenue, DC
                      Papusas de loroco, El Don, 14th and Webster, DC
                      Ginger Salad, Myanmar, Falls Church, VA
                      Saltenas, Luzmilla's, Falls Church, VA
                      Floating Market Noodle Soup, Nava Thai, Wheaton, MD
                      Quarter dark spicy, Just Jerk, Lanham, MD
                      Wontons in Red Hot Sauce, Joe's Noodle House, Rockville, MD

                      1. K Street Cafe and Bagel http://www.menupix.com/dc/restaurants.... The egg & cheese on a bagel is good, as is the whitefish salad. They have seating.

                        Zenebech Injera is $10+ tax for the veggie sampler but it's 2-3 meals.

                        Red Toque Cafe in Shaw for most sandwich + drink combos

                        Amsterdam falafelshop if you skip the fries

                        1/4 chicken & side at El Pollo Rico in Arlington

                        ma la cold noodle appetizer at Great Wall Szechuan (it's enough for a meal


                        pupusas at Judy Restaurant (we ordered 3 between 2 people and were FULL--they come with curtido and chips & salsa).